I love to hate debt. It’s my favorite thing to pick on. I like talking smack about debt, I like paying debt down and I like hating debt.
It’s like, I hear the word debt and I run over to the conversation, all excited, and say ‘Oh man, y’all talking about debt? I totally HATE debt! Let’s talk about how much we hate debt!’
Even though I am now debt free I find that I still talk about debt a lot. Many of my friends have debt, I am a personal finance blogger and I’ve only been debt free for a few months. I mean, I lived and breathed extreme debt pay off for 10 months. I didn’t spend any money in February! Debt is just the thing that I love to hate. Some people have Miley Cyrus. I have debt.
I mean: I really love to absolutely hate debt. Any kind of debt. That anyone has. I think of that scene in Mean Girls where Gretchen Wieners yells ‘You can’t sit with us!’ at Regina George. Debt is the Regina George to my Gretchen Wieners.
Why do I hate it so much?
I see debt as an enemy.
For me, debt was my enemy as soon as I graduated college. I knew that I needed to get rid of my debt ASAP but I graduated right into the Great Recession with an English degree. I had no job offers, no savings and the only work I could find was as a waitress.
While waiting tables is a real job it doesn’t pay much. I was working for a chain in a mall and I didn’t make good money. I felt like I was working really hard at something I didn’t even like and I wasn’t making any headway.
Then when I moved to Austin I got in with a group of friends who largely didn’t have debt. Some hadn’t gone to college, some had parents who were able to pay for it, some had small amounts of debt but nothing like my load. ($25,302 at the height) Having debt made me feel ashamed compared to these people. I wanted it gone so I could have the freedom they had.
I see debt as a roadblock.
Now that I am debt free I am anxious to stay this way! I’ve educated myself over the last year on personal finance and money management. I know debt will hold me back from any serious financial success. Especially as I start working towards my next life in early retirement I know that any debt will be a roadblock to reaching those dreams.
I just worked my butt off at five different jobs to pay down all my student loan debt. I am in no rush to go back into debt for any reason and have to do it all over again!
I make too little money to have any kind of debt.
I don’t make 80K+ a year. I’m an hourly/contract worker who actually labors for some of my jobs. I move heavy things around in small spaces. I pick up other people’s trash. I cater (literally) to other people’s desires and have to put my own needs out of mind. It sucks! I work way too hard and make way too little money to have to send any of it to someone else.
I’m protective of my cash. There’s so little of it that I am hyper aware of all my spending. Having to make a debt payment each month when I was only making $1,500 a month last year was always a disheartening moment. As long as my income remains at the level it is, staying out of debt is my only option for being financially stable.
Now that I don’t have any personal debt to worry about I’m enjoying being a resource for my friends that do. As my life has expanded in Austin I’ve met more and more people with debt. I love talking to them about pay off strategies or ways they can cut back in their lives to make bigger payments. I want them to exercise debt out of their lives too!
Incidentally, if you are looking for debt payoff strategies you might consider reading Dave Ramsey’s stuff. In case you don’t know about Dave Ramsey, he is one of America’s top personal finance gurus. He is controversial for his religious approach to paying off debt, but his books have sold millions of copies – largely because his debt payoff strategies work. The book to read is The Total Money Makeover – its got his major approach towards paying off debt in it. The book sells for something like $20 on Amazon, or you can get it at your local library for free.
Finally, if you don’t want to wait, you can read a pretty good summary over at blondeandbalanced.com.
Tell me if you love to hate debt too!
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.