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What does getting out of debt “buy” you?

by The Happy Rock on May 16, 2007

freedom.jpgSo we battled for three years to get rid of our $70,000 dollars in debt….so what! Here are the benefits that being debt free(besides the house) and the process of becoming debt free gave us.

Cash Flow – First and foremost, we got control of our money back. Instead of the bank requiring hundreds and thousands of dollars a month, that money was staying in our account.

Catharsis – I didn’t see this one coming, but eliminating debt helped me to revisit and deal with some bad decisions I made in college. Instead of just chalking them up to youth, I was able to accept them, learn from them, and do something to positively change my life because of them.

Lower Risk – Not having any debt lowered our overall risk level. The prospect of losing income is not that scary anymore. With so few monthly payments, I could probably survive delivering pizza. Second, since we changed our spending and behavior patterns, the chances that we will find ourselves in financial trouble in the future are small.

Less Stress – Even though the debt we had was not very old, we still felt the stress of having it hang over our heads. Without debt the juggling act is gone. We aren’t afraid to talk about our finances, and I know that our marriage and relationship has benefited from getting debt free.

Free Time – Along with the debt removal came much less time worrying about money. After a year or two, the system we were continually tweaking became second nature. I don’t spent more than maybe a minute or two a day, and 30 minutes on a budget meeting each month. Not only was my money mine again, I was able to reclaim extra time each day.

Change of Values – The debt elimination process caused us to really think about what things were wants and which were needs. Things like clothes, new furniture, and vacations took a back seat to the things that we truly valued. Long term success and happiness became more important than indulging our immediate desires.

Freedom – Finally as the title of the blog suggests, the journey was designed to give us more freedom. Debt can be stifling, and it is amazing how many more possibilities you can see without debt clouding your vision. We are freer to take advantage of life opportunities as they come our way. Free to give more. Free to seek after the things we truly love. For example, my wife was able to drop down to 18 hours a week, when our son came along. She could have stayed at home full time, but she wanted to keep her foot in the professional world.

This result of getting out of debt isn’t something I could have imagined before I could see the light at the end of the debt tunnel. If you are on the fence about the no debt thing, seriously give a try for a few months, completely eliminate some debts, and see if you notice your life changing. If you don’t like, it will only take a few minutes to get back in debt again.

Let me know which of these ring true for you, and which ideas I am deluding myself on.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

dong May 16, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Congratulation on getting out debt. It think sitting back really thinking about what’s important is always healthy even when you don’t have debt :)

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Ed B May 17, 2007 at 10:26 am

One of the things that is essential for getting out of debt is actually showing up for work….ya bum. :)

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J at Home Finance Freedom May 21, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Congratulations. Also, co-workers will look at you quizzically when you do not have to pick up your paycheck exactly on payday.

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TheHappyRock May 23, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for all the link love, and comments.

-Frank

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Moneymonk May 24, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Cool 70K of debt paid off in 3 years. Way to go !!!!

I agree with the above statements. Debt is like an ugly burden lifted You feel like a whole new person. No more ball and chain attached

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susan June 18, 2007 at 9:09 pm

lower risk/less stress did it for me. I now say that I could quit my job deliever pizza.

Biggest thing WANTS vs. NEEDS.

Only a small mortatge and monthly bills.

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Debt Free Christian February 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Great article! Your third point is the one that really keeps me motivated…the thought of being debt free and able to work part time doing just about anything and have what I need….wow that would be great. Just to know you have the freedom to bless others without worrying about how much you can give…..all good things.

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dm March 4, 2008 at 9:25 am

“Cash Flow – First and foremost, we got control of our money back. Instead of the bank requiring hundreds and thousands of dollars a month, that money was staying in our account.”

I couldn’t agree more. Getting in that level of debt creates a huge spiral where you owe so much in minimum payments, that you are left with very little to see you through the rest of the month. That usually means getting in more debt. Which then means higher minimum payments…

All credit to you for getting rid of all that debt! And in 3 years – incredible!

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justin @ freebie forum July 17, 2008 at 6:00 am

I know how nice it is to get out of debt. I started sleeping a lot better once I knew I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

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Lenen August 13, 2008 at 4:03 am

I totally agree with your article. Life without debt is much better. No worries and much less stress. Living without debt involves lifestyle decisions at some point. Some people can do it, and others just aren’t willing to.

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Glory September 9, 2008 at 4:00 am

My congratulations. It is always much better and easier to live knowing you have no debts

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Talk About Debt September 13, 2008 at 6:37 am

I discovered that money and possessions did nothing for my happiness last year. I even read a book on it called ‘Affluenza’ by Oliver James. Oliver went around the globe and talked to rich people and poor people and it won’t everyone to know that the richer they were the unhappier they were and vice versa. ‘If I get the Porche I’ll be happy’ and a host of other wants that end up not filling the void.

Another great read has been the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ by the now famous Timothy Ferriss. He tells us how a sustainable income with lots of free time to live life to the full is better than the 9 to 5 grind. He also has ideas on how to achieve it.

The bottom line is, there is so much more to life than money. Well done and keep on writing.

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Mr. Smith September 30, 2008 at 9:55 am

I’ve read that studies show that rich people aren’t necessarily happier than poor people. However, people who live below the poverty line are substantially happier when they’re able to pay their bills and live somewhat comfortably.

I’ve never had a lot of debt, but last year, I was able to pay off my home and student loans. It felt great! I think people rack up debt when they’re trying to live above their means. Our society tells us that happiness can only be found through material possessions.

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Tom October 25, 2008 at 11:03 pm

I struggled with debt for a long time and am close to working my way out of it. The “less stress” part works the most for me, I spent a long time and a lot of very stressful days due simply to debt and I never want to go back!!

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Gambler October 27, 2008 at 8:05 am

I was in debt for a long time but finally, after five years, I got out of debt. I have stopped gambling and now my life without debt is so much easier.

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will December 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

>Congratulations. Also, co-workers will look at you quizzically when you do not have to pick up your paycheck exactly on payday.

Heh, that’s one of the best things about being ahead of the curve. It confuses everyone around you when you don’t rush to get payment, including whoever is paying you.

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john cummata December 26, 2008 at 10:20 am

In one phrase, PEACE OF MIND!!!

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Jonathan@Friends&Money March 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Great list. In my personal opinion freedom is the biggest advantage. I think it is that feeling that you don’t owe something to someone else and therefore it cannot be demanded back from you.

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Lisa April 3, 2009 at 1:52 am

Finally being out from under debt has made a huge difference in my life. I feel much less stressed, much more healthy. I’m not rich by any stretch. Still struggle. But I don’t owe anyone money either.

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Jonathan@Friends&Money September 14, 2009 at 3:10 pm

less stress is a big one. It’s amazing how stress can effect your health

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Devon May 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

It allows me to prepare for the cost of my kids’ college tuition!

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