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.