Happy Monday, Frugal Farmer friends! Today we welcome our friend Sarah, from over at The Frugal Millionaire. Sarah’s going to share with us today her top reasons for avoiding credit card debt. Welcome, Sarah!
A little backstory: When my husband and I met, we were in about $7,500 of combined credit card debt. We didn’t want to be one of the many millennial couples drowning in debt, so before getting married, we decided to tackle this debt plus my car loan and his student loan, totaling more than $40,000 combined.
See how millennials can get out of debt and save money >>
Within five months, we hustled and hustled and eliminated our credit card debt. Two years later, married and with a baby, we were debt free.
Since then, we’ve always avoided credit card debt. We sometimes use our cards for monthly purchases to rack up points, but we pay them off as soon as we buy the items. I will never forget how it felt to live with thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. I had trouble sleeping, I was constantly worried and my quality of life wasn’t as high as it is now. I don’t ever want to go back to that life of being saddled down with debt, so I always keep the following five reasons for choosing to stay out of credit card debt at the forefront of my mind.
Stay Out of Debt to be a Good Example to My Kids
I have two little girls that are my world. Not only is it my job to teach them how to behave, how to take care of themselves and how to be kind, it’s also my job to teach them how to handle their finances. If my husband and I are constantly racking up debt, living above our means and always seeking the next big thing, what kind of example is that to them? Instead of teaching them that “things” buy happiness, I want to teach them that being in a good financial situation will bring them more peace and happiness than any item ever will.
Having More Money to Save and Invest
Let’s face it, if you’re in substantial debt, you’re probably not able to save or invest as much money as you’d like to. Debt eats away at your paychecks, limits your ability to go on vacation and prevents you from saving and investing. Not having debt has allowed us to save thousands of dollars, contribute heavily to our retirement accounts and invest in mutual funds. Our miscellaneous income is greater now and we’re choosing to invest in our future with the extra money.
Improving my Marriage
Money is one of the main causes of divorce. My husband and I paid off our debts together and continue to stay on the same page regarding our finances. When we had debt, we had frequent fights over money (our debt seemed to bring out the worst in us). Now, while we still have arguments, money is very rarely the reason why. Tackling our financial problems has brought us closer together as a couple.
Being Debt Free Motivates Me to Work Harder
That’s right, now that I’m out of credit card debt I’m motivated to work even harder so I can continue to live a debt-free life. Our goal is to either pay cash for our next house or have a substantial down payment (well over $100,000). Not having to make a mortgage or rent payment every month would be a dream come true.
Allowing us to Retire Early
My husband and I both work for ourselves, and while we are doing what we love, we don’t want to have to work for the rest of our lives. Staying out of debt will help us achieve our goal of early retirement. If we have no mortgage payment, no car payment, no credit cards and very little monthly expenses, that means we can take time to travel, spend time with friends and family, focus on hobbies, exercise and just relax.
Anyone who’s been in debt knows just how hard it is to get out of debt, and that’s my main reason for choosing to remain debt free. Debt is what ties you to your employer, your city, your house and overall, your life. If you want to start living your life and following your dreams, you have to first get out of debt.
What are your reasons for getting, or staying out of debt? How would/does a debt free life allow you to chase your dreams?
About the author: Sarah Brooks is a wife, mom and blogger at The Frugal Millionaire. Her and her husband are both self-employed and working hard to reach financial independence. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, being outside and baking.
All great reasons, especially the one about being motivated to work harder. I’ve never really thought of it that way before, but it makes sense! If you actually get to keep the money you earn and use it for something awesome like a home paid for in cash, that is definitely a reason to work harder!
Exactly!! If all of your money is going towards debt, that’s GREAT, but kind of depressing lol! I’m inspired to work harder to I can pay cash for things, travel and enjoy my money 🙂
Keeping debt free allows me to have more options and take risks. I can consider leaving my job for grad school or switch careers, potentially boosting my income potential. In that way debt freedom helps me boost my money in more than just the typical ways.
Great points!! Being debt free allows you to live life how you want and make changes instead of being stuck in a job because of your high bills. It’s allowed me to stay home with our girls and also get into freelance writing, something which I am forever grateful for!
Our daughter is the biggest motivation to get debt free too. I look forward to providing a great life for pur family stress free because we’re debt free!
