We’ve all heard of drugs being addictive, but most people don’t realize that debt is an addiction too. It’s a symptom of a larger problem.
You may have noticed that people who are deep in debt very often try to ignore the problem thinking it will go away. Instead of spending less, they spend more. They are like gambling addicts on a losing streak who keep making bets rather than ‘waking up’ and walking away from the table.
There’s a reason for this…
How dopamine affects your spending habits
Just like how sugar addicts feel happy when they eat a sugary doughnut or a drug addict who gets high after a hit someone who is addicted to spending money will experience a fleeting sense of happiness when they make a purchase.
They’re equating buying items to happiness. Many people believe that having an expensive car or a big house means that they’re successful. This idea of ‘arriving’ at the gates of success makes thousands of people live and spend beyond their means.
The end result is massive debt which drowns them in a sea of never-ending bills, calls from creditors and financial stress.
How to break this addiction
The first step is to tell yourself that you’re not a failure in life. There’s no item that you can buy that can make you feel successful. Happiness is something that comes from within.
If you’re in debt, spending more will make you feel good in the short term, but it will come back to bite you. Junk spending always worsens the problem. Seeking relief in the cause of the problem is unwise.
Spending money on someone will not buy their love either. Very often, people make the mistake of taking on debt to shower their partner with gifts. This is a vicious cycle if you follow it after all, where does it end?
The gifts will need to get bigger, and since more than 50% of all relationships end on the rocks, you might be stuck with the debt long after your partner has left.
You’ll also want to create a budget for yourself and stick to it. Getting out of debt is possible if you reign in your expenses.
Spend only on your needs and not your wants. Cut up your credit cards, if you can’t control yourself. You can always ask for replacement cards later, when you’re out of debt.
Always pay with cash. It’ll make you realize how much money is actually slipping out of your hands. A rule of thumb if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
Don’t start doing mental calculations as to how you can pay for it in instalments or how you can stretch your budget to accommodate this new purchase. You don’t need it right now.
It’s important to realize that if you feel happy when you buy things, there’s actually a void in your life, and you’re using shopping as a form of therapy. As brutal as this sounds, it should give you pause and make you contemplate.
If you feel shameful or miserable after the initial high of a purchase diminishes, there are emotional issues you MUST deal with. The same applies for stress, fear, guilt, evasiveness, etc. These negative feelings which arise when you’re in debt must be examined.
When you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ll be able to put an end to the problem. Last but not least, the best way to get out of debt fast is to start today and find ways to fix the problem.
This is an addiction that can be broken… and once you break it, you’ll be truly happy and no longer a slave to the creditors. The freedom and ‘lightness’ you’ll feel from no longer being in financial bondage is priceless.
It all starts with you… and it all starts right now.