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I wrote a blog awhile back about how debt is horrible. It was kind of mean and was received as both inspiring and off-putting because I came across really strong.
And I’ve sat with that for a few years, trying to figure out why I am so fired up about the idea of paying off debt.
Just for me personally, I think it comes down to choice. I want to have the option to pursue what is most important to me with everything I’ve got. This is what motivated me to stay out of student loan debt and to pay off my house. And just generally avoid debt like the plague.
Once you are budgeting and giving every dollar a job and fleshing out your priorities and goals and values and aspirations for the future you are focused on your forward progress, the things you want your money to do.
Debt serves as this drag—it prevents you from putting all your dollars toward your current priorities. Debt is the priorities of your past self and it literally steals cash away from today’s priorities.
When you have to pay off debt, it is a “job” that your money is forced to do. And that is why I don’t like it. Because you’re forced to then say, “I would love to do X, but this thing over here has to be dealt with.” My past self is stealing from me.
So, it’s not so much that I hate debt, but more on the flip side. I love my priorities and values and goals and the debt can keep me from doing those things I really love. And if that doesn’t get you fired up, maybe you don’t really love those things as much as you thought.
You have to be really honest and true to yourself about the priorities, values, goals and aspirations, and then you look at your debt, and say, “What are you doing? You are screwing this up! I want to move forward and you are dragging me down!”
In that way, I think debt is a very bad thing because it gets in your way.
How you prioritize your debt is exactly the same way you prioritize anything else—how badly do you want to get rid of your debt? It’s completely personal.
It’s a forced obligation. A forced priority. And you have to do something about it. So, the question is just how intense do you want to be?
I tend, personally, to be fairly intense in this way. If you’re pretty comfortable with how things are going, just chipping away at your debt, that’s great. It’s your priorities.
But if it’s me, I hate that stuff and I got rid of it as fast as I could.
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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)
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