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Five More Reasons to Become Debt Free

freedom from debt

Everyone knows that paying off debt is a great way to build wealth and ensure that setbacks and emergencies won’t send you into a downward money spiral. For that reason alone, kicking debt to the curb is always a great idea. Since paying of consumer debt a few years ago, I’ve also discovered some new reasons to become debt free.

Great Career Opportunities

When we were working to pay off our credit cards, there was no way on earth Jim or I could have thought about changing jobs. We were too dependent on our paychecks to seek out or take advantage of other opportunities. In fact, I really didn’t see lots of opportunity other than one foot in front of the other. I’m not sure if they weren’t there or if I didn’t have the flexibility to see them, but I know changing jobs was not an option during that period of life.

Now that we don’t have consumer debt, it seems that job offers are pouring from the rafters. Besides my full time offer from the government, Jim was asked to take on a new management position a few weeks ago. While we most likely won’t accept either of these jobs, you never know when the perfect position might present itself. We aren’t looking for a change, but it’s still nice to have options.

If one of us did want to quit our day jobs and work from home or go back to school, we could, even if it meant less money. There was no way we could have afforded a pay cut when we had debt.

More Power to Bargain

Have you ever made a major purchase without financing? We didn’t until we paid off debt. Since then we’ve been able to bargain and negotiate on a variety of things from professional services to a new to us car. Yes, people do look at you funny when you go to a car dealership and tell them you are paying in cash, but once sales people get used to the idea, everyone realizes that normal rules don’t apply.

I’ve had especially good luck bargaining with laborers and tradespeople. If you can pay with cash or a check instead of a credit card, most of them will cut you a discount. I also saved about $100 on used appliances for our rental properties for not using credit. I love reward points as much as the next person, but if it saves money, I can pull out the checkbook.

Credit Card Churning

Speaking of reward points, paying off debt opened a new chapter in our credit card story. Now, instead of paying thousands of dollars in interest to Visa and Mastercard, I let them pay for me to go on vacation.

If you have consumer debt, feel that earning travel points might make you spend more, or if you don’t trust yourself to pay the balance off in full every month, don’t ring up any new debt. If you are like us and would cut off a toe before paying interest to credit companies, then there is nothing wrong with earning  reward points on things you have to buy anyway.

Interest Rates Don’t Matter

I used to stress myself out trying to keep up with expiration dates on promotional interest rates or how many more months we had on x months same as cash.  I screwed up a few times and ended up paying tons more in interest because we didn’t read the fine print on offers that sounded great but were actually too good to be true.

When you pay everything off in full each month, it doesn’t matter if your interest rate is 0% or 29.99%. I love looking at credit card statements now because in the little box that says interest paid for 2015, ours all say zero. If  you want to get out of the balance transfer, zero interest, promotional period trap, then pay off debt. You’ll never have to worry because interest rates don’t matter.

You Won’t Feel Embarrassed Over Debt

Even though most people had no idea how much debt we racked up, I still felt embarrassed. Owing $30,000 on credit cards was shameful. I know it seems that some people don’t care how much debt they have, but I think deep down, owing money does play with your emotional state of mind.

While we were on vacation last month, I had three calls from a collection company that was trying to locate one of my family members. I can’t imagine how humiliating it must be to have credit recovery phoning your relatives. We never had an account go into collections, but one misstep could have landed us there.  I’m not sure I could face my family if they had to field calls as to my whereabouts, knowing I was delinquent on my debt responsibilities.

Why Not Get Out of Debt?

There are so many good reasons to become debt free. Yes, it’s hard and it takes some sacrifice, but the rewards are so much greater on the other side. Getting started is often the hardest part. Take some time to seriously look at your debt and what it is consuming in monetary and emotional costs.

If you’re at a loss, start by tracking your spending, either on paper or with Mint or Personal Capital. Cut back what you can and stop adding new debt. Often accomplishing that first step can catapult you into a serious debt payoff plan. I bet you’ll find your own list of reasons why paying off debt is such a good idea.

Have you ever had to fight off a collection agency? Have you ever gotten a better deal for paying in cash?

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 completely agree with point #1 – Debt can unfortunately lead to missed opportunities. Imagine you have a great opportunity to start a business but you aren’t able to take the shot because you don’t have the funds/have too much debt. These are the sorts of things that can have long-term effects on you overall wealth so getting rid of debt can open up so many more new opportunities.

  2. All great reasons Kim! I remember fighting with collection agencies – I hated it. It sucked not knowing when I could answer the phone out of fear it was another agency wanting their money. That being said, I love the freedom being debt free brings. You have so many more options to consider because you’re not enslaved to someone else.

  3. Thankfully no! But my brother has and they have called me trying to find him. I think the worst has to be interest. It literally feels like setting fire to money when you pay interest. And who would do that? 🙂

    • When I answered that call from the debt company, I wasn’t sure whether to act like I didn’t know the person or help find them. I finally said I would pass along their message. Not a comfortable position.

  4. I do think you have more leverage when you are paying in cash or do not “need” to take out debt to finance something. While I did take out a car loan for my recent “new used” car, I was able to get approved for a loan with a super low interest rate that did not have to be tied to the car. When I purchased my car from a dealership it was nice being able to say “no I don’t need financing.” They seem surprised when this is the case, even if it was from another loan and not from them. I think sellers have a lot of leverage when they know you need a loan from them.

    • When you are taking a car loan from a dealer, they focus much more on how much you want your payment to be and buyers can get sucked up in this and not think of the total asking price. When you are paying outright, the bottom line is the important thing and it’s easy to get them to shave off a couple of thousand if you play hard ball.

  5. It’s amazing how different life is when you’re debt-free. And I do think you both receive more possibilities and are open to possibilities because now you do have options and less stress. To me, that is one of the greatest rewards of being debt-free – to have the freedom to choose how I want to use money. And what frustrates me is that so many people go into debt because they think their credit card gives them freedom. It’s a short-term illusion. And yes, we get strange looks when we tell car salesmen that we will pay in cash but it definitely helps with negotiation!

  6. Being debt free is one of the greatest situations I could ever be in. Once I had a life of this, it makes me more determined not to be in debt again. And, I have less stress to deal with and it is like life is more easy to handle.

  7. I like all of these reasons. I agree with you – I never think about interest rates at all. When you’re not paying interest on anything, it doesn’t matter.

  8. One of the things people need to do is to NOT be embarrassed about debt. Coming out of that cloud of embarrassment is a liberating action that can empower people to DO something about their finances!

    • I agree somewhat. I don’t think debt should be so shameful that people are afraid to seek help, but I do think it should embarrass you if you continue to live in debt and do nothing about it. Some embarrassment is good if it causes action.

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