10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt
We usually like to take the high ground when motivating ourselves. When it comes to getting out of debt, common reasons include "I want to put more money into a college savings fund" or "it will lower my insurance premiums." And yes, they're good reasons. (See also: 6 Harmful Money Beliefs That Are Keeping You Poor)
But what if, for a second, we don't go the way of the good-hearted Luke Skywalker, and instead follow the path of his evil father? What if we use motivations that come from "the dark side?"
Here are 10 dark-side motivations you could use to get out of debt. Feel the power of the force.
1. Beat the Joneses
Forget keeping up with the neighbors or co-workers who always seem to be doing better than you. It's time to beat them at their own game. Scrimp, save, cut back, and do whatever you can to get rid of that debt you have. Once you're debt-free, start throwing that in their face. The average indebted American has almost $16,000 in credit card debt. If your neighbors are driving around in fancy cars, and always wearing new threads, they're probably in that camp. How good will it feel to casually tell them you have ZERO credit card debt. That's right. None. Zip. Nada. Watch their squirming faces and enjoy.
2. Better Still, Move Away From Them!
It's all well and good one-upping your neighbors, but why not just get out of dodge and save enough money to buy a bigger, better house in a more exclusive neighborhood? By getting out of debt, you'll get a better credit score, have money to put into savings, and will be able to move into the home you've always wanted. Won't it be nice to wave goodbye to that one neighbor you really cannot stand?
3. Splurge On Something Insanely Selfish
Yes, we know the reasons people want to get out of debt. Paying off those credit cards every month sucks, especially when your money is paying off the interest first. What if you put a goal in front of you that is a complete waste of money, for most people anyway? Maybe you've always wanted the original costume Michael Keaton wore in Batman. Or perhaps it's a half-eaten cheeseburger that Elvis left behind. Whatever your insane splurge is, don't let other people tell you it's not something worth getting out of debt for. It is. If it is the reason you're debt-free, it really is. Of course, don't go back into debt buying it!
4. Quit Your Crappy Job Earlier
Think about it. The sooner you get out of debt, the sooner you can start saving. And that also means saving for retirement. The more you put into your 401(k), the quicker it will accumulate. Before you know it, you've shaved five, or even ten, years off your retirement date. If that's not a reason to get out of debt, what is?! (See also: 14 Ways to Retire Early)
5. Pig Out
How about some gluttony? Usually, getting out of debt is something that requires some major sacrifices. You may really be eating ramen for a few months, or if you're a Brit, the good old beans on toast. Why not give yourself a massive feast as a goal? Once you get out of debt, treat yourself to a meal fit for three kings. Order your favorite everything, have it delivered, eat it in the bathtub watching your favorite movie while drinking a one-gallon vanilla shake. It's only once, and to be honest, your stomach won't be able to handle the size or richness of the food you'll be throwing back. But who cares!
6. Destroy Something
Legally, of course. But think about this one; is there something you really hate that you want to get rid of? It can be small, like the clock in your mother-in-law's house that plays the sounds of different birds chirping, every single hour. Maybe it's an eyesore in the neighborhood. Whatever it is, promise yourself that when you get out of debt, you'll find a way to buy it… so that you can send it to a grisly end. Think this is silly? I talked to seven people in the office today; every single one had something in mind when I brought it up.
What would you buy, only to put it on the chopping block?
7. Get Revenge
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, it may be a while until you get out of debt, so your dish of vengeance could be quite cold indeed. But don't let that stop you from using it as grim motivation.
Is there someone who wronged you? Someone who made (or is currently making) your life miserable? What could you do to them when you get out of debt? It could be a cheap and harmless prank, or it could be something more inventive and costly. Check out YouTube here for a few ideas. Just don't go breaking any laws, okay?
8. Publish a Tell-All Book
Tired of all those haters who hate on you? Really wish you had the money to put all the dirt you have on them into a book? Well, it can happen. It doesn't take a big deal with a publisher: you can publish your own book on sites like Lulu and Blurb. So, focus on getting out of debt, and spend those nights you're not going out writing everything down. When you hit your debt-free goals, use some of the money you're now saving to run off a few copies of the book and distribute it to those most deserving.
9. Invent Something Horrible
There's a device out there called "the Annoyatron." Its sole purpose is to drive people absolutely nuts by emitting a random beep no one can trace. It's evil. Like Darth Vader meets the Joker evil. We are all capable of such creative mischief. Once you're out of debt, you can devote a little time and money into making your very own. And who knows, if it's popular it could make you a ton of money too!
10. Replace All Your Hand-Me-Downs
Right now, you may be calling them "family keepsakes" or "precious memories." To be fair, some of them are. But some of them, like the old sofa with the weird smell, or the painting that scares you every time you pass it, are not so much keepsakes as heartaches. You're only keeping them around because you can't afford to replace them. Once you're out of debt, you can give them away, donate them, burn them, dump them, or give them back to the original owner — and replace them without something you actually like. And can now afford.
So, this was clearly a list of more crazy, dark ideas, but how would you add to it? What dark motivation can you think of to help you (or anyone else) get out of debt?