6 Powerful Reasons to Stay Out of Debt (When You Live on One Income)

If you live on one income and need some reasons to avoid debt, I have got a few to motivate you

There are lots of reasons to stay out of debt. However, when you’re facing a financial crisis and you have no other solution, it’s easy to forget or ignore those reasons.

But, believe it or not, debt is never the best solution to a financial problem because there’s always a price to pay later.

There are lots of reasons why people go into debt, but some of the most common reasons include:


  • An unplanned or unexpected expense or bill (usually medical)
  • Loss of earnings
  • Lack of emergency savings
  • Not budgeting
  • Divorce
  • Reckless and impulsive spending
  • Keeping up with the Jones
  • Financial illiteracy
  • Easy access to credit or credit cards

There are many more reasons why people fall into debt, but the ones listed above are pretty common, and a few of them like lack of emergency savings, financial illiteracy, not budgeting and bad spending habits, are the reason I fell into debt some years ago.

I am sure some of you can identify with some of those reasons or you know someone who can.

When you live on one income (especially if it’s a low income), it can be incredibly hard to survive or meet your living expenses, that’s why some families resort to using expensive credit to cover their living expenses.

The problem with this is, you’re digging an even bigger financial hole for you and your family, and you may end up servicing those debts for many years, and putting your future income and financial well-being at risk.

So if you need some reasons to avoid debt, here are five of the best reasons to keep you from falling into the debt trap (or if you’re already in debt, to get out of debt).




Let’s face it.

None of us has a clue what’s going to happen next week or one month from now. All we can do is prepare for tough times (because they always come around), and hope for the best.

And one of the best ways to prepare for lean times is to make sure we are not burdened with debt.

Because when you’re saddled with debt, even a little change in your finances can be very unsettling, or worse, become a financial crisis.

When you are a one income family and don’t have the security of a second income, debt becomes a heavy load, and will make your situation almost unbearable unless you have a large amount of money saved up.

The thing is, even if you do have a large emergency fund, your savings is going to get depleted fast once you start using it to pay for your living expenses or repaying debt.

So the best option is to have little or no debt when these lean times arrive.

Without debt, your life is going to be more manageable and you won’t feeel like you’re drowning. Having a lot of debt when you’re unemployed will leave you with few options and may even cause you to fall into more debt to survive.

So anticipate those lean times and have a plan to weather the storm until things improve.

If you’ve been ignoring your debt, it’s time to get serious about paying them off. Debt is an extra burden you don’t need especially during times of economic uncertainty.

Related: 5 No Fluff Ways to Improve Your Family’s Finances (When You Have Tried Everything)


One of the benefits of being debt free is that it reduces financial and emotional stress.

You don’t even have to be completely debt free to experience this. Just reducing your debts and financial obligations can cause you to feel lighter, happier and more positive!

When you have a lot of debt or other financial obligations that you struggle to meet, it takes a toll on your mental health and in some cases your physical health.

As a single income household, we can’t afford for anything to affect my mental or physical health, so I have to take all the necessary steps to avoid financial stress.

The dangers of debt are well documented. Debt and financial problems have ruined countless marriages, caused people to become ill, bankrupted both individuals and businesses, and the list goes on.

Debt has being so normalized in our culture that most people don’t consider how harmful excessive debt can be.

But you can’t afford to do that if you live on one income.

As someone who has worried so much and had sleepless nights as a result of financial problems, I can tell you that it isn’t fun.

Financial stress can take a terrible toll on your health and confidece, and even make you feel worthless.

So if you don’t want to live under the burden of debt, if you don’t want debt to steal your health, joy and peace of mind, you must avoid it and take steps to protect yourself from its traps.


Do you know what debt really is? It’s basically committing your future earnings to satisfy a present need or want.

The saddest part is, in some cases, you may even end up paying for something you no longer own or need. Ouch!

When you go into debt, some of your future earnings don’t really belong to you. They belong to your creditors.

You’re going to work all those long hours just to put the money in your creditor’s pocket.

Think about it. Would you rather send monthly payments to your creditors or use those checks to build your financial life?

