Photo Credit: Daniel Chetroni
7 Principles to Erase Debt Like a Pro
Financial freedom is one of the greatest feelings a person can experience. Time to erase debt – for good without overwhelm or stress – like a pro! Today, August 3, 2021, I have almost achieved the biggest goal of my life – debt-free – as an entrepreneur!
Before you get excited or open a bottle of champagne, let me clarify debt-free first. I still have a house and car payment. I specifically chose not to focus on either and most likely will have both for quite some time. Honestly, I do well having both of those ‘debts’ monthly. Why? Because it gives me a purpose to keep pushing forward and not get overly confident or lax with my life.
Before I share the most significant takeaways and tips I’ve used to erase debt (credit card), here’s a story. Hopefully, my story will resonate with you in one way or another, inspiring and encouraging you to keep going if you are drowning in debt like I was.
Between the years of 2016-2019, I racked up $54,387 in debt. In 2016, I was 42, so these were not school loans. I graduated college with $10,000 in school loans that I quickly paid off within two years. My astronomical debt was a mix of medical bills, coaches, courses, and mastermind groups. My credit was stellar, so my card limits were $25,000-$50,000 for each card. I was recently divorced, supporting and figuring out my next move in life when I found myself drowning in debt. Because of the significant weight of the debt, I wanted to end my life. As selfish as this sounds, I honestly wasn’t sure how I would ever get myself out of debt – racking another $1500-$3000 every month.
Like most entrepreneurs or those who want to get into the entrepreneurial space, believe that if you invest in a \$997, \$1497, \$1997 course or pay \$10,000 for a high-performance coach, or join an \$18,000 mastermind group, you will become financially free – debt is gone – living happy and successful. Can you relate? I truly believed investing more money would bring success faster as an entrepreneur. What this mindset brought – debt.
I didn’t spend on clothes, wild vacations, or random crap. In hindsight, those things would have made a ton more sense than all the shiny objects I was attracted to because of genius copywriting, ads, and marketing that played on my weaknesses.
You get the point. Am I willing to bet you’ve felt this way also? And, you can’t understand or figure out how to stop being drawn to the shiny objects or the sneaky (play on emotion) marketing. The debt I experienced didn’t live in my garage, assist in getting my kids to soccer practice or provide my refrigerator with food. None of my debt did much of anything but cause more stress and the feeling of no other way out than to leave this earth.
I wanted nothing more than to make it on my own – success – financial freedom by investing in these programs and people. Credit cards, baby – can’t afford it, but the cards don’t care. Right? Buy, buy, buy… the more I purchased, the more out of control I felt, and the less success seemed obtainable. Even if I couldn’t afford it – books, courses, and coaches would get me to my ultimate success and financial freedom.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt like this before?
Erasing Debt As a Divorced Single Mom
For reference, I lived where debt was the furthest from my mind. There was no need to read anything about how to erase debt. Growing up, my single mother worked three jobs to support us and keep us off the food stamps. She had no debt or credit cards. I married, worked a job that paid well and my husband (now ex) made a significant income.
As a married entrepreneur, I could make as many mistakes as I wanted (I took this for granted). Buying courses and the newest technology without worry. There was no debt or the stress associated with using my credit card – financial freedom to be an entrepreneur.
However, as a single, divorced mom of three, debt was (is) scary. I accumulated debt every week – the more I had, the more negative feelings surfaced. In 2019 I finally faced my situation – one debt at a time – writing it all on a piece of paper. My heart palpitated, sweat formed, and tears welled in my eyes. “What the hell even happened? How did I get so far in debt?”
After writing out all my debt, the first thing I did was, besides crying a lot, call my financial guy friend. As a side note, I had investments (though significantly less) from my divorce. Despite going into severe debt, I opted not to dip into my divorce investments (often).
In 2015 at the height of my coaching business, I spent roughly $38,000 on a marketing company and coach that ended up being a total scam. Devastated and broken, I ended up getting sick, enduring three significant surgeries, adding to my debt.
