Now that my wife and I are coming pretty close to paying off a large amount of debt (hopefully by August!), I’ve been thinking a lot about a reward for after it’s paid off. There isn’t a lot that I want. My wife and I do need a new mattress so that is probably going to be on the list as a “reward.” Besides that, though, I’m not sure.
Another option would be to budget a little bit more for fun than we already do. We could go out to eat a little more, put a little more in our entertainment budget, do more with our kids. The sky is the limit really.
Part of me just wants to keep going with paying off debt. While the bulk of our non-mortgage debt is the car loan, we do have a little bit of credit card debt as well. We’ll see what happens.
I think it’s important to reward yourself after paying off debt. Paying off any debt is no small task. Getting yourself something for doing a great job in focusing and staying the course is great motivation for continuing.
But the more I think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that being able to buy yourself something nice after you pay off a debt doesn’t cover all of the rewards that come with paying off your debt.
Here are more ways in which you are rewarded for paying off some (or all) of your debt.
Buy Yourself Something Nice
This is perhaps the most obvious reward for paying off your debt. What I like to do is this. Say you have a credit card with several thousand dollars on it with a minimum monthly payment of $100. After paying off that card, you would take that $100 and spend it on yourself the month after you pay it off as kind of a pat on the back.
Another thing you can do is, after you pay off that credit card, instead of just spending the $100 on yourself, you can spend all of the extra money you were putting toward that credit card on yourself. For instance, if you’ve been throwing an extra $400 a month at that credit card, you would spend $500 on yourself. This can be awesome and a lot of fun, but I recommend only doing this if the debt you paid off was quite large or took a lot more work than normal. Otherwise, spending that much on your reward might make you enjoy spending a little too much. 😉
A Reduction in Stress
Let’s face it. Debt can be a HUGE stressor. How many times have you gotten anxiety because the dollar amount that you owe in debt is so big? I’ve had it before. I’ve looked at the amount we’ve owed and have gotten that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. It sucks!
Paying off a debt has the stress relieving reward of not having to look at that large number that you owe someone else anymore. Admittedly, for some people, this can be a strong motivating factor instead of a stressor. But what is stress relieving is not having that monthly payment anymore and being able to do what you want with it.
A Reduction in Monthly Bills
This can go hand in hand with the reduction in stress, but now that you’ve paid off a debt, you don’t have that monthly bill!
Obviously, you’ll want to continue to snowball your payments into the next big debt to pay off each month. However, if something happens where your expenses are a little bit higher than normal, you now have that little bit of cushions. You can pull that little bit more that you were snowballing, just pay the minimum payments, and then continue the next month when your expenses are back to normal.
I’m sure you can taste the freedom already!
An Improvement in Your Relationship
Are you in a long term relationship with someone? Do you have a husband or a wife? I’m sure you know that money in general can be a little bit of a stressor on any relationship.
A big benefit of paying off your debt is an improvement in your closest relationships. For a signifiant other, instead of paying down debt you will be working with each other to put your money toward meaningful goals. These can be saving for a vacation, investing for the future, etc.
This can also improve your relationship with your friends. Have you been in a position where you had to refuse an invite to go out with your friends because most of your extra money is tied up in paying off debt? Well, now you’re free! Now you can set aside more money to go out with friends and hang out. Maybe you could by them dinner for being so understanding while you were paying off debt. 😉
Save for Something Big
Once you take care of all of your debt, you have so much more freedom. If there is something big you want, not only will you have the freedom to be able to save for it, but you’ll also get there quicker!
Imagine being able to save toward a big goal with $50 a month. By the end of the year you would have $600 toward that large item or vacation (or whatever you are saving for).
Now imagine, you’ve paid off all of your debt and you now have an extra $700 a month. You take $400 and put it toward savings every month (because, hey, you’re responsible). The other $300 you use to save up for this same big item. Well instead of having $600 at the end of the year, you now have $3,600 at the end of the year! HUGE difference there.
I hope you can see by now that there are a lot of rewards that come with paying off debt besides just buying something for yourself. But the biggest reward of them all is…(drumroll)
You have a lot more options after paying off your debt. You can do what you want with your money.
Do you want to retire early? You can put more money toward that.
Do you want to take that dream vacation to Europe? You can save quickly for it.
Have you decided that you are doing so well on your savings and investing that it’s time to get yourself something? Go ahead! It won’t make too much of a dent at that point.
Paying off debt has many rewards. And it’s extremely motivating for me to be able to experience those one day.
What do you look forward to most about getting out of debt?
I’m sure there are rewards that I didn’t think about. Let me know in the comments!