There are a variety of reasons they might pass comment or roll their eyes when you’re talking about your budget – mostly down to shame about their own expenses or jealousy of what you’ve achieved. These people exist and they won’t be going away so unfortunately it’s down to us to tolerate them without letting them get under our skin.
Not everyone will understand the debt free journey – and that’s okay.
Taking a deep breath and looking at your debt at the start of your journey can be a emotionally draining step but it’s a rite of passage you have to get through if you want the prize at the end. Coming clean about these finances to a parent, a partner or a best friend may even feel worse than that first big bill glance. However, the right person will of course help you find a way to work through it. The wrong person will make you feel shame. When I first started looking at my true debt, there was enough self-shame that I didn’t need it from anyone else. If someone is making you feel shame or embarrassment then please don’t include them on your journey.
Admitting your faults – such as emotional shopping – is a huge step and I want you to feel proud at whatever stage in the debt-free process you are. When you admit your faults you’re stronger than before because so many others don’t and continue on the same destructive path. Breaking the cycle is an amazing thing and some people will never understand that because they don’t want to be reminded of their own faults.
Starting the process of cutting back, making a budget, limiting your spending and focusing your energy on making money is brilliant and if you’ve started this process then give yourself a big hug. However, a word of caution to those who are on the cusp of this, is what you may find is that some people will annoyed you no longer want to shop with them. They will not understand that you won’t go out for drinks every Friday and Saturday. If this happens, just remember that a true friendship or relationship shouldn’t cost money to maintain.
When this change in your world is now just your lifestyle with your budget in place and your spending under control, you may start to see flickers of jealously from co-workers or family members as they start to see the true progress you’re making. Ignore any catty remarks during this time. You’re doing amazingly to clear down your debt and they are lashing out due to how far back they are on their own goals.
If they do reach out for help then please share the love this community has however keep your distance until you’re sure they’re ready. You can lend them your favourite debt book, set them up a spread sheet but it’s not your responsibility to hold their hand. No one held yours and you’re on track. They may come to you weeks down the line and tell you your book or your spread sheet isn’t working. Don’t let it get to you – some people aren’t ready to understand what it takes.
Finally, when you’ve saved up an emergency fund, paid off every credit card, reduced your overdraft, managed to pay off the car or put down the deposit on the house there may just remain a few bitter people who feel you don’t deserve it. Again, turn the other way. You’ve worked really hard for this stage and you should feel nothing but pride.
Surround yourself with positivity and hope then the rest will follow. You got this.
People will already react a variety of ways when they learn you’re on a journey to self-improve and so the only person you need to improve for is yourself. Even your children or partners will eventually understand that you’re doing it for you. This will of course have a positive effect on your relationship with them, but it has to start with you.
It’s important to reflect on what kind of feedback – good or bad – you have received since you started your journey. If someone, even someone you consider yourself close to, gives you anything other than support then consider that they may be letting personal shame or jealousy cloud the friendship.