Why I’m Glad We Sacrificed To Be Debt Free

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Why I’m Glad We Sacrificed To Be Debt Free

 

Our debt free journey began in May of 2015 with $45,000 in consumer debt which didn’t include our mortgage. It took us 17 months to pay it all off. Obviously we made a lot of sacrifices during that time to accomplish our goal. I was asked during this time if I died tomorrow would I still be glad I made the sacrifices. My answer was yes and there are numerous reasons why.

Long Term Goals

In our society, it is all about what “I want right now” and YOLO. This is not sustainable long-term and guess what, you will probably get old. I know you don’t want to but it is more likely you will get old than die at a young age. We have to plan for the future and save for the future now or you will suffer later. I wanted to make sure that we would be able to pay off our house one day, save for kids college, and save for our own retirement. I also wanted to be able to go on vacation, have adequate savings and several other things that weren’t as easy to do with a large amount of payments. In order to do that, we had to make short-term sacrifices to pay off our debt to reach our long-term goals.

Financial Peace

Money or really the lack of money is a huge stressor. When you don’t have any debts, the stress from making payments and the risk associated with debt is reduced. Money fights are one of the leading causes of divorce in this country. If you and your spouse are on the same page about the budget and where your money is going, that will greatly reduce the stress and money fights. Plus once you are debt free, you won’t have the stress of making payments. Being debt free truly gives you financial peace. It is a very different feeling when you realize you completely own everything you have.

My Kids Future

Another reason that I am glad we sacrificed and paid off debt is to teach our kids about money. They had to learn that we couldn’t buy them a bunch of crap that they were only going to play with for a few days. I quit buying them toys and sold a lot of their toys. They learned about giving to other children instead of getting something for themselves. We also quit doing a lot of activities and spent more time at parks and as a family playing games and having movie nights.

We are now able to save for our kids college and be able to leave our kids a legacy once we are gone and not a bunch of debt. Imagine what you could do for your kids future if you didn’t have any payments. Could you pay for college? Could you help with a wedding or first house? What will your kids be left with once you’re gone? Will they have debt collectors calling them to settle your accounts? Will they be able to pay for the funeral? These are all things that you should be thinking about and planning when you are a parent.

Giving Generously

I also wanted to be able to give more to the community. My husband and I have always given but it’s hard to really give as much as you want when you have debt. We are now able to give frequently and generously when the need arises. If you were debt free how much more could you give?

Freedom

Being debt free gives me freedom to do what I want. That means that I could change jobs, stay at home with my kids, start a business, go on vacation, or really do a lot of things I couldn’t before. When we had all that debt, I was working to pay for daycare and my outrageous car payment. Now, I have the freedom to do whatever I want with my money. We are planning a trip to Disney later this year, all paid before we even get there. We wouldn’t have been able to do that before.

Follow Through On My Goals

Another reason I am glad we made sacrifices and paid off our debt quickly is because I wanted it gone. If you make sacrifices, you will pay it off sooner, which means you are more likely to actually achieve your goal. If you spread it out too long, you will more than likely quit. The majority of people who follow the Dave Ramsey plan are debt free in 18-24 months. If it is going to take 5 years, it would be very hard to follow through and make the sacrifices for that long. I know people have been able to do it that long but it is a lot harder. If you make sacrifices with an end date in mind, it’s easier to stick to your goal.

We made a lot of sacrifices and cut costs and expenses so that we could be debt free as soon as possible and have room to breathe. I don’t know that I could have kept going much longer than we did. Once we were debt free, we splurged a little and have gone back to saving. We have been able to go see family during an emergency and not worry about the cost. We didn’t even have to worry about if for some reason, my husband didn’t get paid a day or two of the trip. We were able to take the trip, financially stress free, and spend time with a sick loved one.

So, when you hear that I’m debt free, don’t say or think that I am “lucky”. We made the sacrifices necessary to get there. We didn’t go on trips with friends, concerts, to the beach, go out to eat all the time or anything else that we would have liked to do to reach our goal as quickly as possible. I am still very thankful we did even though we missed out on some things. We now have the freedom to do those extra things and can plan for our future.

