Skip to content

10 Reasons Why Being in Debt Stinks

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.

Get Out of Debt


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Under category #9, for us, it meant that we had to delay having another child, which is a REALLY stinky consequence of being in debt! 🙁

    • @Rebecca — WOW, that’s a serious consequence of debt!! Sorry to hear about that. Hopefully you’ve “fixed” the problem and you’re enjoying life with a baby now!

  2. #1 is a big one. Because of debt, so many people feel stuck in jobs that they absolutely hate. Once I got rid of my student loans, I felt like the whole world opened up!

    • @Michelle — People spend 40+ hours per week at their job, so it’s important to have a job that you enjoy! I’m happy that you got rid of your student loans and felt the world of job possibilities open up for you, as a result.

  3. Only debt I’ve ever had was our mortgage. And that is paid off. Both of my parents lived through the Great Depression, and I guess they taught me somewhere along the way that debt is bad, and saving before making purchases is good. We have taught our son the same thing. He has had a bank account since he was 5 and has been putting his money into it at a better than 50% rate (More than 50% of any money he gets from gifts or his allowance goes into the bank account.) He now wants to open an investment account using half of his savings account, and he is only 12.

    • @Bryce — That’s fantastic. Congratulations!

  4. I’m with Michelle (above) on this one -> that one of the worst things about having debt is being trapped in a job you hate.

    Personally when I decided to get serious about my finances I had two job offers on the table. Firstly a job that I *really* wanted to do but didn’t pay too much. And secondly I job I certainly *didn’t* want but that paid 30% more.

    That’s 30% more money to pay off debt, I thought, as I signed the contract for the higher-paid job and waved my perfect job goodbye.

    That was hard.

    • That does stink Richard! I’m sorry you had to go through that! Just know that in a couple of years when you are debt free, that you will be able to take that perfect job. Best of luck to you!

    • Wow, sorry about that, Richard … but just rest assured that your debt will soon be eliminated!!

  5. I think #9 is the biggest for us and most people we know. Limitations on doing what you want are always a tough pill to swallow. Who wants to turn down opportunities for growth and adventure due to debt?

    • Exactly, Alex! It’s tough to not be able to do the things you want, due to the limitations of debt.

  6. Those who can’t make their minimum monthly credit-card payments already know the pain of high interest payments. Homeowners get off relatively lightly but the days of ultra-low mortgage rates are numbered. Many who extended themselves to get a bigger house than may have been prudent may be shocked to find how a slight rise in rates (say two percentage points) might render it unaffordable. If you’re extended even while rates are low, you should run the numbers and “stress-test” your mortgage to see how much of a rise in rates your cash flow could tolerate.

    • @Denise — I also recommend that homeowners opt for a fixed-interest-rate mortgage, so that even if interest rates rise, they’ll still pay the same amount. This way they can plan for their monthly payment.

      That said, they should still have a large gap between the payment they’re making and the payment they can theoretically afford … that way they’ll have savings in case they need to make home repairs, or if property tax rates shoot up, or if they lose their job.

  7. Debt can feel like storm cloud that just follows you around every day. It will always be on your mind as well as have an effect on decision you make on a daily basis. Speaking with a professional and creating a plan need to be the first steps taken for getting out of debt.

  8. Being in debt really sucks. When I was in college, I had medical bills, a couple of student loans, and a few medical bills that were in collection. While my debt was not that high, I didn’t have the money needed to eliminate it. This meant that every month my credit score continued to drop. I wanted to do something like debt consolidation and pay one bill every month instead of paying the minimum and bills every month. I can so relate to this article.

    • Sorry to hear about that, Brittany! Hope things are better now.

Comments are closed for this article!

Related posts