14 Reasons To Be Debt-Free Forever

  1. You can stop banging your head against the wall for having racked up debt. It’s gone.  It’s impossible to describe how good it feels to owe nobody nuthin’. And imagine all the money you’ll save on Advil.
  2. You can quit your second, third and fourth jobs. Man, won’t it be great to sleep in on Saturday morning?
  3. You can breath. Having had the weight of that debt lifted off your chest, you can breath. It feels soooo gooood.
  4. You can live in the present, satisfying today’s needs and wants instead of paying for the past. Yah, you can have that latte with feeling like a total dick-wad because the money should be going to pay off your debt.
  5. You can brag to your kids and use your experiences to teach them about money so they don’t go into baaad debt. Hey, use your experience for good. And toot your own horn.
  6. You don’t have to worry about late fees and interest costs, where interest rates are going, and how the credit scoring system is jerking people around. You’re in the clear. They can all go to hell.
  7. You get to earn interest instead of paying interest. It may not be much, but it beats the pants of paying!
  8. You no longer have to dread going to the mailbox or answering your telephone.
  9. You can afford to save for your children’s education, your own retirement, and anything you want to buy. The future looks good.
  10. You can become the financial guru of your gang. Go ahead and try it. It feels fabulous to inspire and encourage family and friends to take control of their money and their lives.
  11. You can give. Y’know, there are only three things you can do with money: spend, save and give. You already know how good it feels to spend, that’s how you got into debt in the first place. And it’s a great feeling watching your money grow. Giving comes with it’s own rush.
  12. You can set goals and start working towards them? Want to own a home? Have a family? Go back to school? You can do it with a plan and the money you’re no longer spending on debt repayment.
  13. You can blow a raspberry at every credit app that comes through the door and every telemarketer who offers to lower your interest rate.
  14. You can write a success blog for me and tell everyone how you did it, shining a light on the path out of Debt Hell.

47 Responses to “14 Reasons To Be Debt-Free Forever”

  1. Excellent post Gail!
    I agree, being debt free feels really good, we have been debt free for four years now. I do not know if we just got in the habit of thrift, or just moved away from consumerism, but we kept the habit of budgeting and being conservative with our money. To quote fight club: “the stuff you own ends up owning you.” We still shop second hand, and our cars are modest (a better word for old), and we live below our means. There is truly a freedom that comes with being frugal, and it is more fun when you are doing it by choice.

  2. I’m a #10, financial guru for family and friends. They even bring their statements to me to go over and explain to them. We’re not debt free but we have a solid, working plan in progress and will be debt free in January.

    Hubby’s favorite part was at his old, totally awful job. Management would put out the call for mandatory overtime and the senior guys would take it because “they needed the money”. Hubby just walked out the door and came home to relax.

  3. #6 – no worries about interest costs and where interest rates are going. For the first time in my life, on the weekend I bought a new car and paid for it in full by certified cheque. The cash was in the bank. No interest payments to a bank or car financing company. I feel great! It can be done.

    Thanks Gail!

  4. Lynne – could be a combination of both. I’m not super frugal, just don’t buy into consumerism anymore. But I also stick to the budget, and have automatic withdrawals from my chequing account to various savings accounts with another bank. It’s amazing what that does – forces you to stay on your budget and live on the money left in the chequing account.

    Amelia – what a great feeling for your husband and a benefit for you and your family. Now that is FREEDOM!

  5. We revelled in #2 when we were in a much better financial picture… being able to quite our p/t jobs was THE BEST feeling!! Getting up early on a Saturday to do a gym workout is WAY more appealing than having to get out of bed to go work at a p/t job I was no longer enjoying.

  6. We don’t owe a red cent to nooooobody,…

    It feels so good.

  7. my LOL moment of the day-the use of the word ‘dick-wad’ awesome Gail, just awesome.

    BTW, love the new Till Debt episodes on monday nights! when do the ‘baby’ ones start?

  8. We will not be debt free but I will be free of consumer debt and student loans before I go on maternity leave this winter. I mention that to a friend of mine and her response was to ask if I had won the lottery or something to be able to do that! I was taken by surprise by that and tried to explain to her how I have been agressively paying off those debts so I will not have to worry about them when I have a reduced income. It has been very difficult convincing people that all it takes is careful budgeting, as Gail loves to point out, you must track EVERYTHING! It really is that simple. If you write it all down and only take out X amount of cash well, once the cash runs out you can’t spend anymore, and if you find it too hard to keep your paws off the plastic, then leave the cards at home, I did that with my credit cards when I first started budgeting and saw some of the bad habits I had developed. You can’t use them if they aren’t with you!

