Get Out of Debt – It Doesn’t Have to Be Like Prison

I know, I know – every financial website and magazine out there makes it seem like carrying debt is a prison sentence. They make it sound like it’s the end of the world, like a deep dark hole you can never climb out of, and like you can never accomplish anything unless you rid yourself of any and all debt. I am here to tell you that they are all wrong – debt is not the end, not a death sentence, and not something that should stop you from achieving your dreams. Carrying debt, and trying to climb your way out of it, is like any other adverse condition we face in life. If you were going hungry, you would find a way to eat. If you lost your job, you would work incredibly hard to find another employment opportunity. Having debt is no different – you must find a way to “solve” the problem, work hard at it, start seeing the end result, and continue to move towards it. It is not a horrible, scary, life-threatening disease – it’s debt… and you can get rid of it if you are willing to try and not be scared off by punditry.

The way out of debt varies depending on who you ask for advice. For instance:

  • Some people will tell you to pay off high-balance credit cards first.
  • Some people will tell you to pay off high interest rate credit cards first.
  • Some people will tell you to use the snowball method.
  • Some people will tell you to consolidate to a low interest rate card.
  • Some people will tell you to stop buying lattes.

I could go on and on; everyone has their own opinion and method as to what works best. But one thing they all have in common is that getting out of debt takes effort and patience. It will not happen next week, and you will have to make some sacrifices. However, any amount of work you put towards getting out of debt will be paid back in spades once that debt is gone. The harder you work, and the more money you put towards debt, and the more you sacrifice today, the sooner you will be debt free. I am 38 years old, and I was in debt in some form or another up until last year. Whether it was car payments or credit card payments, I always had money “due” to someone else each and every month. And now, I am 100% debt free – no car payment (I paid cash), no credit card balances, no student loans – I don’t owe a dime to anyone. It took a long time and a lot of work, including seeing my bank account balances down to nearly $0, but after years of struggling with my debt and juggling payments, it all paid off – no more debt.

So I guess what I am trying to tell you is that your debt is NOT the end of the world. Sure, it’s up to you to decide to do something about it, do the work necessary to get rid of it, and then stick to a plan to say out of debt, but all in all, debt is not as scary as some try to make it out to be. Don’t feel hopeless or stressed beyond your breaking point – methodically go to work to eliminate your debt and eventually you will succeed. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy!

If you happen to be in financial trouble, you can make the necessary changes to improve your situation – trust me. I did it. It’s going to take work, patience, planning, and sacrifice, but you can get out of debt. I know you can.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Briana @ GBR says:

    I have about $4,000 worth of debt, and I used to think it was the end of the world, until I started reading that a lot of people have $10,000+. You’re right; it takes dedication and time, but now I’m confident.

  2. Erich says:

    I enjoyed the e-mail version of this post that I received in my inbox, but I couldn’t help but laugh when it concluded with a “Credit Card Offer of the Week.” I’m sure this question has been asked before — why?!

  3. David says:

    Credit cards are a tool that if used correctly are great. There is nothing inherently wrong with CC’s – its how people use them that is bad.

  4. Erich says:

    I can appreciate that. It’s just that the substance of the message was that not owing anyone any money is a worthy and liberating goal. To then encourage readers, via advertisement, to owe someone money seemed ironic to me. After such a great post, I would be more inclined to pay for things with my debit card rather than be in debt to a credit card company, no matter how capable I am of paying balances off quickly and regularly. To open a credit card seems to miss the sentiment of the inspirational post.

  5. David says:

    The ad goes out on every post automatically. And just because you use credit cards doesnt mean you owe anything to anyone. I use credit all month long, yet I have no debt.

  6. Erich says:

    If I put together a great e-mail about dieting, I would be conflicted if it was accompanied by a link to a fast food company. We may have differing definitions of debt. I define it as being in a position where you owe somebody something. As soon as you use a credit card, you owe money to a credit card company. It is referred to as credit card debt. If somebody truly wished debt-free happiness and freedom for others, he/she would be conflicted by an advertisement that encouraged the borrowing of money.

  7. Cutting back on spending gradually may help cope with the difficulty of getting out of debt. The debt free plan needs to be sustainable.

  8. Christine Clark says:

    I feel so overwhelmed by debt right now and changing a career and returning to college… and I’m 58! I have two huge assets–I own two homes, even though they carry mortgages. Thank you for letting me know it’s not the end of the world and that as I make efforts to climb out of this abyss, I will feel better. I appreciate the encouragement and the focus on the better, debt-free days to come.

  9. I can imagine the feeling you have now that you are debt free, because I am, too. Your advice gives hope to those who are still indebted and have believed that this is the end of the world. I agree with you that the harder you work (whether the goal is freedom from debt or, even better, financial freedom), the sooner you will be free.