That’s a wonderful reason!! Us too 🙂 I want to teach them about finances plus give them a good life because we made smart decisions.
Thanks for the comment!!
We had a period of time where we had credit card debt and I hated when that bill arrived every month. In the overall scheme of things it wasn’t huge – consistently $5-$7 thousand – but it seemed insurmountable to me. I can’t describe how liberating it is to be totally debt free. And being debt free allows you to save for things you want more….like a custom home we are building this year….for cash! The old saying “the borrower is slave to the lender” is certainly true and I don’t ever want to be a slave again.
Hi! Thanks for the comment! Wow – congratulations on paying cash for your home!!! That is one of our goals, too 🙂 And you’re right, you can’t do things like that if you have debt standing in your way.
Our debt payoff journey did allow us to chase our dreams. My wife was able to transition careers and I was able to become a stay at home dad – but not until we had paid off 100% of our debt. We didn’t feel comfortable with or think it was a wise decision until we had the monetary flexibility to do it.
That’s very smart!! Congratulations on being able to achieve your goals!
For us the biggest motivation in killing our debt was for our kids. We didn’t want to enter parenthood saddled with debt, not to mention wanting to really make strides at building our wealth. Having the freedom to do what we want financially isn’t too bad either. 🙂
Totally agree! It’s nice not being stressed out about money any more (for the most part). We were the same way with wanting to pay off debt before having kids. I want to teach them how to properly handle their finances so having no debt is a must!!
Those are all great reasons, and I completely agree!
All great reasons! We did it to improve our family life and teach our children a better way.
Wonderful reasons!! And your story is an amazing one 🙂
Woo hoo! Go Sarah! That is awesome. I love hearing stories like yours of people who paid off their debts and are now enjoying debt-free living because it motivates me. Can’t wait to get rid of our student loan debt once and for all so we can join you!
We are staying out of debt so that we can reach financial independence earlier. Also, we just don’t want or need the debt as we are happy with the way our lives are now 🙂
That’s a really good point!! Why add debt if you’re happy with how your life is?! Thanks, Michelle!
Posts like this should be required reading in a mandatory high school finance course. For goodness sake, not everyone has parents who will, or are even able to, advise them correctly.
My parents always had a lot of debt and somehow that bad example gave us the understanding of what not to do. It’s sad to them struggling financially now, but seeing that struggle has definitely shown us kids what not to do.
It’s funny how that happens sometimes. My dad comes from a family of 6 kids and grew up basically in poverty. Him and all of his brothers and sisters are all engineers and good with their money! Their childhood taught them how NOT to be!
These are all good reasons, and many of them are my motivation to get out of credit card debt. While I don’t believe that everyone who’s in debt got there just accumulating things, I’m sure it’s an equally scary place to be for all of us.
Great post! I just hate owing anyone anything. period! It’s just incredibly stressful to be tied down by something and I’ll go to great lengths to avoid it!
I was convicted the other day when my hubby and I were adding up our credit card debt and our 14 year old daughter was a little stressed about it. Our kids don’t want to see us in debt. Here’s to working hard at reducing debt for the sake of our kids!
The older my kids get the more I am realizing that patterning is huge!
These are great reasons Sarah, particularly to help your relationship. Debt is stressful for everyone and marriage is tough enough to throw debt stress on top of it. Good for you!
All great reasons to stay out of debt! I really love that you are doing it to be a good example to your kids. I wish my parents had done this for me, so I hope to be a good example to my future kids.
Definitely agree with #1! I want to instill a debt-free mentality to my kids.
Some great reasons to live within your means!
I agree, Robert! Thanks for the comment. 🙂
I just don’t borrow and have no credit cards. I fight temptations! What else? Setting a good example to kids really helps me be debt-free.
Smart tips, Jayson. Credit cards can really cause some trouble.
My main reason for keeping debt-free is my son and breaking the chains of generational debt. I try to earn a little extra to get out on top of debt, and it’s also a way to achieving long-term goals.
I agree, debt puts a huge weight on any relationship, and it’s always best to work together and settle any financial problem before it gets worse.
LOVE that, Joseph. We have huge generational chains of debt on our family, and we too are breaking them for our children’s sake. We want to show them that it doesn’t have to be that way.
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