Living debt free is a financial strategy that involves conscious decisions and directed effort. Being debt free does not happen by mistake, and it takes a rigorous approach to spending money-an approach grounded in the basic assumption that you must make more than you spend. Being debt free does not mean you can’t have a credit card-it just means that you pay off the credit card balance at the end of every month, before accruing finance charges. For individuals choosing to live debt free, there is one common exception to the rule-a home mortgage. Housing is so expensive that almost no one can purchase a home without taking out a mortgage. However, for debt free individuals, paying off the mortgage as rapidly as possible becomes a primary goal.