When you think about it like this, then you can see how unappealing and dangerous debt really is. If this isn’t a reason to stay out of debt, I don’t know what is.

In essence, when you become or stay debt free, you’re protecting your future.

Something else that is often ignored when people decide to take on debt is, you’re making assumptions about your future earnings that you can’t guarantee.

What happens if you lose your job suddenly? You know what would happen? Those debts still have to be paid because you signed up for them.

Yes, some of your creditors may be nice and work with you to reduce your monthly payments or defer payments for a few months, but eventually they are going to come calling for their money.

So save yourself, your future earnings and your family’s future from financial stress by avoiding debt.

Don’t transfer your future income or wealth to your creditors. It’s a high price to pay to fulfil a temporary need or want.

Related: 5 Bad Financial Habits to Avoid If You Live on One Income


When you have debt, especially excessive debt, it limits your options.

Let me explain what I mean.

Let’s say you hate your job and would like to change jobs or careers, but you can’t because you need the income and other perks from your job.

You know what happens next? You feel trapped and unhappy because you’re forced to stay in a job you dislike.

You can’t pursue your dreams or do the job you love because you’re in a financial bind.

While staying in a job you dislike isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you, the problem with this scenario is you’ve lost your freedom of choice.

Same thing could also apply to moving homes or relocating to another city or state for a better quality of life.

You can’t do any of these things when you’re burdened with debt. Debt can limit or erode your freedom so you need to think carefully before you get into debt or decide to stay in debt.

Something else to think about.

Debt can take away your choice to live on one income (or become a one income family) since it can force the other parent to return to work to help make ends meet.

Think about that!

So don’t lose your freedom because of bad financial decisions.

It’s a great thing when you have options and can make decisions based on your likes and preferences, and not out of compulsion.


Financial stress is the leading cause of marital problems and divorces in America.

A lot of marriages crumble because one or both parties can’t deal with the financial stress and money fights so they jump ship.

What tends to happen when there’s financial problems in families is, the couples start to blame each other for their financial situation instead of working together to find a solution to their problem.

But all of this can be avoided. You don’t have to wait until your marriage is in trouble to fix things. It’s better to take steps to prevent disharmony in the home.

So if you want to stay married and have a happy home, staying out of debt is the way to go,

Work with your spouse to build a financially stable home. Do everything you can to secure your family’s financial future and don’t let debt steal everything you’ve worked hard for.


I grew up in a home where nobody knew anything about personal finance. My parents were financially illiterate and didn’t know how to manage their income.

It’s no wonder I got into a financial mess the first chance I got, because I wasn’t taught good money management skills.

I am sure some of you reading this post had the same experience. Thankfully, it’s never too late to become financially literate, and learn how to manage your finances.

If you need some motivation to stay out of debt, think of how much you can influence your kids.

As a role model for your kids, you can shape their financial lives and stop them from making costly mistakes.

My kids look up to me for direction and guidance, and I feel privileged to know that what I say or do can have a big effect on their lives.

That’s one of the reasons I strive to be a good role model and practice good financial habits because I know they are watching me (and copying me).

If you have children, you’re in a privileged position, so don’t miss this opportunity to influence your kids and teach them good financial habits, so they can enjoy financial peace and security when they grow up.

If you need help teaching your kids about money. I can recommend the following books:

Debt-Proof Your Kids

Smart Money, Smart Kids – Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money

Final words on reasons to stay out of debt

We can’t deny that there are times when going into debt feels like the only option, but if your goal is to enjoy financial freedom, peace of mind and marital harmony, then you must pay attention to your finances and take steps to protect yourself from debt.

Budgeting, saving for emergencies and tracking your spending are the keys to staying out of debt.

What’s your reason for staying out of debt?

Related living on one income articles:

10 Best Tips for Living on One Income (So Life Doesn’t Suck)

How to Live Well on One Income: 7 Essential Skills for One Income Families

7 Habits of Financially Stable One Income Families

Reasons to Stay Out Of Debt

reasons to stay out of debt
reasons to stay out of debt

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