By Jason Fisher
Winning the war on Debt is not unlike winning the war on your weight; the sources of trouble may be similar, we don’t get in trouble overnight, we don’t get out of trouble quickly, and it is going to take a serious change in lifestyle to really make a difference.
Whether it is being in debt or being overweight, in many cases (although, I freely acknowledge, not all), our trouble comes from a troubled lifestyle or lack of discipline. Additionally, in a majority of cases this trouble does not arise over night but over a longer period of time and more subtly than we would like. Exceptional cases not withstanding most of us don’t suddenly go from zero debt to tens of thousands of dollars over night and similarly we do not go instantly from being a healthy weight to being obese, however it may look that way in retrospect. How often have we asked ourselves “How did I get here?”
In neither case will we be able to find our way out of our mess overnight.
Although you will hear many commercials that will try to sell you on the quick fix, they are simply selling snake oil. We didn’t get here quickly and we won’t get out quickly, it will be hard, it will be slow going, often you will feel it isn’t worth it but when you have arrived at your destination, it will be all the more worth it.
It is going to take a change in lifestyle to accomplish both goals, as the cliché goes if you do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got. We simply have to find ways to change the way we live. Stop drinking soda when water is healthier and cheaper. Don’t go out to eat as much, we find it just as fun to try to recreate our favorite restaurant dinners together. These are all low hanging fruit but they make a huge difference and are great momentum builders when you are first getting started.
Where these two goals can be diametrically opposed is that the cost of quality food is high. It used to be that being over weight was a sign of the rich, only they could afford to eat enough to get over weight. Now we have mounds of choices for cheap calories. McDonalds has had 85% growth in the past quarter because people are looking for cheap food. While we may be full we continue to eat because our body knows we are missing essential nutrients and still craves the nutrients we need. So we eat more, and spend more money.
Jason Fisher writes at improvethequality.com, a blog devoted to simplifying life and improving the quality of our finances.