I read an article by Michael Tan today about debt and society and it got me thinking about the role debt plays in our lives.

I hate having debt.  I was very happy when I finally paid off my credit card debt last year.  So now I only owe my mother and my sister and I’m hoping that they would both be paid off in five years.  My priority now is NOT to incur more debt and it’s really hard with two kids in school.

When I was growing up, I remember my mom would always have to borrow from GSIS or PAG-IBIG or from other sources every time May comes around.  Having five kids is really expensive and of course they want us to have the best education possible.  It’s not just for tuition, there are school supplies, books and other expenses associated with education.  If only the public school system is effective, more people would have more savings and a better quality of life, I’m sure.

I think paying for a good education is important and somehow justifies being in debt.  But I know some people who are in debt and they got there trying to keep up with the neighbors.  They have to have the latest gadgets, they take awesome vacations, their clothes and stuff have to be branded.  Debt due to this, I think, is definitely unacceptable.  They may have the latest iPad but if they can’t pay off more than the minimum on their credit cards, they’ll be enslaved forever.

I don’t like to judge but I just think that we should all try to live within our means.  This is what I’m trying to do now.  It’s really difficult but I’m happy to say that at least I didn’t have to borrow this year to get my children enrolled and buy all the stuff they need for school.  We may not have the budget to watch movies often but we can watch at home and still enjoy each other’s company.  We may not eat out very often but we try new dishes (and baked goods) at home.  We may not go to the mall or arcade very often but we have board game nights and stuff.

I guess, in the end, it all boils down to what we value, what our goals are, and what we’re willing to sacrifice to get there.