After the marketing coaching scam, I promised to never dip into those investments again. Now it’s 2019. There was no way out but to dip into more investments with the assistance of my investment friend. He said to me, “Susan, you are spending 14.5% and 24.99% on debt. Those monthly fees are making it, so you never get ahead. You can use the money in your accounts to erase your debt, then slowly build your portfolio up again.”
Devastating as this sounded, I decided to take a chunk of my children’s college funds to erase as much debt as possible.
Feeling the weight of the debt lighten, I thought I had everything in control until a car accident, broken furnace and air condition unit, hot water heater, and an injured shoulder and bicep playing volleyball resulting in major surgery. Debt. Debt. Debt
Did I have ANY idea how I was going to pay off debt? Nope.
I had enough money in my bank account to pay the mortgage, health insurance, and car payment every month. I tried refinancing, but because I was an entrepreneur (LLC) business owner, there was not enough money coming in that banks felt comfortable refinancing my house.
Manifesting. Giving thanks. Being patient and confident the debt wouldn’t be forever or as significant as last time. I trusted myself more than I trusted any of the online ‘gurus’ or ‘experts.’ I had to believe in myself and get real with my actual situation.
No marketing, courses, or a real business that was making money. I knew that if I dug into a few of the books and courses I had previously bought, used my vast experience as an entrepreneur, and kept my money mindset unclogged, I would succeed and become debt-free again.
Trusting the process of gratitude, the law of attraction, and manifesting is how I succeeded. If I had, even if it was FOMO (fear of missing out) or SOS (shiny object syndrome) that got me into significant debt, bought all these courses and books for a reason, I could get myself out of debt.
At the time, I decided to get my shit together once and for all. I had to get honest with myself and everyone else. I had to look myself in the mirror and get brutally honest.
“You did this to yourself. You didn’t work hard enough. You bought and spent like you were living that past life, not the life you have now. You didn’t network, market, use ads, or do any of the deep work others did – you faked the shit out of it and expected to become successful. What the hell… You need to fix this shit and fast!”
Yes, I had many conversations with myself standing in front of a mirror looking at my broken, in debt, shameful self. I was jealous of those ‘making’ it – they had what I expected – without actually putting in all the work. I made the excuses – and my negative bank account was the response.
Related Articles: How Single Mom Naseema Went from Broke to Paying Off $300,000 in Debt and Five Practical Tips for Paying Off Your Business Debt
Erase Debt Without Stress or Overwhelm
Cry. Seriously, I cried a lot out of shame and disappointment in myself. I expected to make money by doing nothing. I wasn’t just sitting on my ass all the time; no, I was creating hundreds of thousands of pieces of content – books, courses, worksheets, templates, etc. Say what????
Creating and generating content was not my issue. My issue was I didn’t follow through. I didn’t put myself out there to fail. I didn’t want people to see any more of my “failures”. I was already divorced, in significant money debt, and I couldn’t bear sharing my world and creativity with others without a successful business – to fail more.
Can you relate?
However, fast forward through Covid in 2019-2020, I decided in 2021 to share my life experiences with others through blogging, podcasting, and creating videos on YouTube. I wasn’t interested in ‘niching’ or creating any platform that would make me wildly successful.
One of my first experiences… how to erase debt without overwhelm or stress like a pro! Let’s be very clear though. I am no financial expert. Everything I write, speak and make content is through my own successes and failures.
Instead, my reasoning for creating on these platforms was to share two decades’ worth of content and creativity, along with advice, tips, and resources on becoming financially free through entrepreneurship (however that business looks to you).
Seven Tips to Erase Debt
- Face your debt– As scary as it sounds, you must sit and see all your debt to grasp where you are financially entirely. I made a beautiful spreadsheet with my debts, monthly payments, and a column for money I could not touch (assets/investments). Money is a relationship – you must give it your time and attention if you want the relationship to be positive and growing – much like a marriage. Face your money fears. It is scary but necessary.
