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. 


Michelle P said...

I can't wait until we have less debt. I'm hoping that when everything is done and paid off, that we don't start frivolously spending money again.

judy said...

I hope we wont ever go back to it again I want to pay off our debts and then start saving for our future!


slugmama said...

In my experience, once you pay down debt and pay off your house, you've learned whether you know it or not, NOT to ever live beyond your means again.
It's something you just can't bring yourself to do!lol
You will find you inflate the old lifestyle a bit and that's ok....as long as it doesn't cause you to put anything on credit.

Congratulations on being car payment free now! I am sure the truck gives a smoother ride because of it. lol

Rose said...

Congratulations! It is a great feeling to have that burden off your back. When you are a slave to money, life can be tough. We will pay off DH's pickup in December! I have been saving for our property tax and irrigation bill due in November. Come January, we will have a pay raise. Well, sort of. You see, we need to buy snow tires for 2 cars and wood pellets to heat our house, so in January, we will be paying towards those bills. I think it is a never ending cycle. You pay one thing off, but then there are other bill to take their place. I feel like a hamster running in the wheel sometimes, but still, paying off a car is great because the title is in your name and you own it!

Sharon said...

Congrats on paying off the car loans! I can't wait for that to happen to us!!

Debs said...

Hi Martha, just wanted to say I miss you posting. Hoping and praying that all is well.

Janet Shaw said...

Congrats on being car payment free! Good Work!
Were working on credit card debt. :) one day at a time