So you’ve decided to address your debt. But you have this icky feeling in the pit of your stomach. Dread. No more lunches out with colleagues, no more weekend getaways — and say goodbye to the car you’ve been saving for. Sound familiar?
That restrictive feeling is common when you’re tackling debt. It can feel like a lot of “no’s” and limitations to things you enjoy.
In fact, these limitations might feel so overwhelming that you give up entirely. That’s where Credit Canada can help — we offer absolutely free counselling from certified credit counsellors, and we’re dedicated to keeping you on track in eliminating debt.
Now, is it possible to feel excited while tackling debt?
Financial therapist Erika Wasserman thinks so with her Financial YES! Plan. Our CEO, Bruce Sellery spoke to her on the Moolala podcast to hear how her plan helps people tackle debt while still enjoying life!
Let’s jump into Wasserman’s tips to change our debt mindset. But first, let’s overcome the biggest obstacle:
Results Won't Happen Overnight
Wasserman describes her clients’ biggest challenge as being their dream of overnight results. Of course, who wouldn’t want to wake up one day and POOF! Their $10,000 credit card debt has magically disappeared.
But it just doesn’t work that way.
Wasserman compares financial results to diets — you won’t lose 20 pounds overnight, so it's important to stay positive throughout the small wins.
Celebrate and get excited when you pay off one debt at a time or make a payment that's over your monthly minimum.
It's difficult to stay on track and motivated when paying off debt if you wait until it’s entirely paid off to acknowledge any progress.
Next steps: Make your goals attainable and bite-sized. Get excited about the small wins because they’ll add up to you being debt-free one day.
Now, let’s get into some of Wasserman’s tips and advice for the Financial YES! Plan.
5 Tips to Change Your Money Mindset with the Financial YES! Plan
Here are some tips Wasserman outlines in the Moolala podcast. We’ve broken them down and provided a few actionable next steps for you to practice in day-to-day life.
Tip #1: Everything is Fixable — Even Your Biggest Debt
What’s the biggest obstacle to becoming debt-free? Maybe it’s crushing student debt or a hefty credit card balance (or two).
We’ll bet there’s one debt lingering in the back of your mind that weighs you down every day. But here’s the truth: even that giant debt is fixable.
Take a moment to analyze that debt a bit more. Why does it make you feel so stressed? What about it bothers you so much? Maybe it's stopping you from saving for something you want, need, or is important to you. Finding those answers will reveal your passion.
And with that passion comes excitement. This is the gusto you need to make a plan to tackle your biggest debt.
The result? You shift your mindset and feel excited about what life looks like once you pay it off.
Next steps: Plan a route to pay off your biggest debt, and once you've accomplished that goal, move on to the next debt. You’ll make your way through multiple “Yeses” this way.
Tip #2: Visualize Your Dreams
What do you want to say “yes” to? Maybe it’s a bigger car to take the kids on camping trips. Or an apartment upgrade to give your relationship some breathing room!
Whatever your goal is, visualize it.
Next steps: Print a photo of your goal and put it somewhere obvious. Remind yourself to feel excited about what lies ahead of the debt journey!
Tip #3: Learn to Say 'No'
We know — this is the Financial YES! Plan. But it requires a few no’s, too. (Don’t worry, you’ll likely be happier once you learn to say no to things you don’t need.)
Wasserman brings up a hilariously universal scenario — the office birthday.
A coworker comes around looking for contributions to buy another colleague a birthday gift. But you don’t want to spend extra money (you don't have) to buy them a gift.
Then the pressure sets in. You don’t want to look cheap or come off as rude, right? Wrong. See, these are situations you should say 'no' to, so you can say 'yes' to things that actually matter to you.
Next steps: Practice saying 'no' to things you know you don’t want to spend money on. Here are some phrases you might use:
- “Sorry, I prefer to stay in tonight.”
- “I’m not comfortable spending that much on X.”
- “I don’t know Bobby that well. But I’ll say happy birthday to him when I see him next!”
Tip #4: Find Your Financial Boundaries
Learning how to say 'no' ties into a broader aspect of the Financial YES! Plan — financial boundaries.
Are you comfortable accepting the same salary every year? Do you feel confident lending over $500? If the answer is 'no', you have a financial boundary lying around somewhere.
A fantastic financial boundary example is Kevin O’Leary’s rule for lending money to family. His motto? When someone asks, he doesn’t lend. Instead, he gives them the money once, without expecting it in return.
But the caveat is that he won’t ever give or lend to that person again after that.
Find your financial boundaries and maintain them. Boundaries might sound like:
- “I don’t lend more than $100 to anyone.”
- “I don’t let anyone stay in my home for longer than 3 days.”
- “I don’t accept work unless it’s at a rate I’m comfortable with.”
Tip #5: Say 'YES!'
The moment you’ve been waiting for — saying YES!
If you keep all the above tips in mind — saying 'no' when necessary, visualizing your goals, changing your mindset, and enforcing financial boundaries — you don’t have to feel restricted throughout your entire debt journey.
After enough small wins, you’ll be able to buy that car you’ve been saving for. Or upgrade your bedroom. The only caveat? You can’t say 'yes' to everything at the same time. In order to say 'yes' to one goal, you may have to say 'no, for now' to others.
But what if you still feel like it’s a no to the things you enjoy? Then you haven't found the “right” yes. For example:
Wasserman describes her love for live music. She decides she’ll see a show this summer but chooses a free park concert over a paid event. She still says 'yes' to her desire for live music while respecting her debt.
Next steps: Find compromises to enjoy the things you love, and reward your progress with spaced-out yeses!
Get Debt Relief with Credit Canada
Debt is stressful and burdensome to deal with. But we want you to know there’s always a way out. Whether you use the Financial YES! Plan, follow a strict budget, or consider debt consolidation — you can do this.
And you have resources and support along the way. Our certified credit counsellors will listen to your unique scenario without judgment to help you plan a way forward.