As it is with life, finances and things everyone hates to do — the sooner you start, the better.
Procrastination just delays the inevitable.
If you have $4000 worth of debt and one Saturday night you think: OMG I should clear that!, then you decide that you’ll start tomorrow or next week, but you want to do a little pre-partying now, you are just delaying the inevitable.
If it takes you 3 years to clear your debt, it will now take you 3 years + tomorrow or next week to clear your debt.
The sooner you start, the sooner you will finish and the better off you will be.
This is a recurring problem not just for individuals who are in debt, but also countries.
Countries struggling with debt need to do one of two things:
Make more money or Cut back
There is no other solution.
As it is with individuals, countries need to export more goods (i.e. make more money), raise taxes on their citizens or simply CUT BACK.
If you are in debt, you cannot keep everything including status quo and refuse to cut on anything.
It doesn’t work like that, because if I did, no one would work and everyone would spend whatever they’d like.
So how do you decide?
Ideally you should do both: make more money (part-time job, better job) or cut back (pick up a roommate, start selling, start cutting).
But let’s assume you cannot make more money for whatever reason. You can’t get your countrymen to export more to other countries or you can’t pick up ANOTHER part-time job.
Then there are two options to Cutting back:
Cut across the board or Cut selectively
I am a fan of cutting out money in EVERY budget category so that the weight of the cuts spreads evenly across your activities, but I understand that cutting back on your rent is near impossible if you live in a studio and can’t rent it out or find someone fast enough to cover 50%.
Back to my government example, I think cutting across the board is the best option only because no one group will cry “Murder” if everyone is getting shafted.
It’s like working in a company and telling your employees that you will only cut Billy, Jane and Mike’s salaries, but everyone else will stay the same.
How unfair is that?
Procrastinating just delays the pain of the cuts
You know you have to do it, or make more money (which could be very hard to do depending on your circumstance).
If you keep a clear goal in mind, the sooner you start clearing your debt, the better.
Doing the Ostrich dance is not going to make things better, it’ll just make things worse because your situation will keep spiraling down.
Procrastination also delays your future
We’ve all heard the stats: Save now in your 20s and you will not only save less as an absolute amount but you will have MORE money at the end of your retirement due to the magic of compounding interest.
Not only that, you can start living your life if you leave your debt behind you and start living with what you make.
Boring and repetitive, but true.