My Favorite Part Of Having Control Of My Finances

EOD_FavoritePicOne 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?

About Travis

16 Responses to “My Favorite Part Of Having Control Of My Finances”

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  1. I’m in the same boat as you. I would spend as much time as I could hanging out with friends and family. Hosting small get-togethers with those that we love brings me so much joy. More than buying things in fact.

  2. I’d be able to do more things with my friends that I have to say no to, like this dance event I missed on Saturday because of my tight budget. I’d also travel more! I’m glad you’re in a place where you get to do the things you really enjoy!

    • Travis says:

      We had to say “No” a lot during our debt repayment journey…..although we learned to just hang out with friends without the grilling and such. BUT, it’s nice to be able to add that element. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I like it! Having disposable income just means more options for me. It doesn’t even matter as much if I choose to take advantage; I just like having choices.
    And like you, I love getting together with neighbors and friends!

  4. Love this, Travis! I agree all those things – investing, saving for kids’ college – are nice but having the flexibility to do things you want – like host an impromptu gathering without creating debt is a huge reward. For me, the ability to travel is one of the best benefits and something we love to do as a family.

  5. Travel has been our biggest debt free reward. We have made 2 trips this year, made incredible memories as a family. We host a yearly Holiday party and usually make it a pot luck, but this year we were able to fund it ourselves, it made it even that much better.

    • Travis says:

      I love hosting Holiday parties! It seems that many shy away from it because a.) it’s a ton of work and b.) their expensive. But it’s always appreciated……families just don’t get together enough!

  6. We have a host of important goals that we need to meet, but we’re not technically in debt. So I guess my favorite part of having expendable income is being able to say okay when my husband is dying to go out for a steak. Or being able to put $100 a month into a vacation fund, so that we can take at least a small trip together each year.

    In short, it’s the freedom to choose whether you spend money.

    • Travis says:

      AND to choose what you spend it on, Abigail! Everyone has their own preferences or activity that makes fulfills them. Glad to see you’ve figured that out!

  7. I am not quite on the other side of the debt mountain. That should happened early next year.

    I too would spend more time with friends and neighbors. We would host some gatherings and perhaps go out to eat two to three times per month with different folks.

    The biggest change for us will be spending more time camping and traveling.

  8. If we had more disposable income, we would still have the problem of not having much “disposable” time. My husband runs his own business, and it is really hard to carve out portions of time to do things like prepare meals for people – unless I clean and cook and host all on my own, which I seriously don’t like to do (I work too.) So we would have to buy time first. I think we’d do that by hiring an employee for the business. It’s a step we said we wouldn’t take until the business debt was paid off. Now that it has been, perhaps it’s time. And how about a house cleaning service every two weeks? Clearly, I’m fixated on buying time.

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