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93 comments on “Why I’m Glad We Sacrificed To Be Debt Free

  1. I’m in the sacrifice process myself.. it’s tough, but seeing debt decrease and sticking to your goals is actually really rewarding! Thanks for sharing your journey, it’s very inspirational. šŸ™‚

  2. I think your definition of sacrifice and mine must differ drastically. You state that you paid off $45,000 of debt in 17 months. If you divide $45,000 by 17, you get approximately $2,647.00 per month. By those figures, you “sacrificed” a dollar amount each month that is higher than most of us earn. It makes me wonder what you were sacrificing. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is awesome that you are a debt-free family, but I would like to know more. I cannot wrap my head around those figures.

    1. If you read some of my other posts you will see how we did it and what we sacrificed. We did sacrifice a lot and I do not have an “extra” $2,600 a month. We sold a ton of stuff, including big stuff, and worked a TON of overtime in addition to having a tax return, a bonus, and several other things for extra money. That was all in addition to cutting everything out of our budget that was possible, not going out at all, cutting our grocery budget in half, not eating out at restaurants or eating fast food. Every extra dollar went to paying off debt. We did a lot of different things to get there. Don’t think that just because you see the final number that we didn’t “sacrifice” to get there.

      1. I think you misunderstood me. I didn’t say that you didn’t sacrifice. I said I wonder what you did sacrifice. And yes, since reading your reply, I have read some of your other articles. I understand all the concepts but when I look at what your numbers are and compare them to mine (yes, I know, everything isn’t the same), I find myself wondering quite a bit. In one post, you share that you cut your grocery budget from $1200 to $600. I don’t know how many are you in your family, but I was spending approximately $575 to $625 per month on groceries for a family of five to six (including three teenagers). Many of the things you implemented as changes are things I have been doing for years … and just to be able to afford the basics. I’d love to try to apply some of these concepts to make things better, but due to severe health issues, we are now a one-income family. I am the primary caregiver for two individuals and the sole source of income. Forgive me if I seem like a “Negative Nancy” or “Debbie Downer” in wondering just how something like this could be possible.

        1. I’m sorry I misunderstood you. If I had to guess, it sounds like you have an income problem more than a spending problem. My issue was definitely spending. We are a family of 4 and my grocery budget includes dog food and household supplies. Even still, I think I could cut it back a little more if I tried a little harder. Have you looked into more ways to make money, like from your blog? That is my ultimate goal.

  3. Bad debt is like the elephant in the room, no one wants to talk about it but it’s there. At 46 years old and married 24 years, I can strongly agree with every point in your post. Getting rid of bad debt is freeing in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. I’m surprised people have asked you that if you were to die tomorrow, would you have enjoyed your life. I’m totally all about being frugal, keeping a tight budget, and paying down my student debt! But I try to live a life of balance and allow myself things I enjoy like blogging or travel.

    Good for you girl! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Never been in debt – been close a few times, and although it’s tempting to get a loan when you can’t afford that holiday etc, i’m glad i haven’t. Being in debt is very stressful and the cause of things like anxiety, depression and can even result in homelessness x

  6. I’ve been working on saving money and paying off debt, and it’s hard! This is the first time we have had money to enjoy, and after a few months of fun, we’ve decided to fix the things left behind from our poverty days lol. Fortunately, my personal debt (other than my student loan) is small, and almost all paid off. Taking care of my student debt will have to wait until at least after graduation haha!

    It takes a lot to be able to pay off debt, but you make some really good points for inspiration!

  7. These are great reasons to pay off debt as quickly as possible. My husband and I did this as well and now all we have to worry about is our phone and car insurance. It’s nice not have to worry about where the next thing will come from.

