Life After Debt

Finances – Life After Debt

It’s been a wonderful first summer debt free. It’s brought growth, planning, and fun. We’ve gotten into a groove with the new budget and figured out the things we want to put our extra dollars into for the rest of the year. There were many lessons we learned while paying off debt, but one in particular has prominently transferred into this time as well. It’s the lesson of delayed gratification.

It sounds strange. Why would we be working through that when we now have extra money to do what we want? Well, here’s the thing we didn’t really think about or hear in all the “Debt Free Screams” we watched.

All of our extra dollars were going into one main funnel of paying off the mortgage. We dreamed about doing a bunch of different things when we were done. We thought we’d take all this money we used towards the mortgage and would be able to travel the world, finish renovating our house, update our wardrobe, get a puppy, etc. But what we realized is that we were taking one funnel of money and now splitting it up into eight various categories. Suddenly we realized that what we wanted in all these things were still going to take time to save for. Yes, we can absolutely do it all. It’ll just take time.

It was kind of disappointing and a shock to Michael and I at first. We wanted to make big impact and realized that we were still working with a smaller budget. It seemed slow but as each month rolled on, it all became more rewarding. We saw our bank account growing. Our yard was finally getting a bit of a needed makeover. We put a deposit down for our puppy. We got a few needed clothes and then enjoyed a couple of trips this summer.

We had originally planned to go somewhere in Ontario for our celebratory trip of being debt free. We were going to spend a fair amount of money to stay in a fancy area and enjoy a day at a spa. But then we realized that all of this money we were saving for was really going to one day of fun. What would we do the rest of the time? So, we reworked our plan and talked about what we enjoy doing. What were some things we would take enjoyment out of? That’s when we decided to go to Stratford, our tried-and-true favourite place.

Instead of spending all of our money on one day of fun, we were able to stay for three nights. We enjoyed delicious food at a reasonable price, kayaking, watching a play, going for a massage, shopping, reading down by the river, and lots of walks. It was one of the best times we’ve had away in years. We laughed a lot and had fun doing the things we love together.

All the hard work of paying off the mortgage has paid off and we’re starting to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We’re having fun and planning for the future.

Something I’ve appreciated as well is seeing our savings increase. We’re squaring away a bit each month and my peace and security are growing each time we save a little more. There is victory in crossing that financial finish line and feeling the freedom to take back control. It’s caused me to really look to Jesus and ask Him what He wants us to do next. We knew He had the goal for us to pay off our house. Now we’re in the process of seeking Him out to know what He desires next. It’s still His money to do with what He pleases. Learning that mindset has kept us accountable to keeping the budget and trying to save, spend, and give His money wisely. It can be tempting to wave caution to the wind and do whatever we want to, but I know that mindset can put us back into debt. Waiting patiently and applying delayed gratification while we wait for the Lord’s next steps keeps us grounded in Him.

What are you learning about your finances? Is there something that the Lord is speaking to you about in this area of your life?

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