Choosing Wise Friendships When You’re Paying Off Debt: You Might Have to UnFriend the Spender

Here’s my little Happy New Year gift to you. Each Monday in January, I’ll bring you a simple, concrete and easy-to-put-in-place tip to fuel your efforts to Save Money, Pay Off Debt and Be Awesome this year. Looking for a quick plan? Well this might not to be the right place for you. Most things done well take time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin to implement systems in your life that will help you achieve your goals. I’ve said it many, many times before. Paying off debt isn’t complex. It’s just not easy. You have to punch the clock daily and do the hard work. Here’s another way to make that happen.

Day 16: Be Careful the Company You Keep

The first semester of my freshman year of college, I spent many a Saturday with two very sweet girls. We’d go to Fazoli’s and order kids’ meals (free breadsticks! free refills!) and then we’d head to the mall to shop. One of my friends came from a fairly wealthy family. Her parents had sent her to college with a credit card that she could use to purchase what seemed like anything she wanted. I’m certain they had placed limits around her, but to the girl who had to walk to the bank to get cash from the ATM, her funds seemed overflowing and unending.

I had never even been in many of the stores at the mall near campus before. Abercrombie & Fitch? Our smaller mall didn’t have one of those. Victoria Secret? I loved that Pear body spray. If I inhale deep enough I can still smell it. It was a sacrifice for me to purchase it. After a couple of weeks, I found myself longing for something from every single store we visited. Even in my non-royal days, I could feel a tug at my soul. The rituals of our relationship were creating some unhealthy habits in my heart.

There were so many pretty things I never even knew I needed. And I wanted them ALL.

Gradually, I stepped away from the Saturdays of fettuccine and endless breadsticks (that was probably a good idea, too) and trips to the mall. I loved my sweet friend but I knew it just wasn’t a good pattern for me to repeat.

Did you know that our friends influence everything from our waistline to our pocketbook? Craig Groschel said so poignantly in this series, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”  We can easily adopt the habits of those with whom we hang.

To kick debt in the teeth, you’re going to need some kick butt friends. You’ll need fellow debt slayers. You’ll need individuals who are encouraging and want the best for you. You’ll need friends who will tell you when you’re out of line or buying something you don’t need. You might be called to end some friendships or at least transition their priority in your life.

Don’t know where to look to find those kind of friends? I’d highly recommend joining the Court of the Queen of Free on Facebook. Sure, I share the randomness of life and freebies and deals there, but there are also plenty of others who answer questions about frugal ways, understand the heat of the battle with the Debt Dragon, and long for freedom just as much as you do. It’s a community of nearly 7,000 other Debt Slayers just like you.

You might also check a local church for an FPU course or another financial ministry. Find those frugal, financially smart people in your community and cling to them. Turn away from friends who lead you astray or stir up malcontent in your heart. Don’t mishear me. I’m not saying you treat them harshly or announce at a dinner party that you can’t hang out with any of the guests anymore because they’re stupid with money. Be loving. Be kind. But guard your heart, wallet and time.

Kicking Debt in the Teeth requires community. You will require encouragement. Seek it out as soon as you finish reading this sentence.

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Want to conquer the Debt Dragon in your life? Grab Cherie’s book  Slaying the Debt Dragon !

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Cherie Lowe
Since 2008, Cherie Lowe has been confidently wearing a plastic crown and encouraging others to dream big dreams. Together with her husband, Brian, Cherie paid off $127,482.30 in a little under four years. She scribed the ups and downs of their "debt slaying journey" on her popular website, More than anything, she longs for others to know that there is hope for getting their finances under control. Her new book, Slaying the Debt Dragon , was published January 2, 2015 and is available wherever books are sold.