  9. I call being debt-free my “love my job” protection. So many people stay in work they hate because they have no other choice. Not having debt gives me enough flexibility that I can always change jobs if I have to without sweating it too much.

  10. I think the best part of being debt free is that you have options. You get to make the decision rather than having it chosen for you.

    The options of :
    – working an extra job
    – staying home with a family
    – being one income family
    – leaving the job you hate
    – spend more time with your friends/family
    – spend your money on what matters to you and not debt obligations
    – Being able to weather life’s “emergencies” better
    – Being able to quickly change your lifestyle/spending habits if all the sudden your income drops.

    Those all fall under options.

  11. Paid off the mortgage in April. That money is being auto deposited into a savings account now and I’m being a bit more relaxed about spending the remainder. Practically, that comes down to eating more sushi 🙂

    One more fun thing is when talking to banks regarding investments. Inevitably they calculate your net worth and say “And of course, your mortgage is?” And it surprises them when a 33 year old says that it’s paid off.

  12. avatar mkpower Says:
    July 19, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I am printing this out and puting it on my fridge! We are working towards being debt free but have a long road ahead. I may also put it on the bathroom, bedroom, office wall! 🙂

  13. #1. It truly is an amazing feeling knowing you’ve paid everything off. It wasn’t easy, but it is so worth it. The best part, for me, is knowing I can now save for the future wants and needs. Now we’re working on the forever part. Good luck everyone, and Gail, thank you for your straight talking inspiration and motivation.

  14. An excellent list – given all the positives of being debt-free you’d wonder why so many people continue to spend more than they have and get into dire situations. Why don’t they listen to Gail and TDDUP?!! I’ve had lots of those calls from telemarketers offering lower interest rates. I make it very clear to them that I find it insulting that they would think that I had any debt and I demand to know who would have given them such information. They sometimes apologize for calling or they hang up. Either way it’s a quick conversation.

  15. avatar Velda D. Says:
    July 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Being totally debt free, has and will allow me to do for my children what I did not do for them. I can buy them what I know they would like, but because of house payments and the expense of raising children they have to cut corners.
    I stress to them to be debt free and not do what I did, when I look back I can rarely remember what I bought, or where the money went. But I do remember what a waste it all was.
    Now I can send them on a trip or buy them a new barbecue and pay cash. I just recently paid for a grandsons first year of college. That felt so good, almost as good as buying new shoes ! I said almost !
    Also I give , and it feels great to be able to help others.

    It does take time to change your habits, but regardless of age it can be done.
    I am 72 and the best is yet to come

  16. avatar financiallyfreeinbc Says:
    July 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Now that we only owe the mortgage and have saved 1/2 the amount we owed this time last year, we are definitely happy to have money in the bank. We have bought a bbq, put a new transmission in a truck given to us, insured 2 vehicles (and will insure one more), bought deperately needed new dishes and not so desperately needed good cutlery, we have plans for a new water system in the house all with cash and will still have some money in the bank in general savings!

  17. Whoever said being debt free means having more options hit it on the head for me. That’s the key! There are all sorts of reasons why having no debt and some money set aside is awesome, but the most important is that you get the decide just HOW awesome it is. You can control your life, instead of your debt controlling your life.

  18. May 2013. That’s my DFF goal! The consolidation loan that started at $50,300 in August 2008 is down to $20,100. Less than two years to go. Goodbye second and third jobs. Goodbye interest payments. Goodbye putting off things I want to do that will bring joy and fulfillment today because $1000 a month is going towards erasing mistakes of the past. Can’t wait to make that last payment. I have learned a lot along the way, but I sure will be glad to end this particular life lesson.

  19. Reason #15: Smaller EF needed!
    If you have less financial obligations, the EF is smaller. If you used to spend 15% of your income towards debt repayments, six months’ worth of debt repayment represents 90% of one month’s paycheck!

    Debt-free is great. My transportation needs are changing but I enjoy the zero-car-payment lifestyle. It is making search for alternatives for which I would pay cash. The solution is not there yet, but I am still looking!

