Most Americans accept debt as a way of life. It’s just another bill (or five) that they have to pay every month.

They think it’s just the logical trade-off for having the things they want when they want them. But that trade-off usually causes undue stress on marriages and lives in general.

You take out a loan to get that boat you’ve been wanting – but you not only have to pay that monthly payment, but you’ve got to fill it with gas. And somewhere to store it. And the trailer to pull it. And…you get where I’m going with this.

The best debt quote ever is this… (It’s attributed to Dave Ramsey, but bull. It was in Fight Club before Dave Ramsey ever started his stuff.)

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

And that right there is one of the worst reasons to be in debt. If you are buying things just to impress people, you are doing it wrong. Life that is.

The second worst reason is that you have no ability to wait for things you want. You buy things just to fill a void in your life. Maybe you are lonely. Or maybe you just feel like something is missing and having new toys to play with will fill that up. Again, you are doing it wrong.

The third reason is that you spent too much money on a house that you can’t afford and now you can’t get rid of it without losing money.

These are all not great reasons to be in debt. They are all grounded in not great choices and they are all painful lessons.

On the other hand, you might be in debt for reasons that make sense. Like medical bills. Or student loans. There really are good reasons to be in debt. They still suck to pay off, but if you are alive because of modern medicine, or because you got an education – you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Hold on a second.

You know what, if you are in debt – whatever kind of debt – you still have nothing to be ashamed of.

It happens to just about everyone, and the only reason we all hide it and don’t talk about it is because we don’t want people to think we have problems. (Back to that impressing thing).

It’s all crap. If people think less of you because you got into debt…tough luck. You don’t need them in your life. If by some chance said jerk has made it through life without getting into debt, you can be sure they’ve done something else stupid. No one is exempt from mistakes, and people who are judge-y aren’t worth your time anyway.

So, what to do about it?

Well, that’s the real question. How you got into debt is irrelevant. You are here, and you want out.

The good news is, you have options.

Here are some good places to start:

How to Get out of Debt

Get Rid of that Debt, One Card at a Time

Quit Living Beyond Your Means

There are tons of people out there with programs to help you get out. Check into them. You will undoubtedly find one that fits what you need like a glove.