I’m sure you’ve heard: household debt is on the rise and consumerism is everywhere. Between credit card offers in the mail promising great rewards and the ability to borrow money for next to nothing, debt can be enticing.
My experiences with debt have been 100% negative. When I was 18, I got my first credit card. I was so excited to have the freedom the book hotels in advance, shop online, and be the age of majority that I didn’t really take the time to research credit cards or learn how to use one.
As a result, I ended up getting myself into a couple thousand dollars worth of credit card debt on things that I didn’t need.
I wasn’t making much in the way of income at that time in my life (around minimum wage) so it was difficult to pay off the credit card. As soon as I did (about a year later), I shut down my credit card quickly so I wouldn’t get myself into that situation again.
It was a few years until I felt comfortable opening a credit card again, and since then, I haven’t incurred any debt except for the mortgage.
I’m relieved that I learned my lesson in my teens, but many people aren’t so fortunate.
Our society is so set on consumerism and having the latest and greatest of everything that many people are willing to go into debt to ensure they can have it all. Debt does much more damage than good, however. Here are some great reasons to avoid debt this year:
A relationship can be a very fragile structure. We all know that debt and money is one of the top causes of divorce, however, the relationships outside of your marriage can also be sensitive things. Debt can weigh heavily on you, therefore affecting how you conduct your relationships with friends and other family members.
I remember when my cousin was in deep debt a few years ago, we didn’t know that she was in such financial trouble but it had such an adverse effect on her that she didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to talk to any of us about it (I think she was embarrassed) and essentially just alienated herself from her family and friends.
Your Emotional Health
Debt is exhausting. Always worrying about the possibility of an emergency pushing you back into deeper debt, watching your money dwindle on interest payments alone, worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to get yourself out of a hole – it’s all very tiring.
Debt can really weigh on a person’s emotional and mental health. Even as you start to get serious about debt and pay it back, you can experience debt repayment fatigue, lifestyle shock and various other negative emotional side effects.
Your Physical Health
I’ve said it before on Prairie Eco Thrifter and I’ll say it again: stress causes diseases. There has been many a study that prove this, and it’s the unfortunate truth.
Stress has incredibly negative effects on physical health, and one of the biggest stressors is – you guessed it – debt!
Stress can change the way your body carries weight, the way your organs function, and even the way you eat.
Your Money Should Be Working For You, Not Against You
Money is a tool, and a great tool to have, but when the it’s a hammer that’s coming down on you, rather than a lever helping raise you up, it’s working against you.
After the relief of paying back my debt, I began to work really hard to invest my money and finding ways of earning passive income.
As a result of my efforts, my money (or lack thereof) stopped working against me, by incurring interest charges and creating stress in my life, and began working for me. Every month that goes on brings me one step closer to financial freedom because I am making my money work for me now.
This is how it should be.
Will you be incurring any new debt in 2014?