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?
I’ve lived with some mild debt stress and it can weigh heavily on a person. It can actually make it physically harder to get up in the morning. I’m glad I got that monkey off my back!
I’m glad you got it off your back too, Brock!
I seem to handle stress pretty well, but stress about debt is the worst! Many years ago, I slid into a terrible financial ordeal. I allowed myself to rack up a ton of credit card debt and then had difficulty paying it back. Not only was I not able to keep up with the payments, I didn’t make enough money to pay everyday bills. It was awful! I’m so glad I’ve learned to budget my money get a grip on my finances.
I’m glad you got out of it. There are so many good reasons to avoid debt.
We don’t plan on incurring any new debts in 2014. Been there, and don’t want to go there again. It’s just us plugging away against our mortgage, as usual =)
That’s great, Holly. How quickly do you think you’ll be able to pay it off?
No plans to incur debt in the foreseeable future. Other than our house, we have always saved enough money before making purchases. This includes big ticket items like cars and motorcycles. The house is paid off now, as well.
That’s great, you must be very proud to have your home paid off.
I definitely think I have debt-sickness. Even though I try not to, I allow debt to stress me out, which snowballs into other physical and emotional manifestations. I am thankful we are working our way out of debt, but the journey is going to take some endurance.
Endurance, for sure. Debt sickness is tough. It’s hard to beat but if you can, you’ll be more healthy overall!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of becoming debt free. I hope more of my family members can someday soon be able to say the same!
I hope that 2014 is the year that North Americans get serious about debt!
The positive compound interest of investments are a blessing, whereas negative compound interest of debt is a curse … avoid it unless you absolutely have to take it on!
Absolutely agree with this statement!