What’s The Point of Getting Out of Debt Anyway?

Last week I did #6 on the list of 8 Great, Cheap Summer Vacations. I was a bonafide Traveling Mooch when I went to Louisiana to visit my very good, long-time friend Shayla.

One day we took a day-long road-trip to a Gulf of Mexico beach and it turned out to be a very sunny but chilly and windy time. We got blasted with sand most of the day and did our best to ignore it. Hours later on the way home we realized we had gotten fried since we hadn’t re-applied the sunscreen like we normally would’ve on a typical hot sunny day. What the experts say is true, the sun can (and will) still burn you even if it doesn’t seem like it will. We poured vinegar all over our burns (it’s really does help with the pain, you know vinegar is amazing, right?) and took some pain relievers.

Lesson learned sun. Lesson learned.

It was fun to get away from my normal routine and to do things I normally don’t get a chance to do like (among other things): be roommates with a 13 month old, eat humongous spoonfuls of chocolate chunk cookie dough ice cream at 11pm, have late-night giggly/serious conversations, and watch movies on a nice/amazing/wow TV (ours is a 15 year old TruTech;).

While it’s fun to get away I can’t help but feel guilty too. I mean, I spent money on a plane ticket! A plane ticket that wasn’t a Need. Plus, I still have that frustrating medical bill that just won’t quit. I know I should be piling money onto that bill so I can get it over with already but I’m fighting it for some reason. Like, I just want to pay the $150 that I agreed to pay, for like, ever. There’s no interest accruing so that crosses my mind too, that it technically and officially wouldn’t “harm” me to pay it super slow. But, the fact that it even exists, that I even have to think about it and that it weighs on me, that’s a signal that it’s not cool. After doing the Spending Fast and Spending Diet I’m super tuned-in to the fact that I need to deal with it and knock that bill out already even if I don’t really want to (I don’t).

Part of me thinks that I shouldn’t spend any money at all since I write this personal finance/frugality/debt-free living blog. I kind of feel like I’m betraying this side of my life when I spend money, even though I did the work and got out of the debt that was weighing on me so heavily.

I was surprised when I got to talking to some fashion bloggers at a recent clothing swap and we were talking about this issue. I told them I felt guilty if I spent money and they were saying they felt guilty for encouraging consumerism and the “want, want, want” nature of our culture by doing their fashion and shopping posts. It was totally eye-opening to see that I wasn’t alone, and that the guilt runs rampant ;) throughout the blogging world, even in completely opposite blogs and sites.

But then I think, “Why did I want to get out of debt in the first place?” It wasn’t so I could have a life full of guilt! It was so I could have freedom! So I could have autonomy. So I could do fun stuff without the guilt of over-spending and getting into even more debt. So I didn’t have to have that cyclical remorse anymore.

More than anything I got out of debt so that I could have a good life. Now, without the debt hanging over my head and grabbing mega chunks of my paycheck every month there actually is more money for fun stuff and not the pretend credit money that I used to have and rely on.

Having a good, fun, nice, happy, autonomous life was the point, and continues to be the point for me with getting and staying out of debt. I want to be able to travel, buy new clothes, and live in a nice house if I want.

What’s the point of going to work everyday, working hard to get yourself out of debt, working hard to keep yourself out of debt, being diligent day-in and day-out if you can’t enjoy yourself once in awhile? If you can’t reap the benefits?

Life is about learning, and growing, and enjoying (and probably some other stuff). It’s not about work, work, work.

Set your priorities, set your goals, achieve your goals, live the life you want and don’t be bound to the crap you don’t need to be thinking about anymore (debt).

What kind of life do you REALLY want to live? What’s your biggest motivator to get out of debt?

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp! SpendingFastBootcamp.com

12 comments

12 thoughts on “What’s The Point of Getting Out of Debt Anyway?

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  1. katelyn

    i think it's also frustrating to me because all my friends have debt. they do what they want and it's just normal to have $10,000 on a credit card.

    Reply
  2. Joanna

    Oh, your post hits home! Well, they always do but today, cue the proverbial ton of bricks. I'm currently getting my financial act together and I feel deprived of having fun and buying pretty things; even though those choices are what caused mayhem for me. I needed to make different choices; choices that will help me. I've implemented them now. I see this financial exercise like fitness: You workout, mind what you eat, etc. You also have to have a "cheat day" in which you can eat that candy bar. So, you do get to visit your friend and pay your medical bill and that's awesome! I bet back in the day you couldn't do both. And if it was me, I probably would have went on the trip and to heck with the bill! But since I value myself more, I make different choices that don't make me feel icky afterwards. I can buy a candy bar and feel good but not a $300 pair of shoes like I did last year and feel gross.

    Reply
  3. LC

    I realized after I had my baby that I couldn't stay home with him because we had too much debt. I cried every day when I first went back to work, then got on the war path to get out of debt as quickly as possible.

    Reply
  4. Kevin @ SpringCoin

    I'll be the first to admit that I had debt problems too. My biggest motivator to get out of debt and start saving was so I could travel the world and go places where I always dreamed about going.

    Reply
  5. Rich

    Freedom; peace of mind.

    Katelyn, you are absolutely right. It has become normal to do what you want and carry a debt balance. We all think we will just pay it off later. However, for many of us that never happens because paying it off eventually means cutting back, not doing what we want. Such is the state of our debt that just about every decision we make these days is over-shadowed by "We really can't afford this." It really gets old not doing things because we are paying for stuff we did ten years ago. LIfe gets to be routine.

    Here's another thought that kills me: With our current debt, we pay about $1000/month, just in basic payments. That's a heck of a lot of money. In my wifes previous job, that was aobut 1/2 of her take home pay. I used to say to her "Doesn't it annoy you that you are working two weeks of the month just to give it to someone else?".

    Reply
  6. gingermandy

    this post REALLY hits home. i am self-employed and trying to crawl out of almost 10K of credit card debt from college (which is a ton when you're trying to sustain a business). I can't imagine a feeling more amazing than getting paid from a client and getting to put it toward things i need to better my business, a travel fund, or a savings for a house. there is nothing more restricting than knowing I'm going to finally get paid but it all has to go toward debt from when I was irresponsible in college and charging my books, dinner with friends, and other stuff I could have afforded with cash.

    Reply
  7. Kelly

    This hits home for me too! Wow, I need this post this week. My birthday is a couple of days away, and boy do I want to buy myself some presents! Anna’s post on autonomy made the light bulb go off for me because I was tired of giving my paycheck away due to poor choices in my past. I wanted to have the ability and freedom to save for things and to end the guilt I felt when those credit card bills arrived. This is my biggest motivator. I wanted this more than anything I’ve wanted in a long, long time. I’ve been making different choices for a couple months now, and I feel like a new person. I have a plan and am committed to it. I might slip here or there, but knowing I’ll be free of all this debt business keeps me going.

    Reply
  8. Melinda

    I just recently started a blog about improving my spending habits and I feel guilty because I haven't really saved anything yet! I don't have debt but I live pay check to pay check for no reason. I want a life where I can afford the things I really want (vacations, that great bag, a nice dinner out) and don't waste money on the things I don't need (fast food, impulse buys, late fees, and overdraft fees). I am getting better but I have a long way to go.

    Reply
  9. John Madison

    Why do I want to stay out of debt? So I don't have to pay interest to the banks anymore! They create money out of nothing then charge you for it…what a racket.

    Reply
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