The Power of Purposeful Thinking: How I Thought My Way Out Of $60,000 In Debt

Via LearnVest By Colleen Oakley ~

We’re giving away two copies of Carrie Rocha’s book Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make. See the bottom of this post to find out how to enter! 

Six years ago, Carrie Rocha and her husband Marco were $60,000 in debt–and steadily accumulating more.

But a vacation to Brazil stopped them in their tracks. “We were reminded that we really want to move there at some point,” says Rocha. “The only problem? Brazil is a cash-based society where people pay in cash for big stuff, like cars and houses. We couldn’t even get to the end of the month without overdrawing.”

From that moment on, the couple decided to get out of debt – and stay out. Three years later, they wrote their last check to a creditor, and Rocha is now a financial expert with a popular blog.

In her new book, Pocket Your Dollars, she shares her key to financial freedom, which according to her, actually has very little to do with money.

LearnVest: $60,000 is a lot of debt to pay off in three years! How did you do it? What’s your secret?

Rocha: ”When Marco and I first sat down to track what we were really spending, we were in the red by over $1,000 a month. It was no wonder we were in debt! So we drastically cut expenses in every conceivable area. I cut Marco’s hair. We went on a prepaid cellphone plan for $9 a month.

But above and beyond all of that–and this may sound overly philosophical–the big difference between this time and the dozens of other times that we tried to get out of debt is that we changed the way we thought about money. Every other time that we had attempted to do the right thing (sit down, make a budget and live by it), we couldn’t make it more than a few days before falling off the wagon because we were just trying to cram new behavior on top of faulty thinking.”

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In the book, you discuss basic attitudes people have about money that need to be changed in order to have financial freedom. Which one did you and your husband suffer from?

“We had them all, but the one that really affected us the most: If only I had more money. When we tell ourselves, “When I get my next pay raise, I’ll be better off financially” or “When the tax refund comes, then I’ll get out of debt,” we’re pushing change into the future.

I lived that way for a long time. But that day in 2006 was the first time that I said, ‘Today we’re going to change. The money we have now has to be enough for us. How are we going to make it work?’ Taking ownership and personal responsibility for my situation was powerful.”

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.