Becoming Debt-Free Begins In The Mind

Updated: June 30, 2023

Everyone wants to be debt-free.

Unfortunately, only a handful of people can do it. And even fewer are those who can sustain it for the long term.

So what’s the secret of these people who have successfully eliminated debt from their lives?

I could only guess, perhaps, because I believe that each one of us lives in our own unique circumstances.

But speaking from experience, I can say that more than the conscious effort to spend less than what I earn, finding extra income, and snowballing my debt payments – my own success in the battle against debt really began with having the proper mindset.

Patience with the Details
One of the reasons why we get into financial trouble, especially with credit card debt, is that we don’t take time to balance our actual income against our daily expenses.

To do personal accounting can be confusing, meticulous, and even boring – but it’s the only way you can see if you’re living below your means.

Pragmatic Outlook
Being practical means appreciating things for their function. When we begin to buy things for their use and efficiency – we will start to discover our real necessities and learn to let go of the non-essentials.

For example, a shirt, pragmatically speaking, is just a piece of cloth that we need to cover our body – so there’s really no need to buy expensive brands when there are cheaper alternatives that are comfortable and, sometimes, as fashionable. Moreover, there’s really no need to buy one if we have enough of them already.

Independent Thinking
I believe that self-reliance is an important trait to have if one wants to become debt-free. It is because you know that, in the strictest sense, you only have yourself to depend on when life throws lemons at you.

Negative thinking, such as blaming others, making excuses, waiting for help, and self-pity – it all stops when you accept the fact that change can only come from within yourself. And that change can only happen when you become more responsible with your decisions and actions.

Healthy Self-Esteem
Don’t let your material possessions define you. More importantly, don’t let other people dictate how you should think and feel.

All debt-free individuals I know are self-confident, positive thinkers that live to acquire skills, values, and good deeds rather than short-lived happiness and comfort from material things.

Belief in Delayed Gratification
Lastly, one’s journey toward debt freedom would not be possible if one didn’t believe in delayed gratification.

Working with double efforts just to be able to save money for debt payments is hard, and the end is usually far ahead.

But keep your focus on the goal and know that when you finally make that last payment on your debt – that heavy feeling in your chest will lift, you will definitely sleep better at night, and you’ll feel that anything is possible.

And indeed, anything is now possible for you – including financial freedom.

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Photo credit: webflunkie


  1. “Don’t let your material possessions define you. More importantly, don’t let other people dictate how you should think and feel.”

    This is very relevant for Pinoys who always seem to do things out of “hiya”. Even when they do not have enough money for necessities they would even dare to borrow money just to splurge on handaans for fiestas or birthdays mainly driven by hiya on what other people would say if they don’t have a bountiful feast to offer on that ONE special DAY of the year. I even saw a documentary before about a family working all year just to pay for debts incurred from the previous year for the one day feast for family, friends, & neighbors. And this cycle of debt goes on year after year after year and will probably remain poor unless they change their mindset.

    Once again great article! 🙂

  2. I would just like to ask your opinion about gambling. My boyfriend can’t quit. Although he have no debts and he doesn’t have too much expenses but he can’t seem to quit on his gambling coz that’s what he cal hi “leisure” daw. Is that still healthy or I should insist him to stop?

  3. @Melissa
    I myself is against gambling per se coz I cannot see any fruitful things about it. A waste of time and a waste of money. But other people see things differently. I think, other factors must be present in order to categorically say that gambling is bad. If it affects his daily expenses, savings, debts, his personality, your relationship or if it’s becoming out of hand, then he must stop it at once. But if it’s under control like what you said, and in moderation, then, i guess, it’s okay. Maybe it fuels his desire to earn more and to be financially responsible so that he can continue his “leisure” which I think he sees as “a way to enjoy the fruit of his labor”. Like me, I also give myself an occational pampering. That’s the purpose of earning isn’t it? But I always see to it that I secure my savings, investments and other expenses first before my self-indulgence.
    You can both discuss the issue and understand eachother’s side. You cannot just tell him to stop. It’s like telling a woman to stop buying shoes, bags or make ups ryt? Maybe you can discuss with him a new investment product you learned where he can put his money instead of spending them in his gambling activities.

    Again, you can take a different approach on this topic. good luck.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

  4. Nice article Idol and dessertman very well said bro about the gambling stuff… cheers

  5. @Fitz
    You’re right. Personal accounting is really the key to having control over your monthly income and expense. That’s the best approach we can do.
    But in reality, not everyone has the patience and discipline to do so. My advice is just save and then skip the nitty gritty part of listing down all your expenses.
    To do so, all you have to do is set a small target savings first and then spend the rest. If you are successful in the first month, then gradually increase your savings % increment the next month and so on. By doing so, you will be more concentrated on your savings rather than on your expense. Watching your savings grow would be a great motivation for you to be more frugal instead of wasting your time collecting, computing and analyzing receipts and bills.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

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