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Debt is like the last 10 pounds

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This may come as a surprise but…

I’ve been debt free before.

There was a moment, for about 3 days, in college when I had no debt. My car was paid off, my credit card had no balance, and I didn’t have a mortgage.

Then, I came close again after we closed on our house. We had been saving for a year and the money returned to us from escrow was used to pay off my husband’s credit line.

That credit card debt freedom lasted a few weeks before we decided to remodel our master bathroom and take a trip to Hawaii.

My finances are like a yo-yo diet. Sure I’d love to eat healthy all the time but rolled tacos with Mexican guacamole? I can’t resist.

Just like weight loss, a diet is silly. The only real option for permanent results is a lifestyle change. Staying thin requires eating less than or equal to what you need – staying financially healthy means spending less than you make. Sure it looks easy on paper, but only those who have suffered through it (and continue to suffer through it daily) know how hard the struggle can be.

This is the longest I’ve been on a financial diet – and I know I’ve got what it takes to keep the ‘weight’ off.

Yeah, the change is lame – but the results… those are what I’m grinning at each month when the credit card statement arrives.

One day… it will say…

$0

Which is harder for you: Losing weight? or losing debt?


14 Comments

  • Reply FrugalMe |

    Well it is all relative. The person who has debt issues and not weight issues would say debt and vice versa. The question then is what would the person experiencing both debt and weight issues say?

  • Reply Rae |

    As I worked to become debt free over the past couple of years I found that my extra 15 pounds fo weight began to come off. For me, getting out of debt was about learning to have some self control. Not only was I able to have more self control with food, but I didn’t have the stress of debt that led me to eat and drink more. Now, I’m debt free (except the mortgage) and close to my goal weight. It’s been easier for me on a day-to-day basis to keep the debt off than to keep the weight off.

  • Reply dawn |

    Losing weight is definitely harder.

    Being debt-free means independence and the freedom to follow my own dreams, so that’s a huge incentive. Carrying long-term debt is like a noose around your neck; the more you have, the tighter that noose and the more it restricts your breathing.

    Becoming debt free is easier for me because there are many steps you can take to make eliminating debt an auto-pilot thing. Fighting weight gain is a daily challenge you fight with yourself every day.

  • Reply mom |

    Becks, you’re killing me! On one hand, I am incredibly proud of you. You and your sisters are my very favorite tightwads. But on the other hand, did you have to mention my favorite… rolled tacos and with Mexican guacamole to boot??? You know how I love those things! Now I know that your dad and I are a little on the ‘pudgy’, side in regards to weight and finances .. well… maybe just me.. but really!!! (I’m working on it okay??)

  • Reply Monkey Mama |

    For me, the weight is way harder.

    Raised with good money habits and terrible eating habits. But it didn’t help that I couldn’t gain weight, literally if my life depended on it, until I hit my mid-20s. I have adjusted and can maintain, but losing weight is another story. (Kind of ironic consdiering my past underweight issues).

    I hope to raise my kids with good money and eating habits. I can’t account for their personality/individual differences though. But I do think they will have a leg up.

    I have always found it ironic that “money dieting” is second nature to me, but my own personal psychological issues do revolve around food. I do personally feel losing weight takes far more effort and time though. I am sure those with money issues may disagree though.

  • Reply lu3 |

    Losing weight is definitely harder than sticking to a budget.

    On an unrelated note, I am greatly annoyed at the floating ad inviting me to take a “survey” which floats up every time I come to this site this week. I understand the value of ads for continuing this site, but that one needs to go.

  • Reply Nagel |

    I am sitting in a coffee shop, doing my homework. Bought a grande fruity Eskimo shake = $5. Calories???
    You get the picture.

  • Reply susan |

    I find losing weight much harder. I imagine that is because I have had weight issues my whole life (first serious diet at 13), while my money/debt issues are fairly recent. In 2001 I was debt-free…my goal is to be debt-free again by the end of 2009. Barring unforeseen catastrophes, I will make it. It’s been a long eight years, though. I’m convinced that I will never get into such a financial mess again, but I am not sure I will never have to diet again.

  • Reply Michelle |

    Wow – that’s a very interesting question Beks. So here goes – I’m overweight and I have a debt problem and it’s been way easier for me to pay off my credit cards than it has to keep off any weight lost. And I honestly think that after I get all of my credit cards paid off that I won’t stray again.

    Oh to have this conviction when it comes to losing weight! 🙂

  • Reply emmi |

    They are really similar in that both dieting and paying down debt don’t work long term without the required shift in lifestyle. I used to avoid the word “diet” because I knew dieting would eventually fail. But now I like the word for getting others to help with my intent to eat less. It’s a really powerful word. If you tell people you are on a diet, they will withhold dessert and even start policing you long term.

    We don’t have a good word we can use to get the same social response to debt reduction. What word can we use to get others to help in situations like shopping? “I need to save money” just isn’t powerful enough. Maybe something like “I’m on a frugal, don’t let me buy more than just some new underwear while we are at the mall, k?”

  • Reply Beks |

    It seems like weight loss and debt loss is close! It’s a struggle. I’ve been fortunate to not struggle with my weight but with the way I eat, I’m going to die of a major heart attack by 30.

  • Reply Lizzie |

    I’m totally with Emmi. They really go hand in hand. It seems the better care you take of both the easier it becomes. It’s almost like building a “wall” of self-control!

  • Reply Jessica |

    Just discovered the blog and love the comparison between shedding pounds and debt. I have been doing both and made some personal observations on my journey. My gym membership is a very important key to my success, although certainly not a necessary expense for everyone. My gym is reasonably priced less than $50 a month, offers a ton of amenities, is open 24 hours, and has multiple locations. Going to the gym helps my weight loss by motivating me to workout more and keeps me active throughout the entire year(cold winters). It also helps me control my spending by providing me with something to do when I can’t afford to go out with friends. I am also working towards both goals by biking to work and doing my laundry by hand in my apartment. Saving on laundry and transportation make up for the gym membership costs. I am struggling to manage both weight loss and debt reduction when it comes to food and emotional eatting. I cut out all sweets from my diet, but still have lots of food cravings I haven’t learned to manage. For now I haven’t been watching everything I eat, besides eliminating sweet foods and drinking only on rare ocassions. I’ve started using coupons to save a lot on my groceries, but deals with healthier foods are hard to come by. I am trying to improve shopping with coupons and meal planning, so I can make healthier meals and buy organic meat and dairy with savings fromother groceries. Even though it’s not easy trying to learn how to eat healthy foods as cheapas I canget junk foods, exercising is a free activity, and so I think it is it’s easier for me to lose weight and reduce debt together instead of individually.

So, what do you think ?