Getting out of debt was a huge financial achievement for me, for anybody it is obviously. The reason people get out of debt can vary but most likely it’s for financial reasons above all. My husband and me were able to knock out over $76,000 in debt in just under 18 months, you can read about how we did that here. Having that financial burden lifted from us was incredible and life changing, however there were other benefits that came along with getting out of debt that I was not expecting but were very impactful as well.
Here’s my list of 5 surprising things that happened as a result of getting out of debt!
1. Peace of mind
Just knowing that we did not have any more monthly payments was a great feeling! I knew it would feel good but not that good! What was even better was knowing that we owned our cars outright. Having a car payment throughout pretty much your entire life has become the norm for most Americans, but not for us, not anymore. The stress of making those payments is gone for good. It is a very peaceful feeling to know that you don’t owe anybody anything. There is a big sense of security that comes along with being debt free.
Putting myself on a budget was something I had never done before, I was used to spending money however I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I saw something I wanted I would just buy it. The budget, however, gave me boundaries (which I obviously needed) but it also gave me freedom. It truly made me reevaluate my spending habits. I would allocate a certain amount of money for each spending category like food, clothing, fun money, etc. When I would go shopping it changed my entire mindset, I found myself actually thinking twice about each purchase, asking myself if I really needed the item and realizing that most of the time the answer was no. I was paying cash for everything so I knew exactly how much I had and how much I could spend. Using cash for all my purchases did something psychologically to me and I actually felt how I was spending compared to how I’d shop before. I became content with what I had, I realized that buying things was not going to make me happier and the things that I did purchase meant a whole lot more to me and I appreciated those things much more.
By not spending so much or buying so much stuff I really did begin to appreciate what I already had. I realized I spent a whole lot of money on a whole lot of stuff I didn’t need! I started exploring minimalism as it seemed to fit in line with my new outlook on stuff. I began getting rid of things that no longer served me a purpose. I’m a sentimental person and all of my life I’ve kind of held on to things that reminded me of a certain time or sparked a memory. I was not a hoarder by any means but I definitely had WAY more stuff than I needed, I still do, but hey it’s a work in progress! I began the decluttering process in my house and found so much relief and joy in getting rid of stuff, it kind of became a game to see how much I could get rid of. Getting rid of what no longer served me has allowed room for the things that do matter. I now strive to simplify my life in many ways, not just my material possessions but in everything I do.
4. Goal Setting
I really was able to get a grip on our finances once we started this journey of getting out of debt. Prior to I believed that I’d probably work for most of my life like most people and then retire when I was old. But by getting my finances really in order changed my entire outlook on the rest of my life because I was starting to see that there were other options besides working the grind my entire adult life. I became very goal oriented and started making a plan to pay our mortgage off within a few years and retire early. I knew that if we could work that hard to pay off our debt in a short amount of time as long as we were disciplined and dedicated that we could do anything! I now have a clear vision for the future and what it takes to get there. Financial goal setting is absolutely necessary if you want to succeed. I now write down my goals and I can see my progress and can envision the future.
5. Improved our marriage
Having to have those tough money conversations with your significant other can be very difficult if you are not on the same page. Prior to getting out of debt me and my husband didn’t really argue about money because we had separate accounts but this forced us to work together and combine our finances so it was a bit rocky at first as we had to both adjust. It also made us realize that we had different views on money. You can read more about how we overcame our financial differences here but basically it brought us together and opened up our lines of communication and we learned to work together as a team. We took a financial class together and it was actually fun and rewarding for the both of us! We are now able to talk about anything financial being completely transparent with each other.
So there you have it, 5 things that happened as a result of getting out of debt. You see being in debt is not just about money. It’s about your entire life. It impacts everything you do. You can change your life by taking control, and who knows what other surprises will come your way!