Do you ever ponder about this? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to not have to divide your paycheck so many ways?
We’ve been debt-free since we were 25 years old.
We had one mortgage and we paid it off in 13 months.
It was worth all the hard work.
Debt is something we have always taken seriously.
Timothy went to college on a full ride scholarship. However, I had student loans to pay off after college.
This debt bothered me and I didn’t want to pay the minimum payment each month. I wanted it gone!
After college, I lived with my parents for one year before Timothy and I married. During that time, I saved as much from my paychecks as I could to put toward paying off those student loans.
When Timothy and I married, I had paid off all but $2,000 of my student loans. He paid the balance after we were married.
After my student loans were paid and we paid off our first mortgage, we have been completely debt free.
And when I say “debt free,” I mean no mortgage either.
“What’s it like to be debt-free?”
Today, I’m going to tell you all about it.
1. No fear going to the mailbox
When we had our first and only mortgage, I would wait each month for the bill to come in. I was prepared for it but the initial shock of seeing it in the mail each month still made my eye twitch.
I did not like having a mortgage. Timothy and I didn’t like the thought of owing anyone.
This type of feeling could be unnerving if you have a lot of bills coming in. Add mail from debt collectors and it’s just too much to think about.
Once we finished paying off my student loans and our mortgage was paid, going to the mailbox was a pleasant experience.
Even now, it’s like a fun field trip to go to the mailbox. (Especially since our mailbox at Big House in the Woods is almost a quarter mile away!) Becoming debt-free was worth the hard work.
We don’t get the jitters when we open the mailbox. All we ever find in there are the usual American bills like water, electric, taxes, and junk mail. Nothing more. Nothing less.
A debt free lifestyle is freeing.
2. Save more money
Since we paid off our mortgage back in 2011, we have had no other debt and, since then, we have had the opportunity to put a lot of money in savings.
A hefty savings account is a very secure feeling.
Besides security, having cash on hand has given us more opportunities than other people. Refer to the next topic…
3. Paying with cash
It’s true. Money talks.
Here are several examples:
Back in 2013, we wanted to buy 10 acres in the western part of our state. We were able to get it for a good price because we had cash.
Immediate cash looks good to most people and they are willing to take a little lower price for something (even land) just to have the cash in hand sooner.
Several years ago, we found ourselves buying land again. This time, we were buying 5 acres near The Man’s work to build our Big House in the Woods on. We ran into the same situation as back in 2013.
We had cash and the other person who had also made an offer on the land wanted to do owner financing.
Guess who got the land?
The owners of the land didn’t want to get into an owner-finance situation. We were able to buy the land at a slightly lower price because we had cash in hand.
Our debt free living had paid off again. Literally.
4. Plan for the future
What do we want to do in the future?
I want to live in an RV full-time and travel the country.
Timothy wants to spend a lot of time near the ocean. Any ocean
Living a debt free lifestyle means we don’t have to be tied to where we are currently. We can afford to change our minds.
We have been living a debt free life for many years. We have been saving money on things that other people spend money on like internet packages, TV service, too much money at the grocery store, Starbucks, expensive cell phone plans, etc. We also haven’t signed ourselves up for more debt.
We didn’t pay off our house then get car payments, UTV payments, and rack up credit card debt.
A debt free lifestyle is something we thoroughly enjoy. It’s like breathing fresh air.
5. Less worries about layoffs/ loss of income
When I was 8 months pregnant with our first child, Timothy was laid off. His company was doing major cut-backs and he was on the bottom of the seniority list.
This would set many people into a panic.
Our house was paid for. The cars were paid for. And we had built up our savings.
We were going to be fine.
Our debt free living had put us into a position of calmness. Being laid off didn’t scare us.
We didn’t need that weekly paycheck to survive. Yes, we needed it to continue building up our savings but not having it didn’t mean we were going to sink.
Instead, Timothy got to enjoy being home with his first child for a loooong time.
We even went to live in a camper up on our ten acres for a while. We had a ton of fun!
Then, his company called him back to work. No big deal.
6. Retire early
Early retirement is something that is very much in our grasp because of our debt free lifestyle.
We have chosen not to fill our mailbox with bills, therefore, we have been able to put more money in savings, 401K, and IRAs.
Our debt free lifestyle also means that we don’t have a 30 year mortgage that we are still paying on. We don’t have car payments. We don’t have credit card debt. We don’t have ANY debt.
We have spent our time (carefully) living the way we want but still building up a big savings.
We have lived this way since we were 25 years old. (At publishing time, we are 34ish.)
So, when we decide to retire one day, we won’t need a lot of money to pay for our “things.”
Instead, we can use our money to travel or do anything we choose.
See the next point…
One of my favorite freedoms of a debt free lifestyle, is traveling.
For example, we love to cruise. As of today, we have been on 10 Caribbean cruises on four different cruise lines. We have swam with sting rays, toured Mayan ruins, eaten with the locals in Jamaica, made homemade chocolate in Cozumel, watched flamingos in Costa Maya, and many other things.
Debt free living makes trips like this so much sweeter because we know that we won’t be making payments on those trips when we get home and we won’t have bills waiting for us either.
We chose not to take our first cruise until AFTER we were debt free.
What is it like to be debt free?
The short version? It’s freeing.
So many people try to “live large” by piling debt on themselves. They want the brand new car, a house that’s too expensive for them, the vacations they put on their credit cards, and the pool they have to make payments on.
It’s not worth it.
I’ll tell you what IS worth it.
Debt free living.
I have an entire article about things people waste their money on that decreases their savings and, ultimately, prevents them from being able to have a debt free lifestyle.
What’s my advice?
Save and make wise choices to pay off the debt you have and choose not to get into anymore debt.
Build up your savings for now and the future.
Learn the value of delayed gratification.
Then, you will know exactly what it is like to be debt free!
You’ll also be like “The Millionaire Next Door.”
If you have any questions or would like to talk, just drop me a comment!
You can do this!
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