9 Reasons Paying Off Debt was one of the Best Decisions I Ever Made

It has now been a few years since my wife and I paid off all of our non-mortgage debt but the benefits still remain. It is absolutely one of the best decisions I ever made and I can’t help but wish that everyone I know could experience some of the joys of having all of your debt paid off.It has now been a few years since my wife and I paid off all of our non-mortgage debt, but the benefits still remain.

It is absolutely one of the best decisions I ever made and I can’t help but wish that everyone I know could experience some of the joys of having all of your debt paid off.

In this article, I just want to take a couple minutes and go over a few of my favorite things about having my debt paid off.

1 Weight and pressure relief

I think hands down the best thing for me about it has been being able to not feel the pressure that I felt from having debt. I know not everyone feels this pressure but for some reason it was one that I always carried around and it felt like I had a monkey on my back that I couldn’t shake off.

It felt like someone was standing on my chest when I laid down at night.

Just being able to eliminate that pressure and the resulting peace that came from not having to owe money to anyone has been amazing.

2 My wife and I have had WAY fewer fights about money

This one was an unexpected benefit for me even though I knew that many marriages come to an end because of fights about money.

I didn’t realize how many of our fights were actually money related until we got out of debt.  It was only then that I could see clearly that so many of them were fueled by pressure created by tight financial circumstances.

3I’ve been able to reach financial goals faster

Since I no longer have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in payments to credit card companies, car loan companies, and everything else,  I’m now able to move much quicker towards my financial goals.

Saving up for our kids college or saving for retirement or even saving for a vacation is a whole lot easier and quicker than it ever has been before.

4The feeling of owning something outright is just plain awesome

Because I was used to borrowing to get everything in my life, I didn’t really know what it actually felt like to own a lot of things without someone having a claim on it.

I still remember the day that my wife and I went into Fifth Third Bank and paid off our first car. I’ll never forget the day we got the title in the mail and the feeling of knowing that we own this car and the bank doesn’t have any claim on it.

It’s hard to describe if you haven’t felt it before and if you came out of the same type of spending and borrowing habits that I had. It is still, to this day, an incredibly memorable moment in my life where I had that first taste of owning something outright instead of having the bank with their hands all over it.

5 I’m able to give more generously

This has been something that Linda and I have been dreaming about for years. I still remember when we were going through this challenging process of paying off our debt and really cutting way back and living on way less than we were earning and all those sacrifices that we were making.

The thing that kept us motivated was knowing two things:

  1. It was only a temporary measure. It wasn’t going to be like this forever.
  2. We were going to be able to give way more generously as a result of going through this and fighting this battle.

This may be the most fun and exciting part of having our debt paid off. It’s just having the opportunity, having the resources, to take action when I see a particular need, rather than saying, “I wish I could help’ but I can’t afford it.”

It also has allowed us to support various ministries and charities that we are proud to be able to give financially to. When we were in debt, we just didn’t have any money or any means to support them financially.

6 It has greatly minimized the chance of financial disaster in my life

I still remember living paycheck-to-paycheck. Knowing that any little thing that could pop up – even as simple as a flat tire – could completely derail my financial life and could set off a chain of events that could lead me to financial collapse.

The main reason was that there was absolutely no margin for error – everything was right on the absolute line or already over the line. If my car broke down and I had to miss a day at work, then I wouldn’t get paid and then we wouldn’t be able to afford groceries and whatever else.

Once the debt was paid off or even once we started in that direction, there was enough margin that we could have minor emergencies popup and we could handle them without any major setbacks.

7 It shifted my momentum forward instead of going backwards

I noticed that as I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, I found myself just slowly slipping and spiraling downward financially. One late payment would add on top of another and all the interest payments they were making to the debt were making things tighter and just forcing me to go backwards instead of moving forward.

Once I began paying off my debt and making forward progress, then all of sudden I’d notice the opposite in fact. It was like a snowball rolling down a hill and I would pay off one debt and I’d have more money to pay off the next debt.

