A Life Without Debt

A lot of people are realizing that a life without debt is both liberating and safe. It’s something that more and more people are striving for. The problem is, many people who would like to live a life without debt have no idea what that sort of life looks like. They have spent so many years financing their wants and needs that they’ve lost sight of what a life without debt entails. What happens when you’re debt free? How do you stay there?

There are a lot of books, websites, and experts that can tell you how to get out of debt. But what no one ever talks about is what it takes to live a day to day life without debt, or how to avoid debt in the first place. It’s assume


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20 Responses to A Life Without Debt

  1. Mr Plasectomy says:

    Great article and I look forward to hearing your story over the next few weeks.

    It is all about sacrifice and having goals. Our society is a debt society. It is how are economy runs now and it is sad. So many lives are ruined because of debt. I wonder how the divorce rate would be if money wasn’t an issue.

    I love that you are a DIYer. That is a great learning experience, it takes time, but it is also more fulfilling.

  2. Shane says:

    Great post !!

    Looking forward to the rest of the series :-)

  3. Joshua says:

    I will definitely be following your journey. I myself live the same type of life. I bet the whole floor project was also a great experience for you guys to do something together anyway.

  4. Julie says:

    I am looking forward to your story also. My husband has always been a do it yourselfer and I am so grateful. We have lived without debt for years because we are not into “things”. I have no cell phone, no flat screen tv, etc. and I am fine with that.

  5. Kenny Johnson says:

    I’m not debt free and I can already tell it can be hard work. We’re about 6 months in to our debt reduction plan. We’ve had the last 6 months where we haven’t accumulated any more debt. That’s sadly, probably the longest I’ve gone since I was 18.

    Staying on budget is hard. We’ve had to ask for help from my dad once already because of too many emergencies without enough funds. He gave us money instead of loaning it.

    I can handle the will-power not to consume “things” but I have a hard time with not spending money on lunches or a trip to fast food on the weekend because there’s no food in the house and I don’t feel like shopping. Why? I’m more lazy than I am materialistic. Not that that’s better.

    There’s 2 of us. So, we have to agree on our finances. It’s harder, because 1 person can say, “We can do without this” and the other is like “No we can’t!”

    However, if I make it debt free, I do see it being easier than it is now. We have about $1200/mo in debt obligations. If we weren’t in debt, that would be that much extra money each month to save, which would make emergencies a lot less stressful.

  6. Stephen Waits says:

    Mortgage = debt!

  7. DAWN DAVIS says:

    I also live debt free,it’s such a blessing to be retired at 52 with a good pension from work.It’s great to volenteer at the MMC community thrift store,at the community soup kitchen,church and other places.It’s so energizing,fun to be creative with your time and $$$. Also I’M THRILLED TO ADD YOU TO MY FAVORITES.

  8. chris says:

    We’ve been DIYing our home for the last year and a half. The flooring was the only thing that we had a professional do because I thought it would be easier and less disruptive as well. The actual time involved for a pro to install about 700 sq feet of hardwood? About three and a half weeks. Since we have a 100+ year old house I still had to caulk the gap between the new shoe moulding and the original moulding, which took and additional two days. I’m not sure I saved any time with a pro, and it was very messy. The real upside is that I didn’t have to deal with the many “surprises” an old house has to offer during a renovation— for example wavy sub floors, and radiators that are actually cemented into the foundation. If my husband ever talks me into buying a newer home I would definately do the flooring ourselves.

  9. gargirl says:

    What a great post. I, too, am looking forward to the rest of the series.

  10. Diane says:

    I’m interested in hearing your story of living debt free.

    I’m just starting on a debt-free life (other than a low-note mortgage) after many years of living in debt, filing bankruptcy for my ex-husband’s business debt (community property state), dealing with an IRS Lien on my house (ex wouldn’t file taxes).

    I think I can live debt-free and save money to pay cash for future home improvements, car repairs, etc. because without debt payments I have income available to save.

    I sometimes pay for work done on the house that I can’t do myself or with the help of my bf.

    Some things I do myself – including painting inside & out, taping, floating & texturing sheetrock, tiling the kitchen backsplash. I don’t do electrical work, or plumbing or car repairs.

    Up until now I’ve been willing to use no-interest financing (Home Depot) to get some work done, provided I can easily pay for it in the alloted time. I’m not sure if I will continue that.

