No Excuses! How to Continue Giving and Get Out of Debt Faster

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Last week I offered a challenge to continue giving while you’re trying to get out of debt.

Today I want to talk about how this doesn’t mean that you need to automatically resign yourself to a longer journey out of debt.

I guess it might be possible to have your cake and eat it, too.

I’ve been reading the book Decisions: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, so I’d like to use a one of the concepts from that book to help us get out of debt more quickly and continue giving.

Avoid Narrow Framing

One form of narrow framing is when we try reduce all our decisions to either/or decisions.  Our decision is narrowly framed when we try to determine if we should do this or that.  When we’ve reduced our decisions to one thing or the other, we’re in danger of putting blinders on and missing a better solution.

In my response and in the comments to giving while in debt, there was a clear concensus that we should do both – give and get out of debt.

However, we’re still in danger of proceeding with a narrow frame.  Here’s how the new question is narrowly framed, even for a person who has decided to keep on giving while in debt:

Should I stop/cut giving or continue giving and choose a slower pathway out of debt?

To that question, I’d say to choose a slower pathway to get out of debt.

But, why does that have to be the choice?  What if we could exclude the determinism in the question – a slower pathway out of debt.

Why not say, should I stop/cut giving to get out of debt faster, or should I continue giving and get out of debt faster?

See the difference?

Yes, you can do both.

Creativity is Unleashed by Necessity

“Neccessity is the mother of all invention.”  - Plato

When we feel enough pain or discomfort, we find the energy necessary to solve a problem.  When we don’t even notice the problem and when it’s not uncomfortable enough, we don’t solve problems.

If we say, “I should continue to give and take a slower journey out of debt,” we’ve just given ourselves permission to excuse action.  We’ve just closed the door to our creativity.

However, what if we say, “I must continue to give.”  Now, how do I get out of debt at a faster pace? The necessity of our situation will unleash some creativity and will open all the doors necessary.  Decide today that you’re going to give and get out of debt faster.  After you’ve resolved to do that, unleash your creativity to figure out how to do both.

3 Boring Options to Continue Giving and Get Out of Debt Faster

Nothing on this list is meant to blow you away with deep insights.  Instead, I hope your creativity will be triggered, and you’ll see that there are options available to you.

  1. Sell something – I believe we’re living in one of the best times of history to sell products.  You can use Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon Seller Central, or even a garage sale.  If you don’t need it, get rid of it.
  2. Work more – This could include trying to pick up some extra hours or trying to pursue some type of part time or freelance work.
  3. Spend less – What is not an absolutely necessary item you’re buying?  Is there a cheaper substitute?  Could you cut the cable or phone services for a limited time?

Don’t give yourself permission to narrowly frame your situation and convince yourself that your two options are giving or getting out of debt more quickly.

Do both.

Make your cake, and then eat it.


  1. Gabe says

    Thanks for the encouragement Craig. These ideas, though perhaps not “earth shattering” or completely novel, help to encourage those of us in this journey, which is often the greatest hurdle to getting out of debt: our own selfishness (I can now afford this new car payment!!). But these encouraging words help us to refocus continually to having the right, Godly attitude about money, and, hopefully, stay on track to get out of debt.
    Also, as you mentioned, they can help start the creativity.

  2. says

    I so agree with this post!

    To “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength,” we need to put him first. Part of doing that is giving to Him from our firstfruits. I think when we have that attitude, in every area of our life, we will automatically and naturally make better choices with spending and saving money and paying off debt.

    You are right–it’s not an either/or situation–we CAN do both.

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