Saturday, December 20, 2014

Evaluate wants versus needs to reduce debt

Are you facing a bucketload of debt? You aren't alone. CNN Money reports that the average consumers faced a debt load of $210,236 in 2011. That is a huge figure by the standards of most people. However, living with this much debt comes at a cost that can't be measured by dollars alone. The true cost of living under a financial burden is more than dollars and sense.

The excerpt below is the story of one person whose family is clawing their way out from under a pile of bills. It first appeared on the Yahoo Contributor Network and is republished here with permission...

"I didn't fully appreciate the debt load stress until my family got out from under some of it.

Birthday gifts and trips to the doctor had to be balanced by what bill had to be paid and what bill could be put off. We accepted the merry-go-round as part of life and went with it. Then one day I got sick of it and took the bull by the horns.

The amount that we owe has declined by about 25% and continues to decline. Determining our wants versus needs is the key. We didn't realize how much stress we were under until some of our bills were cleared away.

We began by evaluating our spending habits by asking ourselves if the purchase was a want or a need. This continues to be a big part of the way that we are controlling spending.

Walking away from a potential isn't always easy. I jammed my hands into my pockets and backed off from display counters to fight the urge to spend. Just because I want a shiny new smart phone doesn't mean that I need it. My "dumb" phone is working just fine. Asking myself if I want the phone or need it makes it easier to walk away from the purchase. It also helps me have more money for needs like doctor visits, gasoline or a car repair.

Determining our wants versus needs has been the game-changer. Without the lesson, we would still be buried under a mountains of bills. Now, we are learning how to 'bury the pile'. The tough decisions are easier to make. We aren't debt free yet but we're making good progress. Right now, I'm happy with that. "

And I am too.

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