  20. Paying off my student loan (our only debt besides our mortgage) was the best feeling.

    Now those student loan payments go towards our mortgage, RRSPS and yearly vacation fund account!

  21. My husband and I talk alot about the things we will buy with that first “debt-free”month’s worth of debt repayment. He wants laser eye surgery (knowing the rest will need to be saved up). Just thinking that we wouldn’t have to buy glasses for him is exciting. Mine alone cost hundreds of dollars every two years. I’m thinking of an electric scooter though. It would save on gas money to work and be alot of fun.
    We are 17 months away from our goal. January 1st, 2013 we will celebrate not owing anyone anything (except the mortgage).
    Being in debt means you have to make compromises. I’m not really good at that but I try! I entertain myself by giving away the stuff we accumulated over the years that we really don’t need or by selling it. I’m also realizing, like Lynne, that my consumerism has to stop, has mostly stopped, and helped me get into debt in the first place.

  22. I am FINALLY getting it (I’m a late bloomer). The seriousness of the situation is such that I’ve given my debit & credit card to a friend who will not part with them unless I am – literally – in a life or death situation. I took money from a savings account to pay off the credit card in full and part of my LOC (taking into account the interest I wasn’t earning vs the interest I was paying – CC interest has just jumped 2%!) and every time my LOC drops $1000, I’m calling my bank and lowering the ceiling on it, so the money simply isn’t there to spend. I haven’t adjusted my savings yet, but look very much forward to the day when I can push them up a bit.

    I’ve also taken on a temporary, higher position at work, which should bring in about $500 extra. Not a huge amount, but it will definitely help a little bit.

    My only problem now (and I mentioned this to my CC handler) is how I’m feeling emotionally. I’m SO unhappy right now. Without access to “insta-cash” to buy stuff I’m at a bit of a loss of what to do. It sounds silly and I know it will absolutely pass, but it is showing me a frightening reality about my emotional attachment to things I own, instead of things I do, things I love, etc. I’m currently finding that articles about voluntary simplicity are popping up all around me, as are the myriad of reasons to stop eating meat. Everything is connected and this is my opportunity to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and just go with it. It’s a real slap-in-the-face wake up call, but at least I’ve become self-aware enough to understand the process and to (mostly!) accept it as a learning, growing and valuable experience.

    Putting it on here will also make me more accountable! 🙂

    Wish me luck!

  23. What a great post – you must be reading my mind now! I came here looking for support because I feel that I have gotten off budget. My husband’s work is mostly in the summer months so it feels as though we are doing great – the problem is I need to put money aside for the winter months when his income drops considerably. We have kept up our payment plan but I am not doing so well with setting aside for the winter. Today’s blog was just what I needed to stay focused!! Have some catching up to do but now I am motivated again. Thank you Gail! 11 months down, 61 to go…

  24. oops that’s 11 months down, 51 to go!! WOHOO

  25. Lol … you just don’t hear “dick wad” as much these days. Pity really, I love that word, it’s just so effective sometimes!

  26. avatar Brianne Says:
    July 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Great timing on your post Gail…as always!
    My husband just found out that he has to get his wisdom teeth out…yikes! And they are taking up most of the money that we have worked hard to save while paying off the debt and I am currently finishing up my maternity leave.
    The best part about it is that because we have saved money, I have worked out that we will pay 80% of it in cash. The other 20% will have to be put on our LoC which is a bummer but okay with me because we have worked out away to pay that 20% off within a month or two…depending upon the job I get. The thing is, is that we just paid a credit card off in full and have the availability to use it but it me made absolutely sick to my stomach to think of using it and then not being able to pay off again it right away.
    Although it is not a DFF moment, it is a step in the right direction and I know that a year ago, we would not have been able to pay any of it in cash and I would not have thought anything about charging it!

  27. July 2013: mortgage-free and 2 car loans paid off. That will be a feeling of freedom. DH’s Rrsp’s will be almost maxed, EF will be very healthy, and long-awaited home Reno will begin! We’ll have 1 year before eldest starts post-secondary, but a healthy savings will already be waiting for her.
    Debt-free will feel nice, but seeing our dreams fulfilled will feel awesome, like there’s nothing we can’t do!

