The Benefits of Living Debt Free
By: Alicia Harris
College is all about choices. The decisions that you make throughout your collegiate career directly impact the success of your professional and personal life once those four years fly by. One of the most important decisions that newly independent college students face is whether to swipe or not to swipe. Research shows that one in four college students leave owing more than $5,000 in debt and one in 10 students will leave with a debt of over $10,000. Don’t find yourself swimming in the sea of regret and anxiety from unpaid student loans or by using that shiny new credit card for more than you can afford. Buying a new watch or taking yourself on a “well-deserved” shopping spree may seem enticing at times. However, here are a few reasons why it’s important to avoid debt at all costs!
1. You Can Relax
If your heart drops to your chest every time you open your credit card or student loan statement, then you know the feeling of anxiety that takes over while living in debt. When your budget is tight and you’re worried about making ends meet, the last place you want your money going is to bill collectors. By paying down your debt, an immense amount of pressure falls from your shoulders as you no longer have to worry about making payments during times when you need those extra dollars the most.
2. Your Score Matters
Living debt-free raises your credit score and improves other financial health indicators such as your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). These scores may seem trivial and irrelevant after paying off debt and vowing to steer clear of all credit card companies, however, having good credit will pay off in the future. Your credit score is typically used by landlord when deciding whether or not you receive a lease. It also can lower your cell phone bills and help you avoid unnecessary deposits.
Credit cards offer the luxury of being able to walk away with a purchase the same day instead of having to wait for that refund check to kick in. Although it feels great to walk out of the store with those new expensive shoes the same day you lock eyes on them, you will never truly own them until the debt is paid. Living debt-free means that everything you own is truly yours – not the bank’s.
4. Less Debt = More Fun
That spring break trip you’ve been dying to take becomes a lot easier to fund when all of your money isn’t going straight to your debt. Paying off your debt enables you to put your money towards checking off those boxes on your bucket list and being able to save up for the things that truly matter in life.
We all know the temptation that comes with credit cards. They provide a sweet sensation and immense gratification but only momentarily. Think before you swipe and remember to keep your long-term financial goals in mind.
Alicia Harris is a blogger, motivational speaker, and social media guru. She has a passion for activism and motivating her peers to be relentless in the face of adversity. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at alicialexis.wordpress.com and follow her on Instagram @aliciaalexis