5 Benefits of Paying Off A Crap Ton of Debt
Every once in awhile, when I am feeling super motivated, I like to make lists in hopes of organizing my entire life in one evening. It usually starts out the same. The kids go to bed and I get out the giant bin of mail that needs to be dealt with, grab my planner and a notebook, and start writing out all of the things that we need to schedule, do, and pay off. Then my husband joins me and I tell him how we are going to fix and conquer the world, basically.
In the past these fix-everything-nights usually revolved around the list of bills that we had to pay during the month. It was the exact same from month to month. Credit cards, student loans, car payments, medical bills, more credit cards, etc. The places & totals we had to pay never changed from month to month. One day while we were packing up our house I came across one of my old planners from 2012 (because doesn’t everyone save planners from year to year)? As I was thumbing through the pages I came across a list of bills and totals from one of my fix-everything-nights back in 2012. What I saw made me stop immediately. On one of the pages was the same list of places and totals to pay that I just wrote out now in 2017. Every. Single. One. Wait, this was from 2012, that can’t be right! Oh, but it can. That is when I realized that we are still strapped to the same debt that we had five years ago! Five years ago.
Let that sink in. For the past five years my husband and I had been picking up extra jobs and extra shifts just trying to get all of our debt paid off while getting absolutely nowhere. Something had to give. Something big had to happen. We had been living like freaking hamsters on a wheel sacrificing so much time together and time with our kids so we could work extra hours and jobs to keep paying the same minimum payments on the same bills for f-i-v-e years! I was so tired of feeling like hamsters on a wheel. It would be totally worth the sacrifice if we were getting somewhere with our debt, but we weren’t. And it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Since my husband and I sold our house we have been able to pay off over $55,000 in debt! Multiple credit cards – gone. Both car payments – gone. His student loans – gone. Medical bills – gone. Literally the only debt we have now are my student loans, which rival a small mortgage thanks to five years at a private college, but at least that is it! Here are my favorite benefits that I have felt since paying off our debt.
- Where did the mail go? Seriously, you guys. Where did it go? We used to get so much mail. So many monthly statements and letters reminding us that our payment is past due (yeah, like we didn’t know that). It was so much paper to keep track of! And if you know me, you know that even more than hating clutter I hate paper clutter! I used to hate checking the mail because it would be yet another reminder of something else that was due. Now we literally get nothing except birthday cards from grandparents, wedding invitations, and welcome to the neighborhood junk mail. Good things. The best part? I don’t need to spend time archiving all of those monthly statements and letters in our filing cabinet anymore!
- No more annoying phone calls reminding us that it is now time to make a payment. Now when a number I don’t recognize calls me I don’t go into a panic trying to think about what must be late now.
- Ownership. We own our cars now. Now all of the sudden I feel this weird sense of ownership of my car & want to take care of it even more than I did before. It’s mine. And you better believe that we are going to run our cars into the ground and I don’t even care. I am loving not having a car payment every month – let alone two car payments! I had a huge life lesson in regards to car payments before paying it off. I had waited a few weeks to muster the courage to go pay off my car because it was our biggest bill to pay off. I couldn’t bring myself to write a check for that much money and as my mom reminded me, I already paid that much when I bought the stupid car. But, it didn’t feel like I did because it was all in a loan. All I saw was the monthly payments but not the total. But when I was forced to write a check for that much it felt much more real & became personal. I hope I remember that someday when we need to buy another car.
- I can go grocery shopping and buy things that I need at Target without worrying that we aren’t going to have enough to cover everything else that we need to pay. I don’t have to play the game of stocking up on groceries and gas before automatic payments come out because then after that we might be negative until payday. That sucked. A lot.
- Less stress = healthier marriage + better sex + happier kids. I promised you that I would always keep it real in this blog, and well, truth.
I know that we are not the only ones that were tied to a crap ton of debt. I know so because a lot of you have told me that. And it is because of that that I have committed to being super real about our debt free journey. I’ve had debt consolidation agencies reach out to me asking me to review them & mention them in my blog. Nope, not going to do it. Why? Because I don’t believe in just moving things around. I believe in making huge sacrifices and working hella hard. For my husband and I that meant selling our house when the market was hot so we could make a giant profit on our house. What are some things that you could sacrifice each month? Maybe you aren’t ready to sell your house and move in with your parents (although if this is even an option for you I FULLY support it and think you totally should!). Maybe you just need to give up eating out. My husband and I spent a ridiculous amount of money in a three month span one time eating out. It was ridiculous! You should look and see how much you spend eating out each month and I promise that it will astound you! Maybe you need to sacrifice that gym membership you aren’t using, or that car that you don’t really need, or maybe you could go down to one car for awhile. Being debt free isn’t going to just happen because you want it to. If that were the case we would have been debt free a long time ago! But it is going to require a sacrifice that you feel. Oh, you are worried about what other people will think? Who. Freaking. Cares. Just because you sell your house and move your family in with your parents, or sell your fancy car to drive an old car that you can pay for in cash, or go from one car to two, doesn’t mean that it is going to be forever. It is a temporary sacrifice and it is SO worth it, friends! I can’t stress that enough.
What can you sacrifice so that you can live debt free? What are you willing to give up or significantly reduce so you can pay more on your payments each month? You can do it! Seriously. If we can do this you can, too!