Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and that feeling that you’re not living the best life hits? It’s easy to feel left out when you see fabulous brunches, exotic vacations and expensive OOTD posts. This feeling of missing out drives most women to live outside their means and charge everything on a credit card without fully realizing the consequences of collecting debt.
63 percent of women ages 18 to 24 carried some credit card debt in 2015. source
Instead of finding support or solutions, they bottle it up and live in a constant cycle of paying off a little and then accruing a lot more debt.
The Wealth Designer's Mary Barker
Mary Barker, of Thewealthdesigner.com, sees clients in this situation all the time that are in desperate need of a financial wake-up call. This mentality of “there’s always more money coming; I don’t have to change my habits. Next week I’ll get paid again,” is what’s keeping this generation of woman chained to their debt. Barker has a great approach to confronting your debt and forming a comfortable relationship with money. One of the first things she recommends is putting your big girl pants on and addressing the problem. It’s hard to admit that your retirement fund is sitting in your closet in the form of sweaters from Bloomingdales or all your disposable income is being spent on Seamless orders. There’s freedom that comes with acceptance and that’s usually the hardest part for most women in debt.
From there, develop a real plan to save for what is important to you and pay off your debt. If you know that travel is a priority to you or you want to buy a house, then develop a budget or reach out to a financial planner to help you save towards that goal while paying off your debt. When you’re paying off your credit cards or loans, it’s also important to look at the interest rate across your accounts. Barker recommends the snowball method to pay down an account with the highest interest rate until you pay it off and then apply those funds to the next account. As you move through this method, the monthly amount will start to increase and your overall debt will decrease.
One of the most important things you can do is to become your own financial expert. If you pick 2-3 podcasts or finance blog and educate yourself, you will start to see the importance of having a healthy financial situation and start to break through the illusion of curated images that are not realistic.
Paying off debt requires some hard work on your end. While packing your lunch everyday and making coffee at home help, you need a real plan with aggressive action items to meet your goals.
The resources below are a great place to start: