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A Debt and Stress Free Life

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Debt Free Life Debt Habit Stress Illness

There is no guarantee that leading a debt free life will eliminate stress completely. But a life without debt should bring benefits in terms of reduced stress and a better lifestyle.

Living a Debt Free Life

How easy is it to fall into debt? Try asking the two million people in the UK who owe more than £10,000 each on credit cards. Or look at the fact that one person in the UK is declared insolvent or is made bankrupt every minute. Unsurprisingly there are no figures on how many people in the UK are debt free. There is no miracle to becoming debt free; it takes time and willpower. But once the debt free status has been obtained the sense of achievement is usually enough to stop people slipping back into debt.

Illness and Stress Related to Debts

Debt is no joke and medical complaints arising from debt problems include mental illnesses such as depression. A recent survey by Mind, the mental health charity, found that 91% of people with financial problems had increased levels of mental illness. Other debt related medical complaints include anxiety, migraines and muscle pain. The knock on effect of debt related illness is absenteeism from work, which can lead to even more stress. This is a vicious debt related stress circle that once trapped in is hard to break free from.

Debt Free or a Lifetime of Debt

Imagine a life without debt collectors or without credit card statements appearing in the post every month. A life where a monthly salary is completely debt free and a slice of it isn’t falling into the hands of lenders. This isn’t a dream and many people have achieved it. Becoming debt free can take years to achieve. But weigh these few years of effort up against an entire lifetime of paying lenders and the choice is obvious. Many people will live a life trapped in debt but there is an alternative to a debt laden existence.

Kicking the Debt Habit

Becoming debt free means kicking the debt habit. For most people debt is a way of life, and there are of course some unavoidable debts such as mortgages and car payments. But debts such as credit cards and loans are designed to make money for the lender by supplying credit, at a price. Credit card interest is wasted money and the only way to stop wasting money is to stop feeding the debt dealers. Paying by cash or debit card instead of credit cards is a small step towards becoming debt free.

The Road to Beginning a Debt Free Life

There are a few steps that are required on the road to a debt free life. These are tried and tested methods; following and sticking to this can mean becoming debt free in the shortest time. Steps to follow include:

  • Obtain a copy of your credit report to find out exactly what is owed and to whom
  • Assess income and expenditure and look at exactly how much can be paid towards debt clearance
  • Arrange debts into priority; highest interest debt to be paid first
  • Look at ways to free up money such as equity on property to clear higher interest debts quickly
  • Bring in extra income with more work and use the extra to pay debts only
  • Come to arrangements with creditors to freeze interest and make lower payments
  • Cut up all credit cards to eliminate the temptation of using them
  • Seek advice from organisations such as the Citizens Advice on arrangements with creditors

The Benefits of Leading a Debt Free Life

For people in serious debt the thought of leading a debt free life can seem impossible. But many people have come through the mire of a debt laden existence within a few years. Most people who have known the stress that comes with serious debt are loath to return to that sort of life. Debt related stress can be reduced as soon as the debtor seeks help and a debt payment plan is put into action. The simple action of seeking help from debt advice organisations such as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) can see stress levels immediately reduced.

People who are debt free have one less thing to worry about in their lives. People who have made the move to becoming debt free will eventually find it quite easy to resist the debt temptation. Budgeting is a lot easier without debt payments, and saving money for purchases will become second nature. Becoming debt free is a lifestyle choice, and it is a choice that can be made immediately to change the debtor’s life for the better.

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