Then, after I got all my debt paid off, I was able to focus on saving for retirement or saving for a vacation and doing it much quicker than I was before. The feeling of that momentum behind me, moving me forward is really fun and really exciting.

8 I was no longer a slave to my boss

This one sounds funny but I used to feel like my boss owned me – in that I was a slave to my job. The main reason I felt this way is because I was completely dependent on him, or so I felt, for my survival.

With no margin for error, with no buffer or anything else, I felt I was trapped and that I was the furthest thing from being able to have my Jerry Maguire moment where I could just walk out at any given point.

Now, I’ve written a bit about what to do when you hate your job and how you should handle it and I don’t think storming out is the best approach at all. But it is nice when you know that you can survive for a month or more without your boss.

I was dependent on the income from my job and that was all I could see. After paying off my debt and beginning to build up a little bit of savings, I immediately saw the benefit and I finally began to feel less like a slave to my boss and my job. I still needed my job, but I just felt a little more in control.

9 I wanted to set a good example for my kids

At the time when we paid off our debt, we didn’t have any children yet but I knew they were coming. Now we have our first son and I’m getting a little bit of a glimpse into what it means to set a good example for him.

I’m excited that we’re able to show him a better way of living. We’re able to show him the benefits of not living in debt and all the wonderful things that come with that. Rather than giving him an example to model after of living in chaos and paycheck-to-paycheck living that I used to live in.

Anyway, these are just a few of the reasons that paying off my debt was one of the best things I’ve done.

I would love to hear from you in the comments about why it’s been great for you or why you think it would be awesome!

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  1. Linda

    Great advice! All of the above should be presented to couples who are engaged to be married.

    I would think that being on the same page with regards to spending/paying down debt….would be something they should think about BEFORE marriage. As you said above…less things to argue about.

  2. Jason Cabler

    I have to agree, the benefits of getting out of debt are endless! We’ve been out of debt for about the same amount of time you have, and I can tell you it’s taken a ton of pressure and worry off of us.

    • Bob

      I know you know what I am talking about Jason!

  3. Kaylea

    Ideas on how to get your spouse on the same page?

    • Bob

      Kaylea, that is not always an easy task and the answer is different for everyone, but we are going to be talking a lot about debt the next couple weeks and hopefully you will get some good ideas out of these conversations –

  4. Nthambeleni

    Great advice. I will be getting my thirteen cheque this month and I have decided to settle my car which is owing R26500.

    • Bob


  5. Tim Woodyard

    Bob, I’m debt free too including the mortgage. Now I want to get to the next level-millionaire.

    • Bob

      Love it Tim!

  6. Kathy

    Sounds great but if you have lost you income – How can you do this???

    • Bob

      Kathy, there are 2 sides of the equation: earn more or spend less. We are going to be talking a lot about debt the next couple weeks and will have some ideas on both sides for ya – stay tuned!

  7. frank & dianne

    Ive raised 5 children, moved nine times, worked the same job for 32 yrs, We have no retirement and still owe quarter of million and 8 grandchildren. I wish I could have your feel good debt free life. Frank

    • Bob

      Frank, I would be a fool to tell you that you have an easy path ahead of you, but what is the alternative? Once you get focused on a goal, even the journey is exciting –

  8. Jenny

    Amen! Even with 4 kids and being in our mid-forties, my husband and I are committed to paying off all debt, much of it medical related. We can see the snowball effect after only 6 weeks and it has made our family life more cheerful, among other benefits. Our goal is to be saving for the future within the next year and to be mortgage-free by age 60.

    • Bob

      Love it Jenny! So happy for you!

  9. Irene

    Hi Bob. I Totally agree with you on this. I thought about it long and hard after following one of your online courses nut couldn’t see the light just yet. With everything so on the margin hoe gold I start somewhere and start this snowball effect on my debt. Well a lot of tears and prayers later I just started being stingy when going for shopping and trusting God more than my finances on paper…. Well it has now been almost ten months since I started and I already crossed one creditor off my list and God willing I am in the process of crossing even 2 more off by September this year. I am soo excited because that also puts us in a better position already not to stress so much and looking at the next one on the list that I can tackle. .. Thanks so much for the good advice and for sharing with us.. Irene South Africa

    • Bob

      I love hearing this Irene!

  10. Christina

    We paid off one vehicle last November and the other one 2 months ago. It is a great feeling! Unfortunately it caused our credit to take a nose dive. You would think paying off a loan would improve your credit, but it doesnt. It’s so backward. And frustrating. I’ve resigned myself that we will just have to buy a house in cash because we haven’t figured out how to play the credit game without risking racking up a ton of debt- and I refuse the latter. So I’m trusting that God’s math is greater than mine, and he will provide the money for us to buy our house someday- debt free! Because I tell you what, we don’t have any credit card debt (thank God) but having to use them and play this money bouncing game makes me feel like a slave to them, and it is tiring.

  11. Cindy

    Thanks for the uplifting article. I relate with all of them on the flipside. Hope to someday soon feel the relief you wrote about. We are looking at paying off a large loan we took out for a remodel and looming college costs for our firstborn. I am working on starting a blog to document our journey as we simplify our life and try to change our future.

    • Bob

      Keep at it Cindy and you will!

  12. Theresa

    Great stuff! I’m not there yet but making strides to being debt free by 2017. My generosity got the better of me. I was always trying to help others. Can’t believe the mistakes I made using my credit cards for others and believing they were going to pay it back. Or giving large sums of cash and whenever I had an emergency I had to turn to my credit card. I’ve learned and am down to my last $5600 in credit card debt. Started at $19,000. Haven’t had a car note in many years that’s why I couldn’t understand why my cc balance was so high but I was continuing to spend and give money without a budget. Now I’m following Dave Ramsey’s plan and it has helped tremendously. The budget is what makes the difference. You have to be disciplined with your money. Yes I still make errors by over spending on some things like lunch out but I try to correct it as soon as possible.

  13. Ashley Kangootui

    Thanks Bob for the insight,really helpful for me and my wife.

  14. Angie

    I am on my way to being debt free as well!! My goal is by September car & credit cards, then on to my mortgage!! Love your posts!

    • Bob

      Awesome Angie!

  15. Desheree

    Your articles are so inspiring. It motivates me and my hubby to be debt off. Everyday I never failed to read every email I received from you. Your tips are very effective! Thank you

    • Bob

      I love to hear that Desheree!

  16. Viv

    How am I reading this just as I am about to take a loan to get a car? *sigh*

  17. Eddie

    Getting into debt was a lot easier than paying it off! I’ve been in debt for about 4 years now and it’s now gotten to the point that i’m at $20k. That really hit me hard. This year I’m commented to paying it all off by my birthday (Aug). I started back in Feb and I’m 2 credit cards down. I still have about $16k left but I know I can do it and I can’t wait till it’s all gone. I’ll never let myself get into that position again.

    • Lauren (SeedTime Editor)

      Good for you, Eddie! Keep up the hard work!

  18. Kathy

    Hi, I love reading all the articles, Thank you. My husband and I are , Lord willing, and I mean that literally because we must rely on his help, but we are, with His guidance and help, 3 years from being debt free !!! That may sound like a long time, but for us it is wonderful just to know that there is an end in sight. Our major problems came from both of us having to go on disability within 2 years of each other and awesome medical needs and costs. About two years ago God brought across our path a wonderful Christian financial Planner/ counsellor through a seminar at Church. ( that in itself is a wonderful story of God’s provision ). In any event, He is assisting us and when we started the process, we had no hope of being out of debt in our lifetime ! We are paying our bills and are on track, so that is the most awesome thing is to have a deadline date where it will become reality. That keeps us motivated.

  19. [email protected]

    “The borrow is slave of the lender” isn’t written in Proverbs for no reason. I hadn’t thought of being slave to one’s boss when reading this verse countless times in the past, but it is very true. Posts like this one inspire me to keep pressing on in by debt-free journey. Only a few more months to go!

    • Bob

      Good for you David!