  8. We have tried to do the Dave Ramsey plan a few times and always falter on it. I think its great to see someone who actually had the willpower to stick to budgeting and get out of debt. We don’t really have that much, and we’re slowly chipping away at it but we always get distracted lol. Way to go for sticking with it!

  9. I’m currently working on paying off my debt. I’m a recent graduate, but want to move out on my own soon (without roommates), but I can’t do that without getting my debt down. Great reminder that our sacrifices are worth it, even if they don’t seem like it at the time. They pay off in the long run!

  10. Great post! Being debt free requires so much disciple but is so rewarding. Like you said, it’s so freeing to able to do what you feel led to do. Love your encouragement and example! Pray I can always live this way!

  11. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m in a lot of debt from my post-Graduate degree and have made a decision to start trying to clear it this year (previously paying minimum only). I know it’s going to be tough and require dedication and hard work so thank you for this post.

    Dani x | http://www.flourishingfreelancer.com

  12. Brilliant blog in general. I’ve made some bad decisions with money over the years and this year is about budgeting as much as I can to clear the debts i do have. Having looked through a number of posts, this site is very much appreciated

  13. So many great reasons in this article. The freedom that comes with paying off consumer debt is worth going without…and as you noted….there are so many bonuses during that time! You get to enjoy new activities like the park, and teach your kids about responsible consumerism and giving to others. Congratulations on paying off your debt…it’s a great achievement šŸ™‚

    1. It is always nice seeing other people do it! I joined several Dave Ramsey Facebook groups and that really helped me stay motivated.

  14. Being debt free is the most rewarding of the things ever. I myself am on the journey to be debt free. Give it maybe a few months time more!
    Great article there!

  15. It really is worth making the sacrifices in order to come out of the constraints of debt. I’ve been there. It’s incredibly painful at the time but you have to try your best to keep focusing upon the future.

  16. agree totally the feeling of getting rid of the debt even gradually is so worth it. Each time something is cleared you see the benefit of the outgoing shoot right down. Brilliant and am not a lover of credit any more. Its far to easy to flash a credit card then pay with cash.

  17. This post really resonated with me! I shared it on my blog’s facebook page. There is so much temptation in the world to enjoy life now, but the freedom of paying off my consumer debt was indescribable. Now, as I pay off my student loans, I’m having to remind myself of these things as well. But it’s totally worth it to watch those balances go down!

  18. This is just really encouraging to read. I’m a single mom and it’s a struggle just to pay the living expenses, let alone debt! I work 3 jobs right now just trying to save up for a car so I don’t have a huge car payment and can pay it off quickly. I hate debt for all the reasons you listed above.

  19. It’s awesome that you and your family were able to sacrifice and become debt free. That’s a goal very few people can accomplish, myself included. Hopefully one day. šŸ™‚

  20. It feels so nice to be debt free, you can add more to your savings especially if you have kids or if you’re planning to have a bigger family. I think it’s wonderful that you gave it your best to pay it off as fast as you could.

  21. Wow!! Congratulations !! Good for you! It’s so hard not getting what you want because you learn to always live today as your last… but it’s not! I’m trying to stop spending as well and save up for future goals. I stop spending on one thing but pour money in something else.. oh boy, feels like vicious cycle.

  22. Financial peace is a huge requirement for everyone. With the rise of mortgage and debts advanced financial planning is needed. Students should especially look after their debts.

  23. This is awesome !! Being debt free is super important to freedom its sad how many people don’t realize it and become slaves to heir debt

  24. I do have a mortgage but that’s different from credit card debt. When I divorced we zero’ d our credit cards and I have paid mine off every month since. I love the feeling.

  25. I can relate to this! We are in the process of paying off our student loans, and there is so much more room for generosity and freedom of choice when your paycheck isn’t going to debt. Thanks for sharing this. Very inspiring!

  26. I’m so glad I came across your post today. I just found out that I don’t have enough resources to pay for my education (granted, I was planning on going for a second Bachelor’s, so I can apply for medical school). My husband and I set a plan in motion to become debt free, but I totally lost track of it and came up with every excuse possible not to stick to our plan.

