Living debt free

Tuesday April 06 2021

A woman counts a bundle of money. Lacking enough money means you will have to borrow to top up to clear bills for the chain of responsibilities. PHOTO/FILE

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

While flipping through newspapers, the one piece of information I would concentrate on most is the list of people’s names and faces flagged because of failure to pay loans.

 Some of these cases end up in courts of law; some are bailed out while others end up in prison. In the worst case scenario, others end up losing their hard earned properties. 

But is it possible to live a debt free life?

 Debt broadly includes financial material and other resources that can be valued and borrowed with a promise to pay back.

To many, living a life without debt is close to impossible.

One side, living debt free most probably it is not possible because some argue that in this era, you cannot always be in possession of all the resources you need to meet your needs and wants.


 Yet on the other side it is possible to live debt free but the hardest part in is mostly because of the circumstances under which most people live in.

Whether it is nature’s design, or circumstantial way of life, most of us have dependants.

Mr Newton Buteraba, the chief executive officer at House of Wealth, a business and money advisory firm, says: “When you are the first born or if you are the one who has made it in the family, your parents have a habit of saying that you will look after your siblings.”

As you look after them, some parents are also in need of being looked after.

So, with a high dependency level, you will always struggle to have enough money.

“When you don’t have enough money, you will face a combination of money problems of the poor. One of the money problems of the poor is lack of enough money,” he explains.

Lacking enough money means you will have to borrow to top up to clear bills for the chain of responsibilities.

“So the number one thing that keeps us unable to live debt free is the circumstances that make us have a high level of dependency,” Buteraba shares.

 The other thing is the mindset that a job will help you solve your money problems.

But a job is designed to give you just what is enough to keep you in that place.

Over dependece on jobs

Due to over dependence on a job, you might have closed all other avenues of income earning.

“A job can only pay for your meal, your landlord, your clothing and your NSSF.  Every time you see what is remaining it can’t help you grow and also help everyone around you,” he explains.

 Adding that the dependency on jobs has made everyone in that sector be able to borrow.

 Mr Shaban Sserunkuuma, a director operations at Consumer Education Trust, (Consent) thinks a big percentage of people live a lifestyle that necessitates them to keep in debt.

Envisage, buying that car not to solve the transport problem but to showcase that you have a nice car, living the lower class of  housing  to the middle income class, attending every Kukyala, Kwanjula, bridal shower, wedding and baby shower makes many unable to live with the little income they have.

 On the other hand, experts think it is very possible to live a debt free life if they choose so.

How then do you live debt free?

Buteraba says living a debt free life is very possible but requires one to be disciplined.

 “Discipline comes from making a choice to live within your means, avoid pledges that will choke you later and live in an area that is within your means,” he shares.

 Locking your financial card will save you from borrowing from any bank and if need, change the multiple bank accounts mindset to owning one account.

 Buteraba advises that increasing your sources of income will make you become your own boss. Soon, you will choose to be your own lender by saving.

 “With enough savings, you borrow from your savings account instead of borrowing from the bank,” he adds.

 If you think of investing in projects, start small until it materialises.

 “There is no reason why you should start a business with Shs20m yet you can start and go through it with let us say Shs2m. But you need discipline to learn, that,” Buteraba advises.

 There is no reason for dialing a money lender’s number if you want to live a debt free life.

Actually cutting your credit card into pieces and giving up on it will simply mean you can’t borrow.

 Also get all the things that made you look out for the money and convert them into the things that won’t make you borrow, for example, instead of borrowing millions to take up a Masters course, opting for online study might save you from debt.

Then you can increase your income streams by diversifying your businesses. With this strategy, you will not need money to borrow. You need to have a ‘side hustle’ that brings in the money.