When people ask me questions like ”How do I get out of debt?” I’m inclined to say a lot of things, because that question can have many answers. But the number one overwhelming answer I give is “spend less than you make”. When they ask me how to do that, then I’ll usually tell them to “go commando” by cutting up their credit cards.
You don’t need them.
They are a drag on your finances.
Credit Cards Make You Spend More
When you use a credit card, it is so easy to spend money with a simple swipe without thinking about it. It’s so easy that studies have proven that you spend 12% more when using a credit card instead of cash. Not to mention the fees and interest that build up when you don’t pay off the balance each month, on time.
When I tell someone they don’t need a credit card for any reason, they look at me like I have two heads. It just doesn’t compute. Our culture is so ingrained to the use of credit that most people think you can’t live a normal life without it.
Actually, that’s true because if you don’t use credit you’re definitely not normal. Without a credit card most people will feel “naked”. “How will I pay for gas? What happens if I have an emergency?” That feeling, that fear of being unprotected and exposed is just as real as the fear of actually being naked in public.
Cosmo Kramer Is Goin’ Commando
I like to compare this to the episode of “Seinfeld” when Jerry’s wacky neighbor, Cosmo Kramer, decides he’s going commando. Of course this revelation is shocking, it’s not the norm. But Kramer knows better. Going commando, according to Kramer, is very freeing. When Jerry and Elaine question him about his choice he exclaims “I’m out there Jerry and I’m lovin’ every minute of it!”
Going Commando Is Not Normal
And so it is when you stop using credit to finance your life. Yeah, it’s a little weird at first, it’s not normal. But when you give yourself over to it and change your mindset, it’s very freeing.
People will question you about your choice and wonder how you can be so different. They’re uncomfortable because you’re not being normal. Normal feels safe to them. But different is where the good stuff happens.
But you know better, you know that ridding your life of debt is very liberating, freeing you from the financial tightie whities that have been holding you back.
You’re out there.
You’re lovin’ it.
You’re becoming debt free.
ACTION STEP: Cut up your credit cards, build your basic emergency fund, and make the commitment to “go commando” and get out of debt.
QUESTION: Are you constrained by debt? Have you decided to go all in and get out of debt? Please leave a comment about it.