I heard a story that I’ll probably completely mangle in the re-telling, but I can’t find the source. My remembered version of the story goes like this:
Two (non vegetarian) people are stranded (separately) on an island with no food and very little water. They each have a knife and a cute little bunny rabbit with them.
One person kills & eats the rabbit after a few days. They survive and are rescued.
The other person holds out as long as they can, until they are weak with hunger and exhaustion. By that time, they’re in too bad of shape to do anything, let alone kill & eat the rabbit. They don’t make it long enough to be rescued.
Neither one of them wanted to kill and eat the rabbit, but one of them did it anyway, sooner rather than later.
The moral of the story is that sometimes we have to do some unpleasant things in order to make it through ok, and that it’s generally better to get the unpleasant stuff over with before it’s too late to be effective.
This means facing up to our actual situation, evaluating it thoroughly and exploring options, but then doing what needs to be done as soon as possible instead of avoiding something unpleasant or burying our head in the sand.
When it comes to finances, eating the rabbit could mean anything from stopping all unnecessary expenses so that we can pay off debt or fund retirement, to getting a second job, to asking for help, etc.
The point is to do enough, soon enough, rather than too little too late.