One of the most common questions asked of people going through the process of paying off a mountain of debt is what they will do with the extra money each month once the debt is paid off. Another similar, but slightly different question is to describe how life is different now that the debt has been paid off. I’ve been asked these questions countless times.
It’s easy to give the standard answers of build a larger emergency fund, invest more, or save for the kids’ college. I’ve given all those answers. There’s certainly nothing wrong them, as they’re the answers that make sweet music in the ears of financial planners and personal finance bloggers.
But do you want to hear an honest answer? Do you want to hear the real thing that I love most about not having to make a massive payment to a debt management program each month? Should I tell you what makes me most happy about our post debt management life?
I love to host gatherings with friends and family.
SHHHHH, don’t tell my wife. I’m looking at you, people reading this blog that I know in real life. If this ever gets back to her, my facade of wanting to be a hermit inside my own home would be destroyed forever. I would never live it down.
This past weekend was a great example. Early on Friday, Vonnie asked me if we should have people over that evening. She saw the hesitation on my face, and quickly suggested I grill something. While I was distracted by thinking of what cut of meat to use for steak kabobs, and how sweet it would be to finally try out a teriyaki bourbon sauce on chicken, she was texting several friends asking if they wanted to come over that evening.
I had been tricked, and suddenly a gathering was on for the evening.
I say that in jest, of course. I was fully conscious and self-aware of the whole process.
We made a list of what we needed from the grocery store to make for the gathering. Off I went to roam the aisles of Walmart on a Friday afternoon. Not for the faint of heart. When the total was displayed on the screen of the self-check out terminal, I smiled a little as I knew it was well within our weekend entertainment budget.
I need to clarify my definition of what makes me the most happy about our post debt management life:
I love to host gatherings with friends and family and know that we can afford it.
We’ve hosted gatherings as long as we’ve been married. But for a long time, the supplies would be charged on a credit card, contributing to our mountain of debt. Now we can choose to host the occasional gathering, be smart about what we will provide, and live within our means. Even if I decide to pick the good steak, which I did.
By the time I returned, our guests had responded to Vonnie with what they would be bringing with them to contribute to the meal. We had a great meal, but we had an even better time sitting on our patio around the fire pit, talking about whatever came to mind. Sharing stories, laughing, and making the perfect roasted marshmallow using my patented rotisserie method.
It was the kind of night that you think about in January in the dead of winter, and wish for warmer weather to come quickly so we can do it again.
Having the ability to host an evening like this is exactly my favorite part of having control of my finances.
How about you, EOD Nation? Give me a truthful answer, how would your life REALLY change if you had extra disposable income?