Are You Under The Influence Of Debt?

addictionDebt: The Drug, The Dangers, and How To Turn Things Around

I would say it is the drug of choice for 7 out of every 10 Americans.  Does that make it dangerous?  Absolutely!  Should it be illegal?  I wouldn’t go that far, as I believe in your freedom to conduct your life as you see fit, but what I would say is, that education is the easiest way to combat poor financial choices.

I know I will catch some attitude from the “I pay my card off monthly” crowd, so I will add that moderation is key.  Actually moderation for just about anything is key but in this case, I still say do without.  Now you have another reason to do without since some reports indicate that a few banks have decided to charge additional fees. It probably won’t be long before others follow.

It’s their business and their prerogative so I guess that leaves you two choices.  Pay the fees or stop borrowing the money.  You cannot borrow money from someone who has taken all of the risk and expect all of the rules or fees to benefit you.  Remember YOU went to them and practically begged them for that piece of plastic or nice new ride.  That’s the price of being addicted to debt.

The Dangers Of Being “Under The Influence” Of Debt

Some people are in denial about how or even if debt is affecting their lives, so I have put together a list of  “side effects” to help you determine your addiction.  Symptoms may vary depending on the extent of your addiction.

  • impairs/disables cognitive function
  • spawns  extreme cases of denial
  • confuses basic mathematical abilities to add and subtract
  • may cause heart attack associated with stress
  • causes erratic episodes of impulse spending
  • can lead to bankruptcy
  • may cause acute blindness

How To Avoid The Pitfall That Is Debt Intoxication

As you know addictions are sometimes hard to break but it can be done.  I would advise that you start my 12 Step Program to becoming debt free.  What is needed the most is a paradigm shift because what you have been doing so far is not working.  It’s okay though because I was once where you are now.  I believed debt was a tool.  It is a tool all right—a tool to help banks make TONS of money off of YOU.  Start making your money work for you and let the banks and credit card companies fend for themselves.

Here are some additional steps to help you change your approach to managing your money:

Good luck in fighting your addiction.  Not an addiction you say?  Could you give it up today and still pay your bills?  Whether you’re addicted or not, eliminating the use of debt in your life is something you should consider.  The freedom that follows is absolutely worth it!

About Brad Chaffee

7 Responses to “Are You Under The Influence Of Debt?”

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  1. Brad, so true that debt can be like bondage. When I was in college I didn’t want to be in credit card debt, but it seemed like I just had no self-control in avoiding it because ultimately I didnt want to wait to buy things that I thought would make me happy.

  2. Money Funk says:

    Did I tell you that those CCs that creaped back into my wallet were once again tossed outta there??? =D
    Debt is a total addiction the CC companies count on. Great analogy!

    Now, go get yourself this Financial Debt FREE Computer Wallpaper I made you words of debt-free lifestyle in mind.

  3. Brad Chaffee says:

    Jason – I think you are on to something Jason. Most people are in debt for the very same reason. Ultimately, I think that debt makes most people nervous, but like you said, they know that they are not willing to delay pleasure in order to purchase it free and clear.

    Hey man, I used to be that way so I understand the thought process completely. It’s way easier to use debt than it is to prepare, but what people do not realize is that when they are older, it is much harder to pay that debt off. NOT impossible but surely much harder because you are up against a clock and for some, it becomes much harder to work in order to make an honest dollar.

    Money Funk – Credit cards love to creep back into our lives—that’s for sure! They did the same to us many times before we realized the cycle was wasting so much of our hard earned money. I am glad to hear that you decided to throw them to the fire again, even if not literally.

    Here are some tips to help you push credit cards out of your life for good:
    -Cut up all of your credit cards except for one.
    -Take that one credit card and stick it in a Ziploc bag and fill it with water—then stick it in the freezer. (Until you have your emergency fund in place, it will be your emergency fund)
    -Get that starter emergency fund in place.
    -Start a savings account with your local bank to be used for sinking funds. (Not for emergencies—repair, clothes, Christmas, insurance etc.)
    -Tell yourself you do not need credit cards
    -Visualize yourself without credit cards a year from now, 2 years from now, and 5 years from now. Visualization is important!

    I hope this helped and I really like the wallpaper you created. I downloaded the black one for my laptop and the blue one for my desktop! Thanks again!

  4. Money Funk says:

    LOL. I did cut up all my CCs. But the CC companies are secretly aware of this because they keep sending me new ones “just in case”. And I do have an Emergency CC that I am very good at not using. The EF I need to rebuild. Thank U for the reminder as i need to transfer funds into my savings after posting this comment.

    Sinking funds. – check. Actually, the funny thing is I feel great not having those CCs in my wallet. I didn’t feel that way last time. I had more fun cutting them up. 🙂

    You feedback is always great. I like the way you think because you are very genuine about getting people out of debt. And I will get on that neon green. Should have for you tonight/this weekend. If I don’t talk to you until then – Have a GREAT halloween.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I have to say that cutting up all of your credit cards is hot! LOL I know J. Money would not consider it sexy, but when my wife and I cut up our cards and decided not to borrow ever again, it immediately gave new life to our marriage. We literally laugh at people when they ask us if we want to sign up for a credit card. The look we get is ALWAYS priceless!

      You feel better now because the seed that someone planted in your head is growing. Sometimes it takes a little time for the growth to emerge, but as you are negatively affected by returning to previous comfort, you are able to more clearly see the difference. I try not to ever feel as though my advice was ignored. Instead I know that the time will come when the person I was talking to will have a realization once they find themselves in a situation and remember some of my words. If it clicks, then they are one step closer. Helping others is more about planting the seed, than it is about changing their mind from one conversation. That’s what I love about it! 🙂

      We did not change after the first time I read The Total Money Makeover. In fact it wasn’t until almost two years later when I decided to re-read it, that it actually hit a chord with me.

      Thank you so much for the compliments. I am glad that I am able to add value to the conversation. Problogger taught me the value in leaving real, and productive comments. BTW, I got the wallpaper you made in EOD colors and I love it. Thank you so much! 😀

  5. Shawanda says:

    I’m a member of the “I pay my card off monthly” crowd. I’m not addicted to credit cards, but I do feel a strange emotional tie to them. Credit card companies have done a good job selling security. “I’ll hold on to my credit cards just in case there’s an emergency.”

    Plus, I like the reward points. Since studies show we’re inclined to spend more money when paying with plastic, I’m still probably on the losing end of the deal. I won’t give up the credit cards. As long as they don’t try to charge me any ridiculous fees. Then, we’re finished.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hey Shawanda! Haven’t heard from you in a while…glad to hear from you! 😀 Hey even I would rather be in the “I pay my card off monthly” crowd, than the “swimming in the middle of the ocean, during a hurricane, after accidentally falling into a vat of chum, in shark-infested waters” crowd. LOL

      I hope you aren’t going to get hit with annual fees too. So far I know Bank of America has done it and others will probably follow. That’s what Government Regulations cause to happen.

      It’s always nice hearing from you Shawanda!! Have a great Halloween weekend! 🙂

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