October 04, 2011
Does your spending change as you pay down debt?
We paid off our car in July and we made the final payment on my husband's truck this week. It's a good feeling. Two years ago I looked ahead to this time as I knew that once these two vehicles were paid off, it would jumpstart the further reduction of our debt and also enable us to put more in savings.
There's something about having extra money in the budget each month to put on the remaining bills or put in savings. It's just a little bit of piece of mind.
We are not yet to our final goal of paying off all consumer debt and then the mortgage. I have been thinking about the psychology of this scenario. When you've become accustomed to a smaller amount of money to spend on food or anything else for that matter, what happens when you pay off debt and have more money you can spend? Do you relax the purse strings and spend money?
Yes and no.
With my getting busier as I am doing more volunteer work, I have added some money in the budget so that we could eat out once a week if we would like. Now when I say eat out, we are not big spenders in restaurants. We go to Subway, Wendy's or out for pizza. We eat at better restaurants for special celebrations such as our anniversary. Other than that, nothing else will change.
What I am experiencing is satisfaction that we have met a goal of getting two major bills paid off. Living consciously of where our money is going, of how to save more money out of our budget has definitely become a new way of life to me.
I'll never go back to the way it used to be. I'll never be irresponsible with our hard earned money.
When you start out looking at a mountain of debt and you are on a limited income, it is too much to look at the big picture. The worst thing you can do is to think it is too much to face so you give up. Take it one bill at a time. Stick with it and in time, yes it takes some time, you will see your hard work and your "stick with it" attitude paying off.
Hang in there. It will happen.