  28. avatar kandfamily Says:
    July 19, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Just a few weeks from having our truck paid out in full. Then to attack the credit line (big). I’m hoping the high from the truck will pump us up to stay on track for the LOC.

  29. September 1st will be my DFF day (I still have a mortgage). When I pay off my mortgage that will be my DFFSM (sans mortgage) day. The really really good news is that I still have my job! for now – – knock on wood.

    My next steps are to beef up my emergency fund (aggressively) and increase my RRSP contributions (read your Never Too Late book). It will be hard to do both at the same time, but I do need a cushion now and plan to have an even cushier cushion at retirement.

    I like the idea of #7 earning interest instead of paying it all the time and I’ve been doing #13 for a while now. I scoff at all credit card applications and telemarketers do not even get a hello after that brief silence – – click!

  30. “Dick-wad”…. Gail, you are always so eloquent! Just one of the many things I love about you & your no BS approach to life!! You’re awesome! 🙂 Great post!

  31. I am on my way to being completely debt free and I can’t wait for it. These are all great reasons to be out of debt and I look forward to all of them. I can’t wait to get a TRULY good night sleep when I make that last and final payment. Hopefully this day will come sooner with the extra work I have been putting in and with the help of “Debt Free Forever”. I have managed to put a nice dent in my debt over the last 6 months and cut it down pretty nicely. I didn’t even realize how well I did till I had a look at some of my past statements. Pat myself on the back and go back to work and look forward to the next 6 months of declining numbers of debt and the growing numbers in my savings. Thanks Gail! You are so awesome!

  32. Really? Bravo for all of you that are debt free, you like the top 1% wealthy are in a very small group of people.

    Bravo for you!

    The rest of us DICKWADS are just gonna have to inherit, steal or win in order to get Debt Free.

    Bully for you!

  33. @Annie – good work on tackling that debt. For the next step, spend a little time thinking of free things you can do to fill the time formerly spent in stores. Walks in the park, gallery openings (with free wine!), lectures, getting books and movies from the public library, and there are lots of activities listed in local papers. Have friends over for coffee/tea , esp. your CC handler, instead of going out for the five-buck fancy coffee. If you are still feeling the lure of Things, you can always hold a clothing/toy/household items swap.

  34. i watched an episode of TDDUP where Gail actually made a husband say, “I am a dick-wad.” Brilliant!

  35. @Me – Just follow Gail’s plan. No begging, stealing, or inheritance required. Get on the plan and stick with it. It WORKS. We’re on a limited income and it’s working for us! Nope, not even CLOSE to the top 1%, we live below the country’s (and our province’s) median income, a single income and a family of four. Forget the bozos who tell you only the rich and famous can live without debt. That’s the lie the people who profit most from debt (credit card companies, for example) have perpetuated.

    You know what I’ve loved about this getting out of debt thing? It’s taught me to not value STUFF so much, and it’s taught us how to have a good time as a family without spending loads. We’ve cut cable, stopped eating out (except on our anniversary and a couple other times a year), we’ve sold LOADS of stuff (all put towards the debt)…and we’re HAPPIER. We’re not duped by the consumerist mentality that says you have to have the latest and greatest stuff to make you happy. The pressure’s off! We know how much money we have in the bank and that it’s not all going to creditors anymore. We know when stuff is going out and we have backup plans for when Murphy’s Law strikes (and oh did it strike this month! Still. On. Budget. TAKE THAT, MURPHY!!)

    You’re right, Gail. It takes a load off!

  36. #13 is my favourite…. I raspberry and laugh at the morons that send me the credit card apps, the “lower your interest” offers, etc. I just LOVE telling them that I don’t want it, I don’t need it and they can stuff it! They always sound so shocked that I would turn it down HAHAHAHAHA

  37. @creativeme, I was so happy when one credit card company walked right into my financial freedom proselytizing when he suggested “this card could be used as a backup for emergencies” #ASKEDFORIT

  38. Ok, after being very close to paying off my mortgage, I think jumping head first into another one so we can use that property to pay for itself with rental income as a good idea…. although it is “debt”…

  39. avatar Mickmack Says:
    July 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I am so happy for those of you who have reached DFF already, am inspired by those of you that have specific date for it (great goal setting) and laughed when I read DFFSM (debt free forever sans mortgage, love it). This year I have a monetary goal in mind, but I have not calculated my DFF date. I should do that.

