Guest post by Lydia of Frugal, Debt Free Life
For many years, I felt like being debt free was the impossible dream. And then it happened. In February 2014, my husband and I were able to declare ourselves a debt-free family.
We had trampled down a mound of credit card bills and gotten out from under an avalanche of student loans.
In the year since we became debt free I have learned so much. Here are three lessons:
1. Budgeting doesn’t stop just because the debt is gone.
For so long, it felt like we were walking around with a backpack full of bricks. Once the debt was gone, we were able to take off that backpack and breathe for the first time in years.
But it didn’t take long to realize that savings and frugal living don’t stop once you pay off that debt. If you’re not careful and you don’t live with intention, you will fall back into the older patterns that got you in debt in the first place.
2. You still need to set goals.
For months and months, our number one goal was to get out of debt. Once we achieved that, we needed a new goal.
Without a purpose to work toward, you will stagnate. Without a purpose, it is difficult to stay motivated or even want to budget to begin with.
Our new goal became to purchase a home. When that goal was achieved, our new goal became to pay off that house early.
3. You are allowed to splurge responsibly.
Because we had been in debt-paying mode for so long, it became difficult to switch that mode off and allow ourselves to have some fun.
When the opportunity arose to take our children to see a life-sized Thomas the Train in a town a few hours from us, we balked. After years of holding onto every dollar so tight, it felt like too much money to spend. But we looked at our budget, saw we had the extra money to go, and decided to treat our family to a rare outing.
It’s okay to have fun and spend money responsibly and that’s not something to feel guilty about.
There are few feelings greater than being debt free. That feeling is an excellent motivator, why not let it carry you into other parts of your financial life?
Lydia Senn is a wife and blogger. She lives on a growing homestead with her bearded husband and two energetic boys. She loves Jesus and coffee.