Think like a reductionist when you’re trying to escape a debt crisis

Think like a reductionist when you’re trying to escape a debt crisis

Renee EllisonAug 27, '23

When you are at a crossroads of weighing one option over another, you could throw self-fulfillment out the window temporarily and just think like a reductionist, a minimalist, to jettison the debt load, first. It depends upon how fast you want out of the bondage of financial debt.  All sorts of debt reduction speeds may be possible.  To some degree, it may be a personal choice how fast someone wants to want to manage their way out of a little bit of a nightmare.

Here is how it works:

To think like this you would have to think through exactly what you'd have to do to accomplish working it off.  But you'd also have to factor in the risk factor of each route you are considering.  Brainstorm the pros and cons on paper.  Pencil (or Excel spreadsheet, etc.) in hand takes it out of gray angst.

As an example, pick a number, any number--let's say it’s $10,000.  You'd target a date by which you want to be totally out of debt, and write it down and hang it on the wall, and then think backwards from that date and note what you would have to do (anyway you could righteously scramble to do it) to accomplish it in each time frame.

One:  Do I want to be totally out of debt by ten years from now?  The slower route?

Then I could afford to play around with getting a college degree, because I'd have time to recover if I couldn't get a music teaching job in Canada (just for example, because they don't have my type of job in America.  But what if the government won't let me leave the country until the debt is paid off via recent legislation?  I don't want public school teaching, and if Christian schools are in budget trouble, many of them cancel their music and art classes, not expanding them, and homeschoolers can't afford art because they are paying taxes, too, to support other people's children's education in the public schools.  So then where would I be?  More in debt.  Now having accrued more debt and lost another year in which I could have been paying off I really want to go this route?

Two:  Five years from now?

Let's see I could spend time and money to get ESL certified....$300 online or $1,000 at a college...but if I go the college location route that doesn't include housing costs and car costs because I'm no longer at Mom's?  Hmmm....incurring more debt...because I'm still not earning for the whole while that I'm learning?  And there goes at least $300 more dollars...way more if I move there.  And where am I going to get even that money?

Three:  Two years from now?

Let's see: I'd have to throw $500 at it a month....earn money starting today, with my existing skills and cut all my expenses to zero and not incur any additional debt.  Put the skids on even trying to get a grant (realizing that it never pays for it only coaxes me into more debt)...and if it would take me ten years to pay off this debt, do I really want more debt?  even $100 more?...having to trade my own sweat equity for repaying it when I'm older and even more tired?  I already saw what the grant route ended up with last time I tried current debt.

Four:  One year from now?

No delay when it's this compressed.  I'd have to throw $1,000 a month at it from wage earnings...clean houses, teach art lessons, do massages, charge for graphic design more volunteer graphic work...charge $15 an hour or not do it.  But I'd be done.  Yippee!  I'd be free at at last.  Mua!   Then get back on track to figure out what I really want to do? 

Thinking like a reductionist isn't creative or fun, but it might pay for itself in freedom.

If you still need some fuel for impetus to get out of debt, consider its emotional toll.  Debt always has an emotional component – which the enemy of our souls doesn't give a rip about.  He loves to keep us oppressed, in a fog, and dragging around a continual weight that we can never get out of it.  Like young students who graduate now with $200,000 in school debt and then buy a $300,000 house and they are a half a million dollars in debt before they even get out of bed in the morning – to START their lives – and they will never get out of that debt until they die.  The Lord didn't mean for his people to stagger around in debt their entire lives.  The culture says, just crunch the numbers for a monthly installment – and ignore the whole price tag.  It is a perpetual bondage.

A friend wrote: “We were always strapped financially in my marriage. It was hugely dis- regulating for me, never knowing.  The amount we paid in interest and finance charges was astronomical and I would just have to close my eyes and keep walking.”

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other…” (Romans 13:8a, ESV)

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