I carried that mindset for a long time because I didn't realize there was another way to think. The more I learned from people who weren't in debt, it was still a hard habit to break, especially when I felt so behind in both income and debt payments.
But hearing "Debt is a sign of discontentment" explained so much to me. It wasn't a numbers game anymore. It was personal. Mental and emotional discontentment has spurred so many trips to Target or the mall or Amazon.com. So it didn't matter how many jobs I worked to get out of debt, I was always going to stay in debt if I was discontent about areas of my life.
I felt a shift in mindset when I listened to Dave Ramsey speak those words on his radio show. What would it take for me to be content? Oftentimes I had what I NEEDED but I still wasn't where I wanted to be so I would spend to fill the gap. And sometimes what I was missing wasn't material, yet I'd go shopping to fill the void. It ended up being counter-productive and set me back with credit card debt.
I got a new job in July and that came with a new paycheck that provides the cushion I needed to live within my means.
And the more I focus on the mindset of having what I need, I am finding several ways to make sure that my life fits into my paycheck, rather than trying to expand my paycheck to fit into my life.
Now every day I remind myself that I have everything I need and a lot of what I want. Life is far from perfect but I am very fortunate and spending more than I have is not going to make me more fortunate.