Wednesday, July 1, 2009

100 Lbs. of Credit Card Debt

Every now and again, I hear a story of someone who’s dealing with a massive amount of credit card debt. As someone who pays off his plastic every month, it’s always amazed me how folks can get so in-over-their-heads, just making minimum payments and getting absolutely hammered with high interest rates.

Then the light bulb went off.

After I changed the light bulb, I considered the whole credit card issue once more, and came to the realization that my whole weight issue is very much like having $25,000 on a MasterCard bill. Consider the similarities:

  • I didn’t get in such dire straits overnight.
  • I certainly can’t make it all suddenly go away.
  • It causes stress.
  • It causes heartache.
  • It affects so many other areas of my life.
  • It jeopardizes my future.
  • I want to make a change, but it’s just so hard to make any headway.

How do you get out of massive credit card debt? The first thing you do is shred those cards and start changing your behavior. Then you realize that there are mighty forces working against you (interest), and you need to make a plan to get rid of the debt as quickly and efficiently as possible. You hear radio commercials for get-out-of-debt-free companies, but you and I both know that things that sound too good to be true are often… well… too good to be true.

Anyway, we got ourselves into this mess, and we can d*mn sure get out of it on our own.

A little planning.

A little willpower.

A little determination.

A good bit of time.

Like that person with the big fat credit card bill, I can’t even remember all the small things, all the little charges that got me to where I am today, but I will tell you this: I can work off this debt, and I will clean up my balance sheet.

And I’ll be a richer man for doing it.


  1. wow. WOW! I was reading and "amen brother"ing you re: the credit cards - that's me.. we use them as a tool (and to get points) and pay off monthly on time without fail.

    I was once the single girl with over $25,000 in consumer debt, and I did pay it all off. Slowly but surely, changing one habit at a time, and knocking off one card at a time. What a great way to look at this! Just what I needed to hear today - as I'm looking for the motivation/momentum to continue. Thanks Jack!

  2. PastaQueen wrote an awesome post about this same concept. I read it long ago ... but still remember it vividly. Check it out!

  3. Great post!! The similarities between weight loss and credit card debt are striking. I have never given that any thought. Bravo!~

  4. Your mind works in wonderful ways. It is the same, very nice.

    My best,


  5. Great post! This is exactly how I explained weight loss to someone very recently (they have about $30,000 in CC Debt, but are a stinkin' size 2)

  6. We think alike, Jack. One of my first posts was about debt and cleaning, and doing more of the right thing, etc.

  7. Sadly for me I have the debt and the weight both. Bloody marvellous, but I'm trying to do something about both of them. The annoying thing is I've worked out that my shopping is largely about buysing a bit of confidence and social acceptance - something I suspect I largely wouldn't have to do if I wasn't overweight and low self-esteem. Go figure.

    And believe you me - of the two, it's the credit card that overwhelms me and feels like I'm never going to get there - if only I could figure out how to apply my weight loss determination to my credit card ...

  8. See, now here you totally serious. With the great advice, now on financial're really a "Jack" of all trades!

  9. Well crap. I'm in major credit card debt and I'm fat. Although...I did cancel one of the two cards and have lost half the weight. What does that mean?!

  10. How have I never read your blog before - you are hilarious and inspiring. And dead right about the credit cards!

  11. awesome and so true. it's the time one that proves so difficult...

  12. There's so much we do in our lives already that we can apply to weight loss, once it occurs to us. For some reason we give it a special category, but it's no different than anything else we want to acheive. It takes the same work and effort and commitment.

  13. Great post - I don't have major credit card debt, but I have lived within a penny of my earnings that caused me stress. In fact, I've concluded that the very emotional problems that lead to me overeating, also lead to me over-spending. Fortunately, both seem to be getting better with journalng and forcing myself to question why I want something... It's definitely one small step at a time, intermingled with many backward steps.

  14. I'm getting scared because this is the note I wrote myself this morning:
    "Saving Money…save calories…you have an allotment, just like our financial debt we are in debt, calorically speaking". First, "calorically" is not a word.
    But more importantly, this proves that you have used your blog to gain control of our minds. I had a feeling all of the fun and wisdom wasn't really "free".

  15. Dude: That's a fantastic parallel! Great stuff.

  16. I can see a total correlation with these 2 issues in my life. Thanks for that eye-opener.

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  18. Great analogy.

    I should say, tho, that one option is to simply not pay the debt if you cannot afford it, then go back and negotiate with the creditor (or whichever 3rd party the bank sold the bad debt to) and negotiate for 20-30 cents on the dollar. Or file bankruptcy.

    Would that be like bariatric surgery?

  19. Nice post. You're a smart man.

  20. Dave Ramsey often makes this comparison. He teaches people how to get out of debt, you can see him on TV and radio if you don't know who he is. I've lost the weight but the debt was hard for me to conquer.... but applying the same things I learned dropping 185 pounds I shed the debt weight too.

    It's all about changing what's normal and learning how to lice a healthy life within your means. Easier said than done, but if you want it bad enough you'll find a way.

  21. This is sooo me! Somehow in my efforts to become healthy/fit I have become more financially-sensibe too, paying off credit card bills and controlling my spending. Somehow these things DO go hand in hand.

  22. I think anything where your using that thing as a crutch to avoid reality can be put in place of weight. Money, alchol or drugs. lIke I like to say, and addiction is an addiction. Completely true.

  23. great post. Analagy is bang on. I am on a big weight loss journey too- taking me to all sorts of interesting places, but the destination still in sight.

  24. I love this post. I love analogies. I rocked them on all those tests we took as kids. Light bulb moments. Gotta love them. They are what get us from where we are to where we're going.

  25. pretty much this is exactly what I needed to hear right now.

    Working down my body and financial debt as we speak.



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