Being in debt … well, it kinda stinks. Actually, it really stinks. Big-time. I’m not talking about a reasonable mortgage debt, or a $200 monthly car payment. I’m talking about high-interest, huge-balance, keeps-you-awake-at-night levels of debt. The scary kind of debt. The kind you should get rid of as quickly as possible.
We often hear tips, tactics or other pieces of advice about how to climb out of debt. But let’s take a step back, for a moment, to discuss why you should want to get rid of your debt in the first place. Here are 10 reasons why being in debt stinks.
#1: You become stuck in jobs you hate. Debt creates this whole new dynamic where you are forced to work at jobs you hate, doing things you don’t want to do. For some, that means being a janitor. For others, that means working in cubicle.
Regardless of the job title, if you don’t love what you do — but have to keep doing it because of debt — you’re not in a good position. Pay off the debt so that you can be free to pursue a career that you love.
#2: Numbers remind you of your debt. If every time you look at the clock, you equate the number to how much you owe your creditors, you might be in serious debt. 12:30pm should make you think of lunch, not your credit card debt.
#3: Every purchase is a reminder. Buying groceries should not make you cringe because it takes money away from the amount you can pay on your debt. But that is exactly what happens when people are stressed out about their debt. It’s just another reason why being in debt stinks.
#4: Debt becomes your purpose. Do you ever feel as though you live to pay off debts? When this becomes your reality, life really sucks. Who wants to live and breathe to pay for a Bowflex you never used anyways? Sell the Bowflex, and while you’re at it, sell that DVD collection that you never watch anymore, the coffeetable that you don’t really need, and the bookcase that’s in your garage. Use the money from the sale of these items to pay down your debt.
#5: You become sad. Do you resent all the stuff you bought that got you into debt? People who are stressed about debt can actually start feeling sad or resentful when they see the items that they’ve purchased, which is a terrible way to view everything in your home.
#6: Debt is unpredictable. Even if you’ve paid your monthly credit card bill religiously, you can still find yourself with a higher interest rate the next month. What gives? Why do you have to be punished when you’re making all the payments? The fact is that you are at the mercy of creditors.
#7: Debt makes you lose out on fun. Debt makes it impossible to do things you want to do. Can’t go to the movies because you don’t have the money to go? Can’t fly to your best friends’ wedding?
#8: It eliminates emergency savings. If you’re stressed about your debt, you probably also don’t have money stashed away in an emergency savings fund. This sucks! If an emergency comes up you’ll only get further into debt. Focus on paying off your loans so that you can build some savings.
#9: You can’t do what you want. From moving to a new city, to going on an awesome vacation, debt eliminates many options from your life.
#10: Debt means you can’t give to others. People tend to forget that when they can’t pay their own bills, they certainly can’t give gifts to their family, friends or favorite charities. One of the great joys of being on financially stable ground is that you can afford to be generous.
Kennedi writes about personal finance for women at Face & Fitness.