What being debt-free means to me

debt free means

I just turned 30 and I have been in debt since I was 19 years old.

This debt does not include a mortgage. It has always consisted of student loans, and for a brief period, a few thousand dollars of credit card debt.

I recently ran my numbers for 2018, looking ahead to the year where I will finally be able to get rid of my debt for the first time in eleven years. 

I should be able to make my last payment in July 2018. That means eight more months of pouring anywhere from $400-$1300 each month toward my debt repayment.

My stretch goal, depending on my side hustles, is to get it done by May 2018.

It is hard for me to explain what this debt has created in my life. For those who have not spent a good proportion of their lives with this burden, it might be strange to imagine what it feels like to know that any dollar coming in is not really yours to spend, that it belongs to someone else.

It is even more difficult to explain what being in debt has done to my relationships, my mental health, and my overall well-being. I have tried. I talked about how my scarcity mindset started to erode my relationship. I talked about how I paid off 7K of debt in 7 months to try and tear through as much of it as I could ASAP. Somehow, in these posts, I don’t know how well I have ever managed to communicate just what being in debt has done to me.

But now that the deadline is fast approaching, I have thought a lot about my why for paying off the last 20K of debt so quickly and what being debt-free will mean to me.

So in honour of my 30th birthday coming and going, here are 30 things I look forward to this year that a debt-free life will afford me:

  1. I’ll be able to get a dog, and know that I will be able to take care of it.
  2. I can take more nights and weekends off from side hustling.
  3. I can treat my mom to lunch more often.
  4. I can buy more lattes.
  5. I can stop thinking about how that $4 for my latte should have been used to pay off debt.
  6. I will be able to treat dear friends to a glass of wine or a coffee without stressing so much.
  7. I can go back to physiotherapy, even though my benefits are maxed out.
  8. I will up my monthly donations to two charities near and dear to my heart.
  9. I will take care of my health in ways that I might hesitate to with debt.
  10. I will TRIPLE my monthly contributions to my Tax-Free Savings Account.
  11. I can build my emergency fund into a real F-U fund.
  12. I want to travel to new countries and new cities.
  13. I will increase my savings toward the wedding I might one day want.
  14. I want to go out and see more live music.
  15. I can send loved ones care packages.
  16. I will pay for music lessons or art classes.
  17. I can ditch side hustles that don’t fulfill me.
  18. I want to take more road trips.
  19. I will buy books that I love and want to have on my bookshelf.
  20. I will have more freedom to build a business if I want.
  21. I will enjoy the comfort of knowing that my emergency fund will go way further in case of a job loss.
  22. I will start seriously saving for a down payment on my own home.
  23. I will never have to make relationship decisions based on my financial situation.
  24. I can take more risks in my career.
  25. I can pay for language learning materials.
  26. I will drink the occasional $20, and not $10, bottle of wine.
  27. I can actually begin to contemplate the expenses associated with having children, and think more seriously about whether I would like to start a family one day.
  28. I will buy all the yarn to knit my terrible creations.
  29. I will visit my family – who are scattered across Canada – more often.
  30. I will know that I have infinitely more options, choices, and freedom.

What is your why for paying down debt? What are you so looking forward to when the day of your final payment comes?

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