Debt: 4 Reasons to Leave Debt Behind Today

 

Debt: 4 Reasons to Leave Debt Behind TodayDebt.  It’s just another four letter word in our vocabulary.  Yet, in American culture, debt manages to permeate our lives in almost every way imaginable.  Everywhere you turn, people are struggling to stay on top of their everyday living expenses in addition to servicing their debt.

 

Obviously, the best advice anyone could give you would be, “Stay out of debt in the first place.”  But, it’s too late for many of us. Debt has a tendency to creep up on us when we least expect it.  Some personal finance writers differentiate between “good” and “bad debt.”  I’m here to tell you that all debt sucks.  Some of them, like a house payment, are just less oppressive than others I guess.  Here are 4 reasons you should try to get out of debt as soon as humanly possible.

 

1) Debt Is a Burden

Debt is a pain in the ass, whether you want to admit it or not.  It represents another bill to pay. It’s another thing to keep track of.  It’s another piece of mail and another check to fill out.  Debt is a burden and it’s hard to understand how heavy it weighs on you until you are finally free of it.

 

2) It Could Be Holding You Back

We all have dreams….and our debts could very well be preventing them from coming true.  Imagine the freedom you would have if you didn’t owe money to anyone.  What could you accomplish if you had fewer bills to pay?  Would you start your own business?  Would you go back to school?  Would you retire early and travel the world? The possibilities are endless.

 

3) Interest Payments Are a Waste of Money

Not only is being in debt a burden, but interests payments suck. Paying interest on borrowed money can be a huge drain on your finances.  Interest payments are truly a waste of money, and freeing yourself of those obligations can make a huge difference in your finances.

 

4) Debt Could Be Preventing You From Getting Ahead

We’ve already covered the fact that debt is a burden.  However, being in debt could also be what prevents you from achieving your financial dreams.  Being in debt means working longer and possibly having to wait to retire.  It can mean having to put the life you really want on hold.

 

If you are in debt, start by cutting your expenses.  Determine which creditors you would like to pay off first, and allocate all of your extra income toward them.  Some people choose to use debt consolidation services, but make sure to read all debt advice terms before agreeing to them.  There are plenty of resources to get help.  The most important thing to do is to learn to be happy living below your means. If you can do that, your money problems will eventually take care of themselves.

 

 

 

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. You don’t have to remind me….debt also just adds to the burden of unexpected expenses. Found out about a very expensive plumbing repair we will have to do sooner or later, and the fact we have debt and are making payments towards student loans makes it harder to save for these big expenditures.

  2. Good post Holly! Debt is completely a burden. We just have become too comfortable with it in our culture and I think it flows top down from our government. We see it everywhere and I often find that when I talk to someone about avoiding debt they just view it as foolishness. Ultimately, I think many miss what that debt truly costs…i.e. interest payments, not being able to do things you want, etc.

  3. Debt “could be” preventing you from getting ahead should be “debt is DEFINITELY preventing you from getting ahead.” Debt consolidation can help, but I don’t think some people realize that it’s just a band aid and not the real solution. Consolidation buys you time to attack the problem.

    • I don’t know….I know people who choose to keep a mortgage on their home and it’s not preventing them from getting ahead. But, for the most part, I agree!

  4. I feel like debt is a disease that keeps you from being able to enjoy life by having your entire paycheck at your disposal.. The cure is financial responsibility and patience..

  5. I agree 100%. We bought a camper in 2011 for our family to use on camping trips. It’s an older model from 2004, but we were able to pay cash. We went to the local RV show and saw some new models that advertised monthly payments of around $200, but the fine print showed that you could be paying on this for twelve years. TWELVE YEARS! It solidified in my mind that we absolutely made the right decision. It’s older and doesn’t have the bells and whistles, but the important thing is that we have no debt associated here.

  6. For most people I would agree with this. But you have to look at the costs involved. For example my student loan interest rate is less than 2.25% so I am better served investing and earning more than that rate (which is easy to do with right now). Of course I re-evaluate this periodically and if I can no longer beat that interest rate I will either increase my payments (frequency or amount) or simply pay off the loan entirely. Again this only works if you actual invest the money that could be used to pay off the debt, which we all know, not everyone is going to do!

    • I don’t blame you for not prepaying your student loan. Greg’s was at 3.25% so it was one of the last things we paid off BUT it was very psychologically freeing to make that final payment. I haven’t missed it!