- Forgive yourself, and all negative words – Holding onto guilt, shame, fear, and other negative words toward yourself is not doing you any darn good. Continually remind yourself that everyone has spent more than they make; it is okay! You are forgiven. Forgive yourself for overspending, having fear, or being ashamed for spending money on things you never used. Once you forgive yourself, you can rid yourself of the negative vibration that held you in debt hell. Changing your negative words (including debt) into positive words (and perspective) gives you the power to move mountains (and slash that debt). Life is about perspective, and your debt needs to change if you want to enjoy life.
- Set your erase debt goal(s) – Goal setting is powerful. When I began my journey of eliminating debt, I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish the feat. All I knew was that I no longer could allow my negative money mindset to rule my life. Besides a perspective shift, I set short-term and long-term goals because eliminating such a large debt would take time. Having short-term goals (with a ‘prize’) kept me on track. I strongly believe in rewarding yourself after accomplishing a goal, short or long-term.
- Be Grateful for What You Do Have and What is About to Come – One of the most significant changes I made was practicing gratitude. I made a conscious effort daily until I subconsciously voiced my gratitude daily – big or small – debt or financially free. When I started thanking the Universe for debt, I noticed my finances were becoming more in line with my long-term goals. Most days, I spoke, “Thank you, Universe, for the extra $5,000 in my bank account today. I appreciate the money, as it is so important because I can ___________.” Every day I was able to fill the blank in with things like pay bills more quickly, provide an afternoon ice cream treat to my children, or take my kids to get new shoes.” I wasn’t just saying things to say them. I felt the money in my bank account and saw myself doing things like going for an afternoon ice cream treat with my children. Visualizing money growing in your bank account instead of the lack of money helps make the Law of Attraction work for you, not against you. Yes, I am a believer in the Law of Attraction.
- Stop Waiting, Start Doing– One small action step daily. See your debt on paper, then create a plan to wipe out that debt. Your plan, depending on how much debt you have, maybe a five-year plan. That is okay. A repayment plan may include cutting out the weekly Scooter coffee run and applying the $5.61 to your credit card debt. Here’s what I know from my experiences. Creating a plan is a must. Failing a few times while working the plan happens. Action is important. The money required to pay off all your debt will come into your life. It’s all about starting… NOW! The Universe is waiting for you!!
- Continue Being Grateful, Even for Your Debt– Being grateful is the most crucial step I took to eliminate all my debt. To this day, I open my bank app, and I thank the Universe for whatever is sitting in the account. It doesn’t matter if there was $200, $1500, or $5000. I remained grateful. I received every coin and dollar, even if it was money I made by returning pop cans ($0.05 per pop can recycled in my state). If I was hired or asked to work on a project for money, I was grateful. Gratitude was and is one of the biggest reasons why I did and continue to be financially successful.
- Work on Your Money Mindset– If I had never spoken to a coach about my money mindset, I would have spent more time and gotten further in debt. I learned the truth about money. I worked hard on believing I deserve all the money in the world and was worthy of being financially free. Erasing debt became a positive experience instead of a negative and stressful part of life.
More Related Articles and Resources
The conclusion is this… you can erase debt and have a hearty savings account and a retirement portfolio. Be intentional and keep track of your money.
I believe you can do it, and I encourage you to start today. You don’t have to make every change today (all at once).
What kinds of goals do you like to set when paying off your debt, or saving for something big?
If you need a little extra encouragement, leave a comment, forward it to a friend or send a message to my email, I’d love to continue supporting you on your financial freedom journey!
Additional Resources like this budget planner or budget tracker like Mint to do your monthly budget.
Happiness & Success
Happiness and Success are achievable, you have to believe you are worthy! I believe in you, you found this post and read all the way to this point. When life gets tough take a moment to breathe, remind yourself that “this too shall pass…” because it will.
Keep going, Happiness and Success is just around the corner!
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