Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What is it like to be debt free?” This question dominated my thoughts for months while my wife and I were paying off our debt, so I understand where you’re coming from. But now that we are on the other side of it, we have the answer, and it is even more wonderful than we imagined.
In short, when you become debt free, you will experience freedom and relief in your financial life. You will know what it’s like to make money and keep it. You will build savings with ease, and accomplish financial goals quicker than ever. And most obviously, you won’t owe other people money, which is a fantastic feeling.
But just in case you were wanting to know a little bit more, here is what we have experienced–and what we hope you will experience–from life after debt.
Our Net Worth Is Growing Fast
This might seem pretty obvious, but since getting out of debt, our net worth is growing fast.
For years, our financial life was like running a race while dragging an open parachute. It was slow, and much more difficult than it had to be. But now that we are out of debt, it’s like we cut the parachute loose, and now we’re surprised how fast we can run.
You can pile up cash quickly when you don’t have to give it all to lenders and credit card companies. I wish we would have realized this a long time ago.
Saving Money Is More Fun Than Ever
I hate to admit it, but before we started our debt free journey, we liked spending money a lot more than saving it. But after we worked so hard to get out of debt, saving money is a blast.
Now, anything we want to purchase is weighed against saving money, and saving money almost always wins! It is fun to watch our money grow each month, and we are both kind of giddy about it.
We Are Motivated To Make More Money
The funny thing about being debt free, is it has given us all kinds of hope about your financial future.
Instead of feeling discouraged by the amount of money that is going toward debt each month, we get to celebrate the amount of money that goes toward saving. And the more we save, the more we want to save.
So, now that we are debt free, we are more driven than ever to earn a bigger income. And since our monthly expenses are now significantly lower, we have more freedom to pursue our passions without worrying about making ends meet.
Honestly, this has been the most surprising experience of all.
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Money Fights Are A Thing Of The Past
The thing credit card companies and lenders don’t tell you, is that debt, and money fights with your spouse are pretty much a package deal.
I hate to admit it, but when we used to talk about money, our guards were up. We spend a lot of time justifying financial decisions to each other, and arguing about little, insignificant purchases. Everything felt like a big deal when we were buried in debt.
Now, the debt is gone, and it took the arguments with it.
Debt just make everything messy, and it is not good for any relationship.
We Get Fewer Credit Card Offers In The Mail
From the moment we started paying off debt, we began receiving fewer and fewer credit card offers in the mail. It’s like the credit card companies all decided, in unison, that we were a lost cause, and that they wouldn’t spend any more marketing money on us.
Now, whether this is just a weird coincidence or not, is still up in the air. But regardless, we are extremely happy about it.
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We Are Less Stressed
When we were in debt, our financial life was like a revolving door. The moment we received a paycheck, we would immediately turn around and spend it on debt. We also didn’t have an emergency fund that would cover us for a reasonable length of time.
It was a risky way to live, and until we paid off all our debt, we didn’t realize how stressful it was.
Now, when we get a paycheck, the money sticks around. And the more it sticks around, the lower our stress level becomes.
Learning About Investing Is A Major Focus
Investing has always piqued my interest, but I never really had much money to invest. It was all tied up in debt.
However, now that we are out of debt, and investing is actually possible, we have spent a good amount of time learning about our different investment options. Conversations about Roth IRAs, 401Ks, index funds, mutual funds, REITs and other financial concepts are constant.
It is much more fun learning how to earn interest, rather than paying interest to a lender.
We Value Money Over A Good Credit Score
We used to base our financial decisions on the effect it would have on our credit scores.
Taking out a loan, or using a credit card used to seem like a good idea, because it would cause our credit scores to go up. But while our credit scores rose, our net worth fell, and fell, and fell.
It seems silly looking back on it, but we were so wrapped up in the credit score game, we lost sight of something important… people with a lot of money, don’t need to worry about their credit score.
Remember, you can’t buy a house with your credit score. Your credit score can only convince a bank to buy a house and let you pay them to live in it. You know what banks use to buy houses? Money.
We Don’t Live Paycheck to Paycheck Anymore
For the first time in either of our lives, our monthly expenses are less than our monthly savings.
So, we finally have the ability to pile up a big ol’ emergency fund and stop stressing about when our next paycheck will come in. Our hard-earned money no longer just passes through our bank account. Our money is growing, not flowing.
We Are Planning Vacations In Place Of Car Payments
This is a big deal for us.
We both love warm weather and the beach, so we decided that once we were out of debt, we would take the amount of money we used to spend on car payments, to save for a yearly vacation to Hawaii or some place tropical.
This was one of our big motivations during our debt free journey, and now we have the chance to fulfill that dream! This was reason enough for us to become debt free.
We Have More Fun With Less Money
When we were in the depths of paying off our debt, we had to figure out how to have fun without spending a ton of money. And honestly, it was one of the best things that happened to us.
Paying off our debt made us appreciate the basics. Things that we never would have considered–like carpooling to work, or spending hours cooking dinner together–have become some of our most fun times together.
But now that we are debt free, we don’t feel pressured to do those things, we just like to!
We Hear A Lot Of Debt Free Stories!
We never realized how many people are either debt free, or working toward paying off all their debt. But now that we are debt free, we see it all around us.
In fact, just the other day, I was getting an alignment done on my car, and the shop owner randomly started telling me about how he and his wife just finished paying off all their debt.
I hadn’t said a word about our debt free journey, and he definitely didn’t know about this blog. He was just so happy to be out of debt, that he just couldn’t contain his excitement.
I imagine before we started our debt free journey, people talked about it just as much. Now I am just very aware of it, and it is really cool to see!
Related Post: 10 Books To Read While Getting Out Of Debt
Budgeting Is Easier Than Ever
When we first started budgeting, there was this ever-present feeling like I was missing a payment somewhere. Between the numerous credit cards and loans we were balancing, I always felt like something was going to slip through the cracks. It was kind of a nightmare to maintain.
However, when we started to eliminate one debt after another, our budget became easier and easier to manage. And as the budget got easier, the stress went away.
Now, our budget is a breeze, and it takes only a couple seconds to input our expenses every day.
The Bottom Line
We have found debt free living to be a joyful, burdenless experience, and we would never go back. If you are considering paying off your debt, I highly recommend it. Your life will become simpler, easier, and much less stressful.
So, to to answer the question, “what is it like to be debt free?”
If you are currently on a debt free journey, comment below and let us know how it is going! We would love to hear your story. And remember, it doesn’t take a financial genius to get out of debt. You just have to Be The Budget!
Until next time!
P.S. Check out our Free Debt Snowball Calculator to discover how long it will take you to get out of debt!