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Debt Movement: Get Rid of Debt Payments Once and For All

Don't Get Fooled by Colorful Signs!

Don’t Get Fooled by Colorful Signs!

Unfortunately debt has become the accepted standard in today’s society. If you don’t have half a dozen revolving credit accounts, a jumbo mortgage, and a couple of new cars, you aren’t living. Debt is so accepted that I’ve known people, self included, who graduated from school and couldn’t wait to start applying for credit so we could fill our lives with the things that everyone tells us we need. Thirteen years later, I have a different view. After years of interest payments, balance transfers, chasing 0% offers, and trying to track when payments were due, I’m done with debt payments. Debt has become a four letter word in our house.

Is There A Such Thing as Good Debt?

You’ve likely heard the argument that a “good” debt is one that allows you to potentially better yourself in some way. Student loans are good because they allow you to earn more money with a college degree. Mortgage debt is good because you are able to have equity in the place where you live.

I agree to some extent. If I hadn’t been able to borrow money to attend optometry school, I likely would not have anywhere near the earning potential that I currently possess. If we had waited to buy a home in cash, we might never have gotten there. I also think most people take on so called “good” debts and look at making the payment instead of the entire amount you will be paying back over many years. I know we all get the amoritization schedule, but it seems so overwhelming that we quickly glance it over and whip our mindset back to making the payment.

My husband and I still have student loans and a mortgage for a primary and rental residence, but I can’t wait until the day when those are gone. If we’d been smarter with our money, we could have been done with student loans already. I’ve been in the minimum payment mind set for a long time. Now I’m ready to start making some serious over payments until the balances are all gone. When the student loans are done, we’ll go to work on the mortgages.

Temptations of Debt Abound

When you sign up for and are able to make those payments on the “good debts”, you are rewarded with a high credit score which allows you to get approved for any credit card or financing offer out there. This is where the whole payment mentality kicks in again.

I have bought so many things that I didn’t need right away on 0% credit offers. You’ve seen them. There is usually period of so many months interest free or “same as cash” where no interest accrues if you pay off the balance in full.

Learn from my mistakes. 0% is not the same as cash! Best case is that you are making these payments monthly, and you are able to pay the item off before the promotional period ends. The downside of this is that money you are paying to have new furniture, new skis, electronics, or shiny rims for your new car is money you could be using to pay off your other “good” debts. If you do slip up and aren’t able to pay it off, the interest balloons and is applied to the original balance. If you only have $20 left on a $2000 loan and don’t pay it off on time, you get charged interest for the whole $2000. Why take the chance? Save up until you can afford it. Odds are, most things offered at 0% are not necessities. If they were, the company wouldn’t need to entice you with no interest offers.

I’m In Debt, What Can I Do?

The first step is to sit down, figure out what you owe, and make a plan. You can join the Debt Movement started by Jeff Rose in partnership with Ready for Zero to pay of $10,000,000, yes ten million dollars of debt, in 90 days. No you don’t have to owe $10 million, but sign up. There are some great tools to help with your pay off, and joining a like minded community helps more than you can imagine. There are so many ways to pay off debt, and I will be writing and featuring guest posts on that topic for the next couple of months to celebrate the Debt Movement.

What’s holding you back? How are you going to pay off debt this year?

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I have been reading about this debt movement everywhere. It’s a great idea and people will be so much better off. Consumer debt is such a detriment to our society in so many ways.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..My Escape from Hotel HellMy Profile

  2. I’m probably one of the few personal finance bloggers who think your interest rate should be the sole dictator of whether you should pay off debt aggressively or pay the minimum payment. If the interest rate is close to or below inflation, there is zero incentive for you to pay it off faster. With that being said, I do recognize there is a psychological aspect that (I imagine) feels pretty good when you have no debt.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Finances in the New YearMy Profile

    • That is a point well made. I felt the same way when I was younger. It would have been smart to invest and save while paying the loans pack slowly, but I used that as having money to buy things and it got out of control and turned into debt. When you are about to turn 39 and still owe $30K in student loans, it’s time to pay it off. I think you’re smarter than that, though.

    • I completely agree DC. You should invest your money before paying off your mortgage. Historically you will receive more returns by investing even just in stocks than you will paying off your mortgage.
      Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Should You Consolidate Credit Card Debt?My Profile

      • I agree with the philosophy, but as I get older and want to work less, it will be nice to have no mortgage to worry about. If I didn’t have a good chunk already in retirement, I might think differently. After watching my inlaws go through foreclosure, there is no way I’d go into my 60’s or maybe even 50’s with mortgage debt, but just my opinion, of course.