  7. Wasting money in interest drives me nuts! I realized this year that if we didn’t have student loans, I could use the INTEREST that I’m paying to them each year and instead buy KU season basketball tickets. Now that’s what I’m talking about…it’s time to knock out that debt!

  8. I dated a guy who said things like “We’ll always have debt,” when I said I couldn’t afford something. He made over three times what I was making. As it turns out, I didn’t always have debt because I wouldn’t spend myself into a hole. Last I heard, he had to move in with his parents because his house was foreclosed on.

  9. Debt Sucks! There is nothing fun about it and it surely isn’t the American dream, even though is seems that way these days. You would feel better by not owing anyone money and that is where I strive to be one day.

  10. Interesting perspective on all debt sucks, and some are just less oppressive – I definitely agree with that. Welcome back and hope you two had a blast!

  11. “Debt could be holding you back from your dreams”. This becomes more and more apparent as one gets older. You realize how much more you want out of life and you know that debt can’t help you get there.

  12. Debt also is a killjoy. How much better do you feel after your vacation knowing there are no credit card bills to pay? In contrast, nothing kills the joy of a lovely trip like the first credit card bill that arrives afterward…

    Keep on reminding us — we need it! :)

  13. Good points! I would add that no debt provides choices in life. The only debt I have is a small mortgage and a car loan. I am repaying both so it will be paid off in about 4 years.

  14. I’m currently working right now to pay off 2 credit cards and to be truthful we are tired of playing the credit card games with the creditors and have decided to stop using them altogether in order to pay off our debts.

    I think the biggest problem for us is the fact that we had several things coming out of our credit cards every month like such as buying gas and paying for groceries that we decided to go to an all cash system.

  15. Debt absolutely wears you down, particularly when it’s out of control. It’s always interesting for me to visit PF blogs and see how clear everyone is on what they need to do to eliminate debt and how differently they treat money ongoing. I see so money other people who have no understanding about money and just keeping buying, even though deep down they know they shouldn’t, but they just can’t stop. When they finally do stop and start chipping away at their debt, I can literally see them stand a bit taller. While I don’t view my personal mortgage as oppressive, I still will do a major happy dance when it’s gone.

  16. Only debt I have now is student debt, and since I still got one year left before becoming a teacher, the debt will increase some. I would love to not to have any debt at all, but I have a bad health due to several chronic conditions, so working beside studying just isn`t possible for me right now (I`m taking extra courseload to graduate sooner, so I`m a 133% student). But I`m a very conscious about how I spend my money, and I plan to continue living like a student for at least 3 years after I graduate, in order to save up money to buy a house, and to pay down my student debt. For me, this debt isn`t all that bad, because without it I could never have gotten this far in my studies. AND there is a demand for more qualified teachers in Norway, so I`m not afraid of not getting a decent job. Besides, the salary is quite good. So I think my future looks bright, even if I do have some debt!

  17. “But interest payments are tax deductible!!!” – said the broke guy. I’m with you here. Can’t wait to kill my loans. All of them!

  18. It’s been so long since I’ve been debt free I can’t remember how it would feel. I’m hoping to have my cc debt crushed in a year and the mortgage gone in another four.

  19. I haven’t really been debt free since I started optometry school when I was 21, so I really either can’t remember or didn’t appreciate the feeling. I’m glad I was able to use debt to have some of the things I do, house, degree, rental, but I am to the point where I agree that all debt sucks and I can’t wait to be done with it.

  20. It’s such a huge motivator to see how much interest is being charged. It’s not cheap, especially if you have a larger amount of debt. Think about all the things that you can do with the extra cash once it’s all paid off!

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  22. Holly, I love these “Tell it like it is” posts. You are so right on so many levels, but I love your point about the money wasted on interest. We blew almost $1200 on interest last month. Can’t wait till all of our debt is gone!

  23. Yes, yes, yes! I agree one thousand percent with your points here. Especially the fact that being in debt holds you back. When I finally became debt-free I discovered how many more opportunities I could say yes to, because I didn’t have the debts weighing me down. That’s a priceless feeling!

  24. Great post. Debt can be used wisely like with a mortgage or student loans but most people are dealing with credit card debt. It can definitely hold you back if it gets out of control and then you spend decades of your life dealing with the consequences.

  25. This is exactly true to the number. All private citizens should have this as required reading, but that should just be the start. Think of how great it would be if the government got rid of all its debt, or even better, if businesses were more responsible and did not take on any debt.

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