What they won’t tell you about paying off debt

Published on Apr 19 2012 // Written By // Debt

If you’ve been focused on paying off your debt, or perhaps saving for a big life event such as a wedding or buying a house, you may reach a point where you’ve just had enough. This is what they won’t tell you when it comes to paying off debt: sometimes it’s okay to take a break from finances.

It’s like being on a diet where you constantly focus on everything you can’t eat—the deprivation will eventually lead you to go crazy and splurge. When you start to feel the financial pressure of paying off debts and get to the point where you just can’t take it anymore, perhaps it’s best to take a step back.

You will be judged

In this economy, it can be seen as the hip thing to do to be frugal. Paying off debt and becoming debt free is the newest fad—and one that we hope will stick for generations to come. However, reading stories about how people got rid of all their debt and the way they make it sound so easy can be disheartening for someone who is just starting out.

Some people may judge you for making certain purchases they deem superfluous. Perhaps you may think you’re doing the best you can with the resources you have, while they ask you, “Do you really need (insert expensive item here)?” Maybe they worked three jobs to help pay off their debt faster, and they snicker at your luxury of having weekends off. Every dining out purchase is questioned mercilessly.

You can never pay off debt fast enough

After paying off more than $10,000 in credit cards and car loan debt, I finally felt like I hit a roadblock. I had paid off practically a third of our total debt, but we still have 2/3rds to go. It can almost feel overwhelming, thinking of such a huge number and wondering how we will ever get it all paid off.

Student loans especially can be that lingering debt where the payments are small enough that you can comfortably live with them. It’s easy to justify keeping the debt. The truth is—you can never pay off debt fast enough. There are other things that need our income now, and while we try to make debt payments a priority, it just isn’t always the case.

We will never be able to pay off debt as quickly as I would like, but it’s a slow and steady process and we will get there eventually.

It’s okay to treat yourself

Paying off debt and becoming debt free is a great goal to strive for, but it’s important to let yourself live a little too. Don’t forgo all your fun simply for the title of being debt free.

If there’s a concert you’re dying to go to, or if you really want to go on vacation for your wedding anniversary, budget for it! No matter how much debt you’re in, if you’re at least making a concentrated effort to pay off debt, it’s okay to splurge a little every now and then! Life’s worth it.

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About

Erika blogs at Newlyweds on a Budget, covering topics relevant to managing finances for newlyweds and young couples. She focuses on frugal living and trying to live a big life on a small budget.

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