People often wonder how we stay debt-free with no regrets since we still live a frugal lifestyle.
Today, I want to share with you just how cruel life can be and how to stand up for the financial freedom you’ve achieved.
Wouldn’t it be nice to stay debt-free once you’ve achieved your financial goals?
The choices we make change the path that we take especially when it comes to money.
That means that to stay debt-free life will present you with choices.
Not all of the decisions we make become part of the dream we designed for adulthood.
Even as children we are asked numerous times what we want to be when we grow up.
I had no idea what I was good at but I sure did like police, airplanes, trucks and firemen.
Sometimes I think we are asked this to motivate the brain from a young age.
I’m nowhere in the profession I told my parents I wanted to be when I grew up.
Not even close however, I love what I do but I had to overcome many obstacles.
The biggest challenge was talking in front of people but I’ve since conquered that fear.
By doing so it has allowed me to tick another box off the story of my life.
To Stay Debt-Free Takes More Than Money
Consider what you need to wipe out debt and how you could stay debt-free once you got there.
Just as I had to get past my fear of talking in front of crowds it’s critical to get to the root of the problem.
For example, if you learned that online shopping was a budget crusher what would you do to stop the insanity?
Quitting something cold turkey is one of the easiest ways to put something in the past.
When thinking about ways to stay debt free there was more to it than just money.
It takes a special person to take a financial grip and enjoy what life was intended to be.
Simple without comparison.
Goal Setting Is Real Life
If you’ve never set goals before you’re missing out on opportunities to be where you want to be.
For example, people who have no debt and want to stay debt-free always have a plan.
Goal setting is a plan to achieve something that takes time so either long-term or short-term.
Creating a few goals to eliminate the desire to spend more than you earn can help to stay debt-free.
Let’s have a look at two of our stay debt-free goals for the year because we are often asked why we are still frugal.
- Use a monthly budget = Easy and long-term 12 months renewable every year.
- Couples Communication = Talk about expenses or potential expenses and ways we can save money first as well get a better deal.
These are two things that have worked for us over the past 14 years of marriage, so why change it?
Just because you have no debt doesn’t mean you can go hog-wild with money.
The need to stay debt-free often times can be tougher than the path to get there.
Understanding Where You Came From
If you’re like us you know what it’s like to come from a family that didn’t have much money.
Everyone has a different story that starts with our parents and that’s where our path begins.
Either you were taught about how to save money from a young age or you weren’t.
Perhaps you taught yourself about basic money-saving habits because you wanted to break a cycle.
Whatever the case may be the need to stay debt-free takes you back to the time your path began.
Even if you grew up in a family where money was plenty that doesn’t mean your life will be the same.
Do I want to be broke?
Are savings important to me?
Am I able to fund my retirement?
What do you want from your life and how do you plan to continue that path?
It’s not easy but once you understand the process it’s easier to stay debt-free.
Forget About Stuff
We’ve never had to just have something because it was popular or everyone else was buying it.
If you want to stay debt-free it’s important to remember that stuff doesn’t make you happy.
To be fair, if you’ve made it this far you probably already know that.
The hard part is to stay on the path because once you deviate too far it’s hard to get back on track.
There are people who wipe out their debt and create more debt. You go from being happy to be stressed about money all over again.
It happens and often because debt-freedom is in your hands not anyone else’s.
Saying No To Stay Debt Free
At the start of Canadian Budget Binder, I wrote a post about having the ability to say, no.
Those two letters can be the hardest to say to someone especially when money is involved.
From start to finish people need to be aware of the impact that money can have on them.
When you say no it empowers you because you understand what you can and can’t afford to do.
Many people struggle with saying no because they don’t want others to think they can’t afford something.
There is no shame, trust me I’ve been there and even being debt-free I still have zero issues with the word, no.
Self-Control + No = Zero
Having A Stay Debt Free Mindset
Just because someone has achieved debt-freedom doesn’t mean they are home-free.
Yes, they may be ahead of their times as we are but it’s not easy to stay debt-free.
We continue to use coupons, discount codes and shop for reduced product prices in-store or online.
There will always be a bit of worry because we know that anything could happen.
You have to be on guard for these types of emergencies or it can sink you fast.
Another question we often get asked is why we still shop at the Goodwill, Thrift Shop, Value Village and Bibles For Missions.
The answer is because we can find deals and even though there are odd-priced products or overpriced items you can still save money.
Do we spend the money we worked hard to earn?
You bet we do and it’s for things that we need to be done around the house, holidays and to provide for our son.
This is the path we chose to take because we know it works.
Into retirement, if we are both healthy enough we’ll travel even more than we do now.
There comes a point where what you used to care about the most isn’t that big of a deal at all.
All those matching pillows or artwork that you couldn’t afford but buy on credit anyways.
You don’t sweat the small stuff rather enjoy life which brings us into comparing nothing.
Who cares what other people have?
Seriously, if you want to stay debt-free forget about what anyone else has.
You don’t need it.
Nothing in our house matches and it’s older and needs renovations and we’re ok with that.
Often times comparing is why people go into debt in the first place.
Anyone who is debt-free will tell you that they too don’t care or compare.
Obviously, if you have more money then you know what to do with your path will be different.
Even so, there are plenty of well-to-do millionaires who go broke.
Having big bucks and spending big bucks can deplete financial security fast unless the money is replenished.
Stay Debt-Free In Your Financial Class
It almost seems as if there are different financial classes which we belong to.
Is that even true?
Likely so, and probably where you may have heard the rich run with the rich and the poor hang with the poor.
I just hate that, let me repeat, I just hate that.
It can feel that way but this is where motivation and simplicity of life comes into play.
For example, we will likely never have millions of dollars and could never compete with the spending habits of such a person.
Each class may feel they are not as well off as the next and comparison shots for goals.
Remember what you have or the life you live is someone else’s dream.
Perhaps it’s a good thing to continue your path once you’re debt-free to increase wealth.
On the flip side, it could be a disaster for someone who wants to stay debt-free but takes big bites out of his/her net worth unsuccessfully.
Risk is a bitch and you either score, get a penalty or are kicked off the team.
You Create The Life You Live
It has taken us many years to understand that we get to create the life we want to live.
So what nothing matches in our house and we don’t have the latest television.
To stay debt-free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your money it means you continue to plan your expenses.
In fact, when we were younger somehow we knew this and saved money for a rainy day.
The reality though is that we were creating a path or a life of financial security.
At the time we didn’t know the impact it would have years down the road but now we do.
Since becoming debt-free we understand how certain characteristics for successful money management can impact our lives.
Whether you inherit money, win the lottery or save as we did through frugal living you own the path you create.
Make it, Break it or Shake It.
Discussion: What would you do to stay debt-free once you’re there? Comment below.