Among those who owe, many are willing to give up a great deal to become debt free. But, as a recent study from Freedom Debt Relief shows, there are limits to what people are willing to forego to try to break free from their creditors for good.
What Are Americans Willing to Give Up?
Based on a survey of 2,000 indebted Americans, the majority of Americans were willing to give up two of life’s big luxuries to become debt-free: vacations and going out to eat.
Just over one in five Americans said they’d forego a vacation for a full decade to be cleared of their debt, while 22 percent said they’d happily give up restaurant meals if they could only be debt-free.
Interestingly, Americans were more willing to give up these personal indulgences than to forego participation in our democracy. Just 13 percent of Americans said they’d give up the right to vote if doing so could make their debt disappear.
The Things We Won’t Give Up To Be Debt Free
While vacations and dining out were on the chopping block for more than 20 percent of Americans, far fewer people were willing to give up their technologies. Just five percent of survey respondents said they’d be willing to give up the Internet, and six percent said they’d let their phone go if doing so meant saying goodbye to creditors forever.
As important as these tech tools are, it was actually the
freedom to ride that the least number of Americans were willing to give up.
Only three percent of all survey respondents said they’d give up their driver’s
license – which makes sense, because having no license would make getting to
work very hard.
You Don’t Have to Give Up Your Luxuries to Be Debt Free
The good news is, you can keep your phone, your license, and
your voting rights and still become debt free – you just need to make a plan to
pay down debt.
Most Americans are doing that already, with 46 percent of survey respondents indicating they’d use their tax refund to pay off their debt. Putting your big refund towards your bills can get you significantly closer to becoming debt-free.
Other steps you can take include:
Making a budget that prioritizes debt repayment
Debt consolidation and refinancing to reduce your interest rate so more of your payments go to reduce the principal and you can become debt-free faster
Putting windfalls, such as bonuses and raises, towards debt repayment
By taking these steps, you can hopefully get your debt paid
down while still enjoying a vacation and a meal out every once in a while.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy is an experienced personal finance and legal writer who has been writing full time since 2008. She earned her JD at UCLA and graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in media and communications.