    @ME – I am sorry you are bitter – I don’t think many of us are bringing in stratosphere incomes on this board to enable us to be debt free, indeed many in the stratosphere are just as much in debt (or more) than anyone else. We were all dickwads in the past. We all carried debt. I embrace my dickwaddedness. No looking back on those days though, no feeling sorry for myself, or thinking that I am not worthy (or capable) or being debt free. We can *all* do it. Come join us on the journey.

  40. avatar Charles Says:
    July 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I am a retired guy .I live alone I was a single parent ,Raised 3 kids on my own 3.. 6.. 8 years old. That was 34 years ago,Wife took off with another man..No child support ..Broke, Lucky I was an entreprenure type. I started a Biz .I know what hard times and being frugal are,.(Do i ever)..Anyway ,Stay away from restuarants,,Cook at home..Hang your laundry out to dry.(Find a way)..Learn Games .i.e Simon said.Etc . Your kids will appreciate that more than expensive gifts..And they will remember it all their lives..Anyway I sold the Biz” Hey you cant sell your Job .(Start a Biz) I bought myself a lovely one bedroom condo on the lake in Toronto..Paid Cash ..It is amazing how little you need to live when you have your accomadition/ car . Paid in full (be it ever so humble) IT’S YOURS..

  41. SO INSPIRED by all you DFF folks! Thanks for sharing. We’re on our way, too! December 2012 is our date. Like Gail says, if you don’t set a date it’s just a dream not a goal! I’m more determined than ever to reach our goal! We’re going on a family vacation this summer that will be paid for BEFORE we go (for the 1st time). I know that I should be putting this $$ towards debt but also need a life. Compromising is such a big part of this process. Best of luck to all of you on your journey!

  42. @KB – I so agree with you ” I know that I should be putting this $$ towards debt but also need a life.”

  43. […] 14 Reasons to be Debt-Free Forever – Gail Vaz-Oxlade […]

  44. […] afterward, but some people just have trouble getting along with others. There’s help, however.14 Reasons to Be Debt-Free Forever [Gail Vaz-Oxlade] There are tons of reasons to avoid being in debt, but if you need a few more, […]

  45. Great post here! Just found the site and I love the content. Although I already do have a pretty “debt free” bias going! 🙂


  46. My income is $12K (provincial disability benefits) and my debt load is 10 times that amount due to losing a job 8 years ago. No, I don’t have to steal or beg, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever inherit anything (I’ve urged my parents to spend their money on themselves while they’re alive — they earned it, they should enjoy it. I’d just feel guilty if I got money from them after they die.). I LOVE all those low-interest credit card applications. I move my debt around to reduce interest payments as often as I can. I check my my credit rating at least once a year to see how I’m doing — every card paid off or balance transferred to a cheaper card is a joy. I use food banks, drop-in centres for free meals/laundry/clothes, freecycling, and curbside shopping to keep my expenses to a minimum. My home is the “Swap Shop” of unwanted goods my friends drop off and pick from. I use/sell/give away whatever’s left. I’ve read all of Gail’s books (I’ve never had a TV) and share her values. I paid off my mortgage with a line of credit (the latter was cheaper), but now that the reverse is true, and I have barely reduced the principal of the LOC since I got it, I’m shopping for a mortgage for my home. I’ve qualified for CMHC funding to make my home more energy-efficient, and when the renos are all done, I plan to sell my home and move to a cheaper place out of town. I work from home (when I can get paid work at all) and rent a room out to a tenant, but my biggest source of help is my bank. Debts generate income for the credit issuer, so I treat my debt as something I’m “selling” to the highest bidder. Whoever gives me the best deal on my debt gets my business.

  47. I was a single father of two children girl 4 boy 10..No support .Lost my home .ETC.I was so DOWN I had nowhere else to look but UP..That was 32 years ago ..Today both kids are married ..I am still a single man..But i started a business and put holidays ,Everything on hold..Now all these years later ..I am sitting in my lovely Condo on lake Ontario All paid for..I have some money coming in from the biz, Which i retired from 5 years ago..There is no feeling like the feeling of being DEBT FREE..And owning your ROOF No mortgage..But i have to say..Number one is Health .Take care of it..I have no debt and perfect health..I feel like the most blessed man on earth..

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