Over the weekend I found myself listening to Dave Ramsey. I often listen to him when I feel like I need a kick in the pants. Even though Michael and I are very dedicated and loving living debt free… there are moments when I get impatient with saving and waiting.
While I was listening to good ol’ Dave I realized there have been so many second and third order side effects to being debt free. Here are a few I am thankful for:
Discovering what it means to dream big: It wasn’t until the debt was gone that Michael and I began to have real dreams. Not just goals or hopes. But big life changing dreams. For us these dreams include travels, living in a place of our choosing, being a future stay at home parent, and creating a business built on helping others not continuing the status quo. These dreams are so much bigger and so much more meaningful than what I used to think of as dreams.
A new found tool to make things happen: When we were first getting out of debt budgeting was a huge pain in the ass. It sometimes caused arguments and it was painful to watch such a huge portion of our hard earned money go to past events (like school debt and past vacations). 4 years later I LOVE the budget. Every month I get to see our money work for us. It works towards dreams and building the life we want. It goes towards blessing others and being a loving impact on our community. When an opportunity comes up budgeting adds fuel to the fire making it feel like anything is possible.
Once it’s done it’s done (no financial hang overs): This is one of my favorites. I love returning to work after a vacation and continuing toward other goals. It was terrible going on a great vacation like our honeymoon only to return home to a huge bill. We don’t have to live that feeling of regret ever again. When we spend money on a large purchase there is always a lot of thought that goes into it because we had to save for it! And once the money is spent there isn’t a void or a moment of wishing we hadn’t spent that money because that money was only for that vacation/car/whatever.
The ability to love others more fully: I love setting aside money and time to give away to others. And when we budget, I have peace of mind knowing that our life is taken care of. It makes giving so much more enjoyable. It never feels like a stretch or an inconvenience. I know how much I can give freely each month and it fills me with joy to do so.
Every dollar matters: Since becoming debt free and seeing the power of the budget, every dollar has more meaning. I fully feel the impact of every dollar earned and spent. It has inspired me to use our money for things I believe in every day. For me this means not spending my money on genetically modified foods, buying organic produce to reduce the use of pesticides in my body and the environment, and paying more attention to where products in my house come from. I care more about knowing what is going into my body and my home. Being debt free opens my eyes to a world of choice. I don’t feel blindly driven by adds or popularity because I know I am free to make my own decisions.