Whew. Good riddance to 2008 eh? What a craptacular year.

Without going into too much details, lets just say yours truly made a series of serious mistakes in 2008, almost on the same level of my previous stupidity of amassing around $10,000 in credit card debt back in 2002.

Yeah, parts of ’08 was that crappy. Even though they were not exactly financial mistakes, they were costly mistakes.

Having said that, this brings me to the point of this post: dealing with the debt you’ve created from poor spending decisions.

As a very much imperfect person (my parents will attest to this) that’s slowly realizing he’s the harbinger of mistakes, I’ve learned a few things about dealing with poor choices in life.

Whether they are financial mistakes or something else, there are about two choices you have when you’ve made a mistake: 1) Suck it up, learn from your mistake.  2) Continue the fun fest of being stupid.

The Excuses We Make

Geez. Cap is being so negative. He must have gotten rejected by the local bowling team again.

Be that as it may, the truth of the matter is that we will often try to habitually justify our own ill-conceived actions through excuses and poor reasoning.  If you’ve ever made a stupid mistake that you’ve regretted before, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.

“Its not my fault I spent so much. Work is stressful and I need some occasional relief.”

“Its not my fault I didn’t pass that test.  Chelsy was in a bad situation and she needed me to be there for her.”

“Its not my fault my body weight went uncontrolled.  I’m too busy with work/school/etc. to get a proper meal.”

If any of these sounds familiar — worry not, you’re not the only one that has thought of them.

Understanding the Mistake

When I woke up that one faithful morning six years ago and realized the asshat decisions I’ve made to get myself in the position of owing so much money — all the excuses I’ve been giving to myself suddenly disappeared.  For months, the excuses kept the realization at bay, but at that one brief moment, I had a moment of true clarity and realized that I didn’t want to continue to live a debt-ridden life.

What I’ve just described may sound a bit dramatic, but that morning was a definite eye-opener for me (being scared sh*tless by debt helped too, of course).  And from that eye-opener, I made the frequently mentioned mental attitude change. I decided to spend less than I earn, save money, budget, yada yada — you’ve most likely read it all before (if not on this blog, then on another).

Fixing the Mistake

If you have amassed debt from excessive consumerism (or some equally stupid reason), you should know that combating that particular debt doesn’t require some magic formula or a requirement of being a super genius.  You’ve probably noticed this already, but I’m not exactly a rocket scientist (again, my parents can also attest to this) — if I could paid off debt with an attitude adjustment, you can too.

Thus, suck it up. Realize that you’ve made a mistake and make a plan on how you can fix it.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles online with methods and steps you can take to pay off your debt.

Here’s a simple guideline:

  1. Earn more money or spend less money.
  2. Use excess from earnings/savings to pay off debt.
  3. Done.

It’s a New Year. Make it a better one!

Further Reading: