3 Things I Learned After a Year of Being Debt Free

year of being debt free

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.

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10 Goals For This Week (+ some random thoughts on motherhood)

10 Goals For This Week

So, I didn’t get everything crossed off my goals list for last week, but I did make some good headway on goals — and that’s always encouraging!

I think my biggest win of the week was that I got good sleep almost every night last week, we had a great first week of our new homeschool schedule, and I got all caught back up on the laundry again!

I took the picture above while I was in the middle of working on getting caught up on the laundry. Yes, I may have been just a wee bit behind on it. :)

10 Goals For This Week

Kaitlynn and I had a nail-painting date yesterday. I think all of my kids (and Jesse) have the love language of quality time. Which has been good (and a learning process) for me — a girl who is much more inclined to do rather than to just be.

I’ve been trying to be more intentional about regular one-on-one time with each of my kids each week as I’ve discovered this is something that fills up their tanks like almost nothing else.

10 Goals For This Week

This child. I can’t get enough of him. This morning he woke up early to snuggle with me while I finished some blogging work.

While we were snuggling, he told me all about how much he loved me, how much he loved spending time with me, and how he would never get married so he could live with me for the rest of his life and help me.

A little while later, he said, “You know, in 7 years, I’m going to be a teenager!” I did not need that reminder this morning. And yet, it was good to remember just how quickly they are growing up and how important it is to cherish the everyday moments. Because they are fleeting.

Here’s my goals update:

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Start our new homeschool routine/curriculum.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

3. Get caught back up on the laundry.

Personal Goals

4. Exercise at least 3 times.

5. Finish reading at least one book.

6. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving.

7. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

8. Have a coffee date with a new friend.

Business Goals

9. Record a short video for a project.

10. Get all details finalized for the Make Over Your Mornings Course Launch.

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Mothering/Homemaking Goals

1. Spend the day with Kaitlynn at Ice Skating Camp.

2. Write a love note to Jesse.

3. Go through and declutter at least two rooms in our house.

Personal Goals

4. Exercise at least 3 times.

5. Finish reading at least one book.

6. Listen to at least two inspiring audios/podcasts while working/driving.

7. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Local Ministry/Hospitality/Friendship Goals

8. Dinner with a friend from out-of-town who will be in TN this weekend.

Business Goals

9. Record a short video for a project.

10. Get the sales page finished for the Make Over Your Mornings Course.

How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week? I’d love to have you share your progress on last week’s goals and your goals for this coming week in the comments. Of, if you’ve blogged about it, leave your direct link below. Let’s cheer each other on to live purposeful and productive lives! You can download a free customizable weekly goal-planning sheet here.


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Freedom Isn’t Free: A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Military Families!

As we celebrate Memorial Day today, I am humbly grateful to the many men and women who have risked and given so much for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Thank you — from the bottom of my heart — to the many military families who are readers here. We so appreciate the sacrifices you make on a daily basis to protect and defend our freedoms. We don’t say it enough, but thank you!

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