  3. Good post Kim! I think this debt movement is a great idea and I’ve bee reading about it elsewhere. I think “good debt” is somewhat of a misnomer. I get the point, however I agree that we’ve become way too comfortable with the idea of debt in our society. I know that our government has done a great job of displaying financial prudence to us (Sarcasm dripping ? ) Thankfully the only debt we have is our mortgage and consumer debt is long behind us.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Even More Blogging Tips From a BeginnerMy Profile

  4. Jamie Dickinson @ YourSavingAngels

    Great points, especially about buying things you don’t need immediately. Good debt is great, it allows us to lead richer lives, but it’s important to keep things in perspective and not get carried away
    Jamie Dickinson @ YourSavingAngels recently posted..2013 Resolutions: The Good & the BadMy Profile

    • Yes, I completely agree. I’d buy a house and go to school all over again, but I would concentrate on paying it off before taking on new debts.

  5. Great post! I’ve helped hundreds of people clean up their credit reports. Trust me, its hard to accept the idea of “good debt” when the weight of ALL debt is pushing down on you.
    Terah@TheCreditReportChick.com recently posted..Ask The Credit Report Chick: Too Late to Stop Delinquencies?My Profile

  6. Excellent post. Every bit of debt you pay off is a little bit more weight lifted off your shoulder. The key is not only to pay it off, but develop strategies where you don’t take new debt on in the process. Many people pay off $15,000 in debt only to add in a $25,000 car loan in the process, which defeats the purpose and then some.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Have We Lost Our Ability To Be Open Minded?My Profile

    • I’ve been down that road, and am adding no debts unless they make money, like another rental property. I think we want to get everything paid off before looking into that at this point.

  7. Debt is not a problem for me because I still max out my 403B and put money into savings. I only have a small mortgage and a car loan which I am paying off over the next 4 years before I retire (again).
    krantcents recently posted..There Is Always Something!My Profile

  8. That debt movement is awesome. I do think there is good debt but one shouldn’t have student loans 15 years after graduating or a 50 years mortgage. I changed my plan from minimum payments to paying $25K over minimum this year and it feels really great.
    Pauline recently posted..13 money resolutions for 2013: #6 crush your debt!My Profile

    • I was on a ten year student loan repayment plan that started around $600 a month, which I could have afforded. What did I do? I consolidated at a 25 year term to get a lower rate and instead of continuing with the $600 payment, I did the minimum and got into more debt. Now 13 years out of school, I still owe about $30K in loans. Not for long, but that’s the danger of the low interest long term loan.

  9. I don’t think your point about things offered at 0% aren’t necessities. Appliance stores frequently have 0% promotions. Sure, if you have a working refrigerator, then you probably don’t need a new one. But if your old one dies? That 0% will be mighty handy.

    Once we move, we are probably going to buy a new washer. The house we will be renting has a hookup, but no washer. The money a new washing machine would cost could be recovered in a year of not having to the laundromat.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..3 Ways to Save Money When MovingMy Profile

    • I think my point that maybe got lost somewhere is that once you get one, you often get another, and another because you can afford the payments. I think at one point we had a new fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and furniture all on 0% offers. Instead of paying it off, we spend more on stupid stuff we didn’t need because we thought we had cash available after payments were made. Then you get hit will all the interest. I think if you do it right, it’s OK, but don’t get carried away. In our case, it was like an addiction. Sort of the I’ll just have one and then you eat the whole thing. That’s the only way I can explain it.

      • That’s a fair point. For me however, I’ve always been a tightwad when it comes to larger purchases. I’m not as good as I should be at controlling my spending on items <$20, but when sticker prices hit three digits, you better believe I'm only going to buy it if I can be convinced that I can't live without it and that this particular one is the cheapest one that fits my needs.
        Edward Antrobus recently posted..DirecTV Saga: Part IIMy Profile

  10. I’ve also been reading about the debt movement and I think people should get involved as a challenge to motivate themselves to take control of financial health. Sure a budget is an important step but if someone isn’t going to follow through then it means nothing. We don’t have any debt really just the mortgage which we plan to pay in full this year. Our focus will be on the retirement movement lol… Cheers mate.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on SavingMy Profile

  11. We are all about paying off our debt. All we have left is our mortgage and we are planning on paying off $17k this year. We are going to do it by sticking to our budget and making sure to keep our expenses low. So far, so good ?
    Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet recently posted..Get Paid to Lose WeightMy Profile

  12. “0% is not the same as cash!”

    I may have to steal that. That’s a good one!
    mbhunter recently posted..Blowing Quicken a little KISSMy Profile

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