    Since I finally have a decent emergency fund, I feel more secure in my finances, but I’m not willing to pay interest on anything.

    Will follow your story, to see what I can learn.

  11. crazyliblady says:

    I am also looking forward to being debt free. We are currently paying two medical debts of about $2800 total and a credit card at about $1800. This amount is down from about $10000 total 2 1/2 years ago. I finally have our spending under control, use coupons regularly, have nearly ceased eating out, and am regularly contributing to savings. I am also contributing to my retirement. We still pay for Netflix. I could happily do without it and borrow movies from the library, but hubby refuses to do that. Because we are still in debt, it is almost impossible to save for emergencies while also trying to save to buy a different car. We will likely need to replace at least one of our vehicles within 2 years. I would like to replace both with one certified used vehicle, but one of our vehicles is in such bad shape, we may have to pay someone to take it. The other one is not real bad, but it has some mechanical problems which we are planning to use part of our tax refund to fix. How do you all save for something like this when there doesn’t seem to be anywhere else to cut?

  12. Gail says:

    With some friends help and occassion contractors for some of the jobs, my husband essentially built our house–a large one that is handicapped accessible for me. When he was done with some of the jobs such as the plaster board, he had some plaster board left over and the jack that was used to get it up on the ceiling. He sold that stuff to a neighbor who was doing up his house. We made enough on the deal that it covered the cost of the jack we bought. We could have rented the jack, but the time length that we would have had to rent it for would have cost more than buying one outright. Then as I said we sold it. We aren’t debt free yet, but that is the kind of thinking and calculations you need to do if you want to be debt free.

    I will read your series with delight!

  13. Karen says:

    I am so pleased to hear that others are being super responsible and living the way that many Americans should be living. I am finding so many positives in our troubled economy. One positive is that I FINALLY feel that others just might get it when I say”No I do not go to Pampered Chef or Purse Patries as I don’t want to spend money that way. I don’t want to go shopping to the mall as I buy all items in thrift stores. I don’t want a new car and my hubby likes his $400 Honda Civic for driving back and forth to work. I will go on a vacation but want to save for one yr. first. I want to give my time and small gifts to those IN NEED for Christmas. I don’t want to give or get presents” Is anyone else getting the positives to this? Finally others are not on me like in the past. I am enjoying how parts of this economic challenge are influencing me.

  14. Diane says:

    Karen –

    My boyfriend & I have been saying for awhile that this might be a much-needed correction in the pattern of spending that has become commonplace in the U.S.

    Maybe people will start to spend less & save more, & consider their purchases more carefully.

    That said, I feel terrible for those losing their jobs through no fault of their own, or losing their homes due to medical bills or job loss.

    I don’t feel as bad for those who bought more house than they could afford or a huge SUV & now can’t pay for it.

    I’ve lived in the same small house for 25 years and I would have liked something larger to raise 2 boys & all their friends. But I wouldn’t spend more than I could afford on a house note. Period.

    Some people who were wiling to take the risks are now paying a terrible price.

    Overall, I do think that this correction, while painful, was maybe necessary to get the nation back on track.

  15. Cindy M says:

    I’m with #6. The mortgage IS a debt, and yes, I do have one. If I could do it over, I’d have stayed in the first home I purchased and paid it off ASAP all those years ago and still lived there or rented it out after I paid it off. I say those are the smartest people, the ones who own rental properties and know how to keep them rented out.

  16. I think it’s a great article and the premise of living without debt is ideal, but I have to agree with the other comments regarding the mortgage, as taking out a mortgage loan contradicts the very idea of living without debt itself, since it is in fact such a major debt to incur.

    Without home mortgages, most people would be forced to rent an apartment or house (depending on their family’s needs) until they could possibly save up enough money to buy a house outright, which would be very difficult and close to impossible for some families.

    I definitely agree with the idea of not taking out “unnecessary” debt, like what may be required for more expensive or extravagant home repairs, but without the ability to obtain loans, most American’s would be hard-pressed to live out their version of the American Dream.

    It’s ideal to say it’s liberating to live without debt, and that’s true, but debt is in itself a necessary evil for most people that don’t have the means to get ahead otherwise.

    Unless of course you don’t want to own a home or drive a decent car or send your kids to college or do all those other things that families take out loans to do each year and couldn’t do without going into debt.

  17. Sadie says:

    Since so many people are wondering about the mortgage, let me clarify