Financial Peace

7 Strategies For Saying No To Debt

financial peace

It’s a feeling, a posture, a way of being, not an amount.

Are you buying stuff you do not need to keep up with people you do not like, spending money you do not have? 

If so, you are not alone; over-spending is a problem for many. Unfortunately, 78% of people working in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck and 44% of adults cannot afford a $400 emergency. The average personal debt ranges between $10,000 and $135,000 with Gen X (ages 40-55) weighing in with the highest debt. Needless to say, debt consolidation is a critical issue for people in every age group. Your ability to thrive financially will require learning how to pay off debtit is a necessary step in achieving financial peace.

That said, everyone is different, we all have different levels of risk tolerance. We often say, one size fits one, so let’s start with an important question.

What brings YOU a sense of peace and financial security?

  • Is it zero debt?

  • Is it manageable debt? If so, what is manageable for you?

  • Is it a savings account to cover emergencies and life unexpected?

  • Does it include contributing to a college savings account?

  • Does it include contributing to a retirement account?

  • Does it include saving for a home?

  • Does it involve paying off a home loan early?

  • Does it include building wealth?

  • Does it include tithing and giving?

These are important questions to answer as you think through what it will take for you to achieve Financial Peace. As a starter here are 7-habits of people who have achieved financial peace by becoming debt-free and staying debt free:

1. They’re Future-Oriented

People who decide to ditch debt for good realize that debt isn’t a tool. While their FICO score may go down temporarily, their net worth goes up in the long run. They treat debt like it’s a rash, knowing it has the power to spread—it’s a great metaphor because whether you’re paying attention or not, debt grows steadily and quietly. Think about it, wouldn’t it be great if you could wipe away debt with a little Benadryl?

2. They’re Patient 

Someone who truly wants to become debt-free can walk past their biggest vice without blinking. Why? Because they know all of that stuff can wait and they know the difference between nice-to-have and need-to-have. Purchases motivated by impulsiveness, instant gratification and keeping up with the Joneses are the demons of debt. They are cunning, impetuous and addictive.

3. They’re Confident

People on the road to becoming debt-free don’t care what others think or say. You know you’re on the right track when people joke about your frugal spending choices. Becoming debt-free may require significant lifestyle changes, which means you need to be mentally prepared, confident and steadfast in saying “no” to frivolous spending. That means staying focused on your bigger vision of achieving financial peace.

“Treat debt like a rash, knowing it has the power to spread.”

4. They’re Goal-Driven

No-brainer! Getting out of debt is a big, hairy audacious goal for most of us. But the caveat is, debt-free people do more than just set goals—they map out a plan for getting there. We suggest borrowing from Dave’s Ramsey’s Baby Steps for becoming debt-free. The idea is small goal achievement leads to the BIG goal of living debt-free.

Here is a summary of the steps. It may also be wise to visit the website to fuel your journey.

  • Work your way to saving $1000 for an emergency fund

  • Start paying off debt from smallest to largest (not including mortgage)

  • Save 5-6 months of expenses in safety fund for life unexpected

  • Start investing at least 15% of your income in a retirement account

  • If you have young children start investing in a college saving fund

  • Pay off your home early

  • Start building wealth and giving to causes you want to fund and support

5. They’re Money Mature

As noted above, becoming debt-free takes patience plus responsibility and maturity. And maturity has nothing to do with age. We know people in their fifties who treat money like they did in their twenties, they just have more of it, yet they continue to spend on temporary pleasures that have no long-term value.

Money maturity is a mindset committed to becoming debt-free as fast as possible. Money Mature people invest with a long term perspective by consistently adding to or replenishing their 3-6 month life unexpected reserve account, college funds, retirement accounts and paying off a mortgage early.

6. They’re Not “Stufficating”

Becoming debt-free is about UNstufficating. That is, stocking up on material stuff to compete with the “Joneses.” The purpose is to enrich your family money tree for future generations and help others along the way. Materialism affects all of us—rich and poor. Debt-free people do not attach their success and worthiness to material things that end in sabotaging their financial peace. Instead of focusing on accumulating more stuff, encourage gratitude by giving thanks for all that you currently have.

“Debt-free people don’t attach their worthiness to material things that sabotage financial peace.”

7. They‘re Willing to Make Sacrifices

Five dollar coffees every day. Eating out regularly. Weekly retail therapy. These are some of the vices you may have to let go of while you’re getting out of debt. Keep in mind eliminating these pleasures do not have to be forever. Maybe they will become less significant to you in the long run. If not, remember that budget cuts are temporary. When you’re debt-free, you can begin slowly adding the extras back into your lifestyle.

Again, financial peace is a feeling. Yet, achieving it requires setting specific goals, living a plan and DOING hard things. Financial peace requires courage. You have to be motivated and willing to adjust your mindset, change your spending habits and shift your focus from short-term to long-term. It’s courageous to say “no” to temporary pleasures and ”yes” to long-term financial rewards. Building these habits to enrich your family’s money tree is important because peace of mind is priceless.

When you’re ready, try engaging in a 30-day challenge to modify your spending and savings:

  • Choose 2-3 debt-free habits you want to add to your life

  • Choose 2-3 spending habits you want to subtract from your life

  • Monitor your progress weekly

  • Extend yourself grace if you slip

  • Celebrate your successes

Thirty days is just a start. Ideally, you will add to these debt-free habits and continue to subtract any unnecessary spending. The long-term goal is for this to become a life practice that you’ll build upon to establish a debt-free lifestyle.

Bravo, at this point you’re well equipped to say NO to frivolous spending and debit. But, there’s more to living EPIC than Financial Peace.

Grow Resilience  |  Do Brave Work  |  Lead & Live EPIC

Financial Peace is one of 6 life dimensions we explore in our new online course CRUSH FEAR. We’ll guide you through 8 life-changing modules designed to help you thrive in work and in life.


Never Worry About Money Again, Dave Ramsey offers countless resources on taking control of money in your life.
The Behavior Gap, Using simple sketches, Carl Richards makes complex financial concepts easy to understand.
The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach
The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money, Carl Richards
The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason
7 Money Rules for Life, Mary Hunt
The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke, Suze Orman
Debt-Free by 30, by Jason Anthony and Karl Cluck
Your Money Or Your Life, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey