Select Page

The emotional benefits to becoming debt-free

Awhile back, we became debt-free.  It was amazing to realize we weren’t indebted to anyone, that after we paid our living expenses, we could decide what to do with our money.

But the benefits to becoming debt-free extend beyond the financial.  There was an internal refining process to our family that transformed us. And we walked away from our debt-free journey all the better because of it.

So what were these benefits to shedding the debt?  Here are a few.

Once we made a goal to become debt-free, we started communicating better.

Because a financial goal like becoming debt-free requires a plan, that plan required communication.  It meant my husband and I were going to sit down regularly and talk about our budget, our spending, and our money goals.  This seeped in to other areas, like how we were doing emotionally with all this, and how our desires for the future depended so much on our financial health.  It opened the doors to talk about deeper things that really matter, so our relationship deepened.

Because we wanted to be debt-free so badly, it dimmed the sparkle to other money desires.

We could taste the benefits of debt-free living, since every month we were closer to our goal.  Not owing a dime to anyone became more delectable than any whirlwind vacation or new kitchen appliance.  Sure, those things are nice, but they just started seeming… unnecessary, once we were unified in our worthy financial goal.  Our souls’ desires aligned closer to those things in life that really matter, instead of what the culture tells us to love.

Because we finally had a workable financial plan, we had hope.

We know what it’s like to just assume you’ll have school loans forever.  We never had a big shovel, so digging out of our debt hole, however small, seemed impossible.  But once we unified and set this goal, it seemed reachable.

I’m not talking about a vague goal like “becoming debt-free.”  We had a specific goal of completely paying of X dollars by X date.  We decided that all the money coming from this blog would go to my school loans.  There would be no extra splurges in life.  It wasn’t easy—it was work.  But we had hope, and that made all the difference. We woke up, excited and eager to see how we could throw more money toward our goal.

rolling coins

Because we had financial hope, we decided to change our family tree.

Once we learned not only that it’s good to be debt-free, but that we could be debt-free, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  And that light is living differentlyWe can choose to embrace simple living because no one else is clamoring for our money.

We can set aside money for our kids’ future, and set them off on their own journey without a burden of debt.  We can make concrete plans now, in our early 30s, to retire with dignity, have the necessary funds to spend time with our grandkids, and enjoy giving to causes we want to bless because some 35 years ago, we chose to get out of debt and not let money rule every decision we make.

The takeaway

I don’t want to paint a rosy picture that being debt-free solves everything.  Economic setbacks still happen.  Layoffs still happen.  And unexpected money pits still happen.  But being debt-free means instead of those things don’t hitting us like a mack truck, they’re an annoyance. They don’t have to change our entire lifestyle. They further confirm our conviction that living without debt means having more options, having more peace.

And while we may never be rich, we can be wealthy in those areas where we want to be wealthy—in relationships, in experiences, and in supporting causes that matter for eternity.

• If you’re not debt-free, but you’re on a plan, be encouraged.  You can do it, no matter how small your income is.  It’s not easy, and it takes sacrifice and hard work, but it is so worth it.

• If you’re not debt-free, and you haven’t really considered the benefits to shedding the debt, I ask you to sit down and make a list of the pros to hanging on to debt.  Even student loan debt.  What are the benefits?  What are you missing out on by holding on to this burden?

• If you’ve decided to get out of debt, but don’t know where to start, head here for nitty-gritty stuff.

If you’re debt-free, share your celebration stories!  And if you’re on your way, share lessons you’re learning on your journey.

top photo source

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Nicole

    My husband and I entered marriage without any debt and we had no idea what a luxury that was. We now have a mortgage and tight finances, and so the looming payment each month is sometimes difficult to bear.

    We have, however, always bought used cars with cash and stayed away from any other purchases that we didn’t have the funds for. And even now, we are working in odd and end ways to raise extra funds to pay down the debt we owe on our home-like having a big yard sale next week.

    Though our home is great and comfy (and a modest size and cost), we still feel that we jumped too soon into this land of debt and will do things differently the next time around.

    Thanks for your post, I especially like the fact that this deepens your relationship.

    Nicole´s last blog post…Introducing Next Week’s Series

  2. Miko's Girl

    T&I were debt-free until I decided to be a stay at home mom. There is a freedom in knowing that you owe no man.

    My husband has a strong legacy of being debt free. His parents have had only one mortgage – they saved money to pay cash for the next house up. They have always bought their cars with cash. They have no credit card debt. My husband’s parents paid for his education in cash. They had this lifestyle when they were just married and he was a Lieutenant in the Navy and maintained it throughout their 51 year marriage. They are frugal almost to a fault.

  3. Valerie R.

    I love Dave Ramsey too…we’re in the midst of our debt payoff journey, but we have a plan and a goal. Although, we’ve definitely had our share of setbacks this year! Murphy won’t leave us alone! We keep plugging along and there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Just having plan instead of doing things aimlessly has been a tremendous help. And when my DH also decided he wanted to read TMMO for himself (he had discovered the Dave Ramsey show on his XM radio on his own!) things really took off. I can attest to the fact that when both you and your spouse are on the same page, it can really strengthen the marriage! I just wish we would have figured all this out years earlier.

  4. Ginny Carson

    Our house has a plan, usual tenacity and multiple challenges. I wake up most mornings wanting to kick Dave Ramsey in the teeth and then I try to apply that energy to “gazelle intensity”. Hearing someone speak from the other side is both crushing and up-lifting. Understanding that the work we have already put in could actually lead to accomplishment gives me that scary kind of hope; understanding the length of the road reminds me of the significance of the burden – and the necessity to move on. I do dare to hope though and little by little we’re hacking away toward the free and open space of which you speak . Thank you for the post.

  5. Jennie

    My husband and I are currently taking financial peace university. I have never been so relieved about our finances, we have a direction we are moving together and that alone has brought me a lot of peace!

  6. Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

    I love this post, Tsh. A conference I am speaking at on frugal living incorporates many of these emotional benefits. Seeing as over 50% of marriages end in divorce with money being the single most common denominator, debt free living isn’t just about not owing money. It’s so much more than that.
    You have touched on the crux of it. As someone who is debt free, but whose husband has been unemployed now for two months…we are ok.
    I am not panicked. We are not at each other’s throats. Our five children are learning so much because we had a plan for this and they are understanding in a tangeable way, the fruit of what it means to live under your means. Not as a pat on the back because this isn’t to say, I have absolutely no angst, but to say the long term vision of debt free living is SO worth it, on so many levels.
    Any one can do it. It’s not about making a lot of money (although that helps..I think…I wouldn’t know :).
    It’s about taking the money that is coming in and understanding how to live within that margin ALWAYS (and if it’s not enough…doing a little something about it). Yes, easier said than done, but the whole change of mind set is so worth it, and I am living proof. We are set for months because we lived on beans and rice to get to this point.

    Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam´s last blog post…Gardening together/ Gardening specials

    • Tsh

      Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  7. Christine @ Live to Learn

    It sounds like we are in the same place. We adore Dave Ramsey and have listened to him for over a decade. 🙂 We have been debt free, except for the house, for over 2 years. It is such a relief to have the burden of debt removed from your shoulders. There is no anxiety each month and worries about did everything get paid. We try to live a simple and frugal lifestyle daily so that we can continue to save 45% of my husband’s income. I stay at home and teach our 5 kids. We try to live well below our means so that we can pay cash for the things in life that are really important to us. For instance we saved up $20,000 cash and paid for a home addition last year, all while on one income. It was a blessing to us to own the addition as soon as they were done and also to the builder and his crew in these economic struggles.
    It really is worth the sacrifice now so that later you can live like no one else.

    Christine @ Live to Learn´s last blog post…Details, Details, Details!

  8. Lisa @ WellGrounded Life

    Hi Tsh,

    I love that you did a post on this aspect of debt free living. My husband and I are taking the Financial Peace classes at a nearby church right now and we are both shocked at how much it is adding to our marriage– far beyond the track for financial peace we are on it has caused us to delve deeper into our hopes, goals, dreams and beliefs on how we want to raise our children.

    So often money issues are put in a bubble as seperate from other parts of your life, but that is just not true–coming closer together on the money issues has been an important connector for many other things.

    Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog post…Energy Drains

  9. Krista

    my husband and i recently became debt free (aside from our mortgage… which we just refinanced to a much lower fixed interest rate too). we felt like we were slaves to our lenders… and the sense of freedom is immense. we are now free to give money away!! wow!!

    Krista´s last blog post…getting back into the groove

  10. Becky

    We adore Dave Ramsey. We have our emergency savings and are working on being debt free. People are astonished when I say we are paying off all debt including student loans before we even buy a home. I can’t wait for that day.

    Becky´s last blog post…Determined

  11. Writer Dad

    There are few things I’d rather be than free of debt. I loathe debt, and for most of my life have been entirely free. The last few months I’ve started to sink as both my wife and I left our jobs so that we could build an online business. Of course this is a risk, and debt is starting to gather as we build, but I can testify that there are few feelings like the freedom of not owing.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…A Cornucopia of Thanks

  12. the weakonomist

    I shed my debt this last December. It was a car I bought in January 2008. My goal for the entire year was to get the thing paid off. Now I have a 2008 Accord and it’s all mine! The shackles of debt are a huge hindrance on personal happiness. If you need an example, a man in Maryland killed his entire family, including himself, because of the stress the debt they were under. Tragic.

    Not to hamper the good feelings, being debt free is fantastic!

    the weakonomist´s last blog post…What Happens When The Banks Pay Back TARP Money?

  13. Lee-Ann

    I am aiming for this freedom, and hope to get the hubby and kids on board. Nice to hear others have accomplished this already!

    Lee-Ann´s last blog post…Friday Fill ins!!

  14. Julie

    We are inching toward debt-free. Oh, if only we had paid attention sooner! Love Dave Ramsey and the community of people who can speak the same language and share debt-free goals that are not commonplace in this country. We have split our debt into categories (consumer debt for the credit cards and car loans, student loan debt, and mortgage debt). Right now, we’re barely able to do more than the bare minimum, but we’re creative and do what we can to add to that. Once we are able to pay off a debt it will be so great to be able to snowball the payment! We may have a long way to go, but we have taken great steps. We organized, we make a budget every month, we consider every purchase, we communicate more openly.

  15. thursday

    I have hated debt since I was a teen. In fact, I went to school without loans. So did my husband. We both have *always* paid off our credit cards every single month. I have always been glad to be debt-free, but it hasn’t helped me put away much money (and what I did put away is nearly gone due to the stock market fall). We currently have a car payment, but that won’t be around for too much longer. Not sure that I want to forget about owning a home anytime in the next few decades, though. Houses are expensive here, and calculating out how long it will take to *save* that much money – at least 30 years. And by then, who knows how much it would cost?

  16. Sharon

    This is great encouragement Tsh! We are working hard to stay debt free (just the the mortgage to pay off). We downsized our lives to allow me to stay home with our son, and the peace I have in that decision is AWESOME!

    We’ve laughed since we’re very “traditional” people, yet we feel like we’re a bit counter-cultural these days. Doing it differently than the rest of the crowd! Living simply gives us the chance to really embrace the day and treasure the moments. It is delightful when we find a new way to save money or an unexpected job that brings in new income.

    My husband commented yesterday that he feels like God is blessing our efforts towards frugality and I feel the same way. I read recently that we are going to be slaves to something — it’s our choice if we are slaves to debt, or slaves to God! I’ll choose the later.

    Thanks again.

    Sharon´s last blog post…Big Rebates on Flowers

  17. Angie @ The Creative Mama

    What an encouraging article for those of us feeling “bogged down” by debt. We don’t use credit cards thankfully – but do have a hefty car payment and many medical expenses. No fun.

    I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan, and we hope to stick to our “plan”, but the husband was recently laid off – so we might be detouring for a bit.

    Thanks for sharing your story Tsh.

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…what remains.

  18. Scott

    First of all, congrats on being debt free! It is something my wife are striving to do. Luckily I think we’ve change our mindset before major damage was done. I’m confident a year from now we’ll be able to say that we’re debt free (except for the mortgage).

    Scott´s last blog post…10 Things Parents May Sacrifice For Their Kids

  19. Amber

    Thanks for sharing this post! We are working our way through Baby Step 2 right now. It is very encouraging to hear others’ story of the journey and making it! Gazelle intensity, right? 🙂

    Amber´s last blog post…~ Mother’s Day Giveaway ~

  20. Mary

    My husband and I completed Financial Peace University about 18 months ago … we’ve made more progress since than in the first 21 years of marriage (we’ve been married 23 years.) We had the same experience of finally feeling really united and every other couple in our class reported the same thing.

    Dave Ramsey rocks!

  21. ~M

    This is great. I’ve read TMM, but haven’t really gotten started and I need to…thanks for the reminder. 1st step: get hubby to read TMM! Next: Pear Budget! Did you attend the Town Hall? Wasn’t it last night? I missed it 🙁

  22. aimeesmom

    Thank again, Tsh, for your words of encouragement. Dave Ramsey has been an enormous influence our lives. My husband is a builder turned straight commission real estate agent, and I was unexpectedly laid off with my job in advertising. If we had not implemented Dave’s plan ealier on, we would be in a whole heap of trouble! Even though times are very tight and my husband isn’t selling many houses these days, God has been our Provider and Sustainer and he has even allowed up to launch a business, completely debt-free. ( My husband and I have a deeper relationship, and we are able to teach our child to cherish what really matters in life, as opposed to that which is fleeting…

    My husband and I went to Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope last night; I recommend all who missed it check it out online… It provides inspiration and encouragement to all who have been hit by this tough economy.

  23. Gay

    My husband and I recently paid off our credit card debt. We never had alot of CC debt, but it was enough that it took us awhile to get it paid. It is amazing how much our relationship has changed since we decided to do this. We created the goal and got it done. Now, we are on the same page when it comes to purchases. Both of us have agreed that we will save money to buy what we want. It is so nice to have that common understanding.

    Now on to the car debt…

  24. Sara

    Another great post! I feel reading your blog has helped me simplify our lifestyle even more! It is so true, the world teaches us that in order to be content our life needs to be filled with stuff. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Over the last several months we have decluttered, sold or given a bunch of our stuff away and our new phrase in our family has become, WWDD…What Would Dave Do?

  25. Jen-After the Alter

    What an inspirational quote! My husband and I are working towards being debt free and it feels so good when we see our goal getting closer! Everything you said was the absolute truth and I look forward to the freedom being debt free will bring…I also am happy to say that I think we will continue our frugal ways to make sure we never get in debt again!


    Jen-After the Alter´s last blog post…Let’s get physical

  26. JC

    My husband and I have not been in debt, but we did have to change are spending and mindsets when we decided I should stay home with our newborn. While a bit rocky at first (and a bit too much eating into our spending when eating out too much!) we have been able to successfully live on 1 income and even get to a place where we’re adding to our savings again. My husband just wrote about one of the side benefits: he lost 45 pounds! pounds Part of it came from finding an awesome produce stand that has great prices, and another part was making sure we had healthy food for our Pumpkin. While we’re still very conscious of what we spend, there’s also such a weight lifted from our shoulders… and my husband’s waistline. =)

    JC´s last blog post…Spring in the City

  27. Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food.

    I’ve been posting this week about eating well on a tight budget as part of the Hunger Action Week organized by United Way organization. Will you be interested in a guest post about the topic with tips?

    Nurit – 1 family. friendly. food.´s last blog post…Hunger Action Week – This is what’s left

  28. LaDonna

    Thanks for this. I feel like you said what I wanted to say. Especially the deeper communication with my DH.

    LaDonna´s last blog post…Five to Seven or Five to Seven

  29. Heather @ alis grave nil

    Just wanted to say that we’re nowhere near that… Hubby just finishing up law school, so… um… basically it’s like we own two houses now. Well, two mortgages. Yikes! But it gives me hope! Why oh why am I always the one posting on here about how lame-o I am? LOL… so be it.


    Heather @ alis grave nil´s last blog post…Zebra Toes

    • Tsh

      Aw, Heather – you’re not lame-o! Take heart…

  30. Charlene @ My Frugal Adventures

    I don’t mean to pry but have you paid off your mortgage too? That is truely extraordinary! We got onto dave’s program years ago and paid off all cars, credit cards and a massive chunk of student loans. We decided to stop the debt snowball since it was “only at 2% interest”– now we are back on the plan and I can’t wait to pay off the last of this debt! Then we can attack the mortgage. Since the COL is so high in CA it will probably be 10 yrs or so before we can manage that- but we are pretty determined.

    Charlene @ My Frugal Adventures´s last blog post…Sample of Total Cereal

  31. Julie

    We have been debt free beside our house for YEARS and we are just in our early 30’s. Our siblings have always teased us about being so frugal, sharing dinner or drinks or just not going out. And just not getting the “wants” but guess what? They are all envious right now in this time of ecconomic stress. No one is teasing us now!

  32. katydid6

    My husband and I have been debt free for almost 3 years now. I agree wholeheartedly with all of the emotional benefits you listed to being debt-free. Just talking about money and working toward a common goal was a huge boost to our marital health. It’s definitely brought us closer together.

    My husband lost his job back in December. You wouldn’t think of that as a “celebration” of being debt free. However, because we were debt free and had a few years of being debt free to build up our savings, that job loss turned out to be the biggest blessing of our life. He hated his job, but never considered leaving it to follow his dream of working from home, because who really does that? Suddenly, he found himself out of conventional work, but with enough cushion in our savings to take the time to work out his business plan. He’s been working from home ever since and the improvement in the quality of life for our family is amazing.

    Becoming debt free isn’t fast, easy or fun. But the rewards we’ve reaped because of that commitment and hard work are priceless.

    katydid6´s last blog post…Five Ways a Playgroup Can Save Your Sanity

  33. Jess @ The Finer Things

    This is an amazing post. My husband and I are really looking forward to being debt free and are working on a plan. Though he just graduated from medical school and we are in the process of buying our first house, it may be a few years down the road. Still… it is the desire of our hearts to give up the burden and live a more carefree life at an earlier age. I agree with you wholeheartedly!

    Jess @ The Finer Things´s last blog post…A Patriotic Picnic

  34. Lori

    Thanks for this post and congratulations on being debt free! Woohoo! I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan and am currently going through the process. It’s a little tough right now, because in an effort to avoid having to do any employee layoffs with the family business, my husband’s father cut salaries instead, so we’re now operating on a fairly hefty deficit that’s definitely not helping us cut that debt back or save money. But you know, although sometimes it seems like it’s always one step forward and two steps back, this has actually really fueled my determination to get rid of the debt even more…it’s such an albatross and we just don’t need it at this time in the economy. Thanks for the reminder that it can be done.

    Lori´s last blog post…Our Song

  35. Karen

    We’re on Baby Step #2 (feels like we’ve been there forever!) and this year Murphy keeps banging on the door. We were blessed to go to DR’s Town Hall event on Thursday. We so needed a reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

    For us, TMMO & FPU are the best things we’ve done in our 17 year marriage. Like you said, not just the getting out of debt process, but the consistent communication has eliminated all sorts of issues. We each had plans, goals, and activities on our to-do lists. We just didn’t take time to share them with one another regularly. Both of us look forward to our twice-monthly budget meetings still!

    Karen´s last blog post…A little patience please…

  36. Valerie

    I love this post. It’s always good to remember that there are other benefits to becoming debt-free besides the financial ones. Becoming debt-free is lots of work, but it is well-worth the effort!

    Valerie´s last blog post…$5 Friday — Spring Shaped Bubble Wands

  37. Teresa

    We have been debt free for several years. First we got rid of our credit card debt, then we worked off the student loans, and then we got rid of the car loans. Each step made us feel lighter and happier. People with debt don’t realize what a burden it is until you are out from under it.

    Now we pay our credit cards in full every month and we were able to pay cash for our last car. The only monthly obligation we have is the mortgage, and that is paid ahead several months, with extra paid each month. How I love to see that “remaining principle” number go down!

    Life is so much better lived on your own terms rather than the loan terms!

  38. Kate

    Thanks for sharing! How amazing! I just put the link to this article on my blog. I am hoping that me and my husband can also be debt free and reap the benefits that you are talking about… amazing!

    Kate´s last blog post…Give me the Money!

  39. Debt-Free in AZ

    We love being debt free and knowing that we are leaving this legacy for our son. We thank Dave Ramsey for his inspiring teachings!!! My husband, the free spirit, had a really tough time giving up the so called “security” of his credit card at first, but now only uses his Debit card. We read Dave’s books, “The Total Money Makeover” and “Financial Peace” and the greatest tool for us came from using Dave’s “Cash Flow” budget forms…In August it marks 2 years of budgeting! We budget for the following month (before the money comes in) and it really works!:) Thanks for a great post!

  40. Rona

    I made my last medical payment almost 2 weeks ago! It felt so good to not be owing this bill.
    Now I’m truly on fire to get us debt free.

    Rona´s last blog post…Her Husband Rocks On! Grace for Gayle

  41. Jill

    We paid our mortgage off 6 months ago. We were enjoying that huge freedom. 1 week ago my husband lost his job he had for 14 years. Economic cutbacks in the building industry. When he came home and told me he was let go, I felt comfort because I knew we were out of debt. We did not have a mortgage, car payments or any credit card debt. I know my husband has alot of pressure on him, he is the sole provider to myself and our 4 children. I also know he is comforted knowing we are out of debt.

  42. Kristi

    Congratulations on being debt free!

    My husband and I have recently moved back to the States from Germany and I am just beginning my own business for the express purpose of getting out of debt. I am yet another huge Dave Ramsey fan and know from experience that every bit of debt that is gone is a big weight off of my shoulders.

    Thanks for encouraging us all toward our goals!

  43. Celia

    My husband and I have paid off 5,000 in debt since committing to Dave Ramsey’s plan in December. By July we will have only two major debts left and by next year will have only our mortgage. Six years from then, we won’t have a mortgage.

    We are so excited every month as we watch our snowball grow. It is very satisfying. We are thrilled to know we are on track for the rest of our lives. It is the most wonderful thing, and I tell everyone and anyone that seems even moderately interested in Dave’s plan. I wish everyone could know how good it feels.

    Celia´s last blog post…Well, here it is the last day of ICLW

  44. Stephanie

    Thank you for the encouragement! We are debt free, and have transitioned to one income. My husbands hours have been cut at work, so our income has gone even lower. We can still survive, with some tweaks and aren’t saving as much as I would like, but at least we weren’t in over our heads because of debt. There is light at the end of the tunnel when you hit hard times but know you can get through them!

    Stephanie´s last blog post…My Reading Pile: April

  45. Catherine

    My husband and I were on the Dave Ramsay plan for about 6 months. We decided it didn’t work for us. Yes, it was nice that our credit card debt (from our wedding) was paid off a few months earlier than if we hadn’t been on the plan, but we both felt we were putting too much focus on our finances and where every dollar went. I guess neither of us are really spenders so it’s sort of a waste of time to go over everything we spend with a fine-tooth comb.
    Also, the cost to rent in our area is soaring. For a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in a safe community we would soon be paying over $1000/month! With a baby on the way we decided we can’t wait until we have no debt and 20% down to buy a house. We put 5% down, got a little 3 bedroom house in great condition for just under $50,000, and now our mortgage is under $500/month. If we had followed Dave’s plan it would have taken us 8 years to pay off student loans before we could even start saving for a house. Eight years of paying $1000/month to rent? No way! This way we have more money to pay off the student loans or pay down the mortgage. It broke my heart to go so far against everything I’d learned from Dave, but if anyone can find the flaw in this plan, please point it out to me, because I can’t figure it out.

  46. Travise Smith

    Yeah for you. I teach my own curicullum around the COUNTRY on being debt free. We did Dave by listening on the radio never did the FPU, but are walking BILBOARDS for his message. We implemented a few more biblical principles and came up with Change Your Legacy in 7 weeks. By becoming debt free it has afforded me the opportunity to do motivational speaking and teaching based on THE WORD of God and debt!! Glad to know you decided to Leave The Jones Alone!! Proverbs 13:22 & Proverbs 22:7 are our favorite verses. Have a great Day and visit me online at

  47. Jane

    I know how you all feel. We have been debt free except for the house for almost two years and we sleep so much better than we did four years ago. Changing my habit of using CC’s was not easy. I had to rethink my way of spending. Now two years later I would be scared to have a CC. We as a family do not need nor do we want one. Using Dave Ramsey’s plan and baby steps transformed our lives. Our next big goal is to have the house paid off in less than 6 years. We live on one income and since I have started couponing I have become even tighter with our budget than we were before. We are choosing to do this and we look at it as a challenge now. If you are in debt get a plan and stick with it. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! If your in the middle keep digging away. There is light at the end of the tunnel. If you are already there keep up the plan and keep the faith. The feeling of paying with cash is an awesome feeling. We think twice before we spend and we make every penny count. Good luck to all!!!

    Jane´s last blog post…Just a catch up post to let you all know whats going on.

  48. Jennifer

    One of the greatest benefits for us (which I believe you mentioned too) is that when stuff happens we can typically cash flow them and rarely have to even dip into our EF. That is always such a relief. It is so worth it to not owe anyone money. Now if only stuff could quit happening so that we can save money to replace our dying van to avoid going back into debt.

    Jennifer´s last blog post…And the Sensory Issues Come Back When we Least Expect It

  49. Marcy

    What an awesome post! We are currently toward the end of our debt free journey. Besides the fact that it feels incredibly freeing to shed debt, I have also learned that there are a lot of things that we don’t really need. I totally agree with you that it deepens your relationship with your spouse as well. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Marcy´s last blog post…Stride Rite Savings

  50. Marie

    Am always amazed that people get into these huge debt situations in the first place. Living within your means has suddenly gotten trendy, but it is has always been the best advice. It only took an economic wake up call for people to see the light. I am confident that when the economy improves there will be people who once again go overboard on credit cards and other debt. It’s like yo yo dieting. Behaviors are hard to change.

    Marie´s last blog post…Looking for healthy pet food coupons?

    • Karen

      I just want to explain how some of us acquire so much debt before we “see the light.” I was raised by very conservative spenders who unfortunately didn’t talk about money. Ever. I did not learn their good habits. I didn’t know what habits they had. When I went off to college, I received credit cards (not offers, but actual cards) in the mail. I had no job, lots of wants, and lots of friends happy to spend this “free” money with me. By the time dh and I were dating, I firmly believed that I could have the things I wanted right now. Paying for them later was not a concern. I believed that debt was inevitable and everyone had debt.

      Now, 17 years into marriage with our eldest child being 12 years old, we’re 2 years into Dave Ramsey and a whole new way of life. Yes, it’s the way to go, but unfortunately some of us did not have the modeling, education, or the maturity to stay debt free once we ventured into adulthood.

      Karen´s last blog post…A little patience please…

  51. Tonya

    How true it is. My husband and I have no debt aside from the $301 mortgage payment with only 4 years left on it. We have made a consistent choice to live beneath our means. Boy, are we glad we did. He just found out last Monday (on my birthday no less) that his job of 21 years (where he’s worked since high school) will be gone by June. Things will be awfully tight on unemployment and we have some savings to cover things like car inspection and real estate taxes but if we had lots of debt I’d be besides myself. Instead I have felt tremendous peace about the whole situation. Our sacrifices in the past are buying our peace today.

  52. Danielle

    Great post!! I just started two weeks ago a series on my blog about “Seeking Financial Freedom” I think I will show a link on my post for tomorrow to your site here so it can serve as a real shot in the arm of encouragement to my readers! Thanks for the post! My hubby and I have been on this getting out of debt for the last 6 years…and we are almost there..we can taste it!! We are praying with the Lord’s blessing we should be completely debt free in ONE year or less…Oh how exciting that will be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Danielle´s last blog post…Early Midweek Funny??

  53. Alma C Wilkerson

    Great advises! The advises were very encourage. I am the process of doing my own. Debt free freedom

  54. sherry

    My husband and I have been living debt free for over 10 years! It feels great. We work really hard for what we want, and if we can’t afford it, we don’t get it. Being debt free has brought us so much freedom and happiness. We just booked a cruise to Italy- (completely paid for!) and can’t wait!!

  55. teamcurtisfamily

    What we desire more than anything is freedom. To live free of debt is a feeling that everyone needs to experience. It literally feels as if your shackles have been removed.


  56. Joe

    Great article!

    I’ve found that the process of striving to be debt free is one which clarifies our priorities and gets us thinking about things differently. When my wife and I were digging ourselves into debt, we didn’t give much thought to the little things we spent money on, but those are the things that add up to $1000’s in a year. Then, when we were focused on paying off that debt, we became aware of how we spent our money and how we could do better in managing it.

  57. Beth

    We followed the Dave Ramsey plan and it took us 9.5 years to become debt free. We paid off our home, a cabin, credit cards and the IRS. And became debt free February 28th 2015. The change in our lives since becoming debt free has been amazing. The amount of peace and hope that is now a part of our daily lives is substantial. It was worth the sacrifice.
    This is a great article.
    Check out my site.

Join thousands of readers
& get Tsh’s free weekly email called
5 Quick Things,

where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.