    So, now I am really contemplating on sitting back down and going at it head first! No excuses. Our issue is that we only have my husband’s disability and I am a caregiver for both my son and husband. So working hasn’t been the easiest for me. Boy, have I tried!

    Anyway! Thank you for this! For some reason, I feel like I really needed to read this today!

  27. Being debt free is so important to feeling free!!! I am on my way to being debt free and I’m absolutely loving the feeling! Great job at inspiring others to not fall for the whole being in debt is normal cliche!!!

  28. This is a great post! A lot of people have personal debt and I know it can be a real challenge to get out of.. but it is possible and you have proven that!

  29. So many comments and all supportive! I agree with your ideas, bad debt is a bad debt, and a sacrifice is needed to get out of it as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  30. This is amazing! I learned it the hard way. We had more debt than we could pay off and then had no choice but to stop buying stuff (obviously!). I didn’t think much about not buying new things then, but when I could finally think straight I realized how much I didn’t need a lot of stuff! I stopped buying too many things and started using the ones I have already! I can’t tell what a great weapon I feel this is! Knowing this makes you so much money (cuz you are not wasting it). Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

  31. My family’s been in this situation and I’m glad that we are out of it. It’s such a relief to be in control and not worry wether our paychecks will be enough to buy food or pay for our car loan etc etc! I’ve had many sleepless nights thinking how will I come up with extra cash just to buy a simply meal. Makes me tear just thinking about it, but I am out of that situation and I’ve learn my lesson. Love your post!

  32. Our whole married life we have worked hard planned ahead for future. Credit cards are paid off monthly. Big purchases are discussed and planned. Saving for unexpected bills when something breaks. You have written a wounderful post

  33. I am in the struggle of getting a plan together to be debt free. I have lots of student loans that need to be paid down. There always seems to be something that “comes up” like car maintenance that cost $1,000 last month. It’s hard to get ahead!

    1. I agree, there always seems to be something that comes up. Try saving a small emergency fund and start sinking funds for vehicles, clothes, gifts and those types of things. Then pay down your debt. That way those things that come up won’t derail you as much.

  34. Congrats on being debt free! This is a very inspiring and motivating post. My sister loves reading money saving and finance blogs so I am sending your post her way.

  35. Such a great post! I struggle with making sacrifices in order to reach my financial goals. It’s hard to give up an immediate reward (such as new makeup from Sephora. LOL!) In exchange for financial freedom months or even years later.

    1. Thank you! I struggle with Urban Decay make-up but it lasts so long that I don’t have to buy it often. Sometimes I even ask my mom to buy it for me as a gift for my birthday or Christmas.

  36. Today’s society is such a credit driven one – I’ve never been in debt and I’m so grateful but it seems these days people buy something they want and then work out how to pay for it later. Good on you for getting rid of your debt.

  37. What an interesting post! We are working on paying our mortage off early and hope to be debt free really soon. I’m glad that all these sacrifices actually helped you to spend more time with your family and enjoy experiences together instead of things.

  38. Great job on paying off your debt! I would be interested to know if you are continuing to make the same sacrifices to pay off your mortgage early. We have avoided consumer debt like the plague, but paying off the mortgage just seems never ending. I would love to hear what tips and tricks you have at this point if you plan to pay the mortgage off early.

    1. We are currently saving our emergency fund and making a lot of the same sacrifices. We have however splurged some and have had a lot of emergencies pop up. We are back on track and trying to stick to the plan as much as possible. I don’t know why but it seems harder to make the sacrifices once the debt was paid off. Even still, we haven’t changed much, just a few extras here and there that we had been denying ourselves.

    1. The faster you can do it the more likely you are to actually finish. If you truly want to get out of debt, be intense and get it over with so you can start living your life. I know some people that don’t want to give up certain things and they are still in debt. It is easier, mentally, to be intense and get it over with than dragging it out for years. That’s my opinion anyway, to each their own:).

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