Special Guest Blogger Julie Morganlender: Your first step from debt to financial freedom

I was thrilled to get her text message: she had done it! My friend and client had paid off $17,000 in credit card debt and car loans and was debt free for the first time in 13 years. Amazing! She’s loving her new “happy place.”
Turning dreams into reality
What’s your financial dream? Having no more debts hanging over your head? Having the freedom to change jobs, move, or go on vacation without worrying about credit card bills and car loans? Getting rid of monthly debt payments?

But do you ever think,Why bother? I’m not even close, so what’s the point? I might as well not even try. I don’t blame you. It can feel totally overwhelming. A bury-your-head-in-the-sand kind of feeling, right? Let’s get past that.

How to overcome the overwhelm
Managing personal finances is all about emotions. Calculators handle the math, but they can’t handle the emotions. There’s fear and overwhelm and all sorts of other negative feelings. We see big numbers on loans and debts and it’s scary. It’s easier to walk away than to confront the issue, so we walk away.

But that doesn’t fix the problem.

The good news is that there are ways to fix it! Here’s what I want you to do:

Make a list of your financial goals. Take 1 minute and write down the first things that come to mind. Taking singing lessons, buying a house, getting out of debt, travel. Whatever it is, write it down.

Now circle the 1-3 most important items that you want to focus on first. You can get to the others later, but for now you’ll focus on no more than 3.

Put these on your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, on your phone’s homescreen. Make sure you see these goals every day.

Now, every time you get nervous about facing your finances, look at those goals. Remember, that’s why you’re doing this!

You’re the tortoise, not the hare
Like building muscles or learning to play the piano, fixing your finances won’t happen in a day. And that’s ok. You’re going to make a series of small, consistent changes that will add up to big results.
We all have exactly 3 ways to pay off debt and save more money:
lower expenses
increase income
do both.
I recommend you do both. And yes, it’s really that simple. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you’ll want to quit. But if you push through that feeling, you’ll see significant progress.

Take your first step
Since this won’t happen overnight, all you need to do right now is to take 1 step. Just one. Try one of these:
Plan one thing you will do to earn extra income. (Babysitting, selling old stuff you don’t use on ebay, asking for a raise at work.)
Ask a friend to hold you accountable.
Plan one thing you will do to cut expenses. (Bring lunch to work instead of buying it, get books from the library instead of buying them, cancel cable and switch to Netflix.)
Choose 1 step to start with and go for it! Then put that extra money towards your goals. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to make progress towards the things you most want. And I look forward to one day getting a message from you about having reached your goals!

Julie Morgenlender coaches clients and also writes about crushing debt, growing savings, and building your nest egg at Nest Egg Chick at juliemorgenlender.com. She crochets, knits, and reads just about any type of book she can get her hands on. Dogs are her greatest love and distraction, and she is rarely happier than when a dog sleeps on her lap

Renee SieradskiSpecial Guest Blogger Julie Morganlender: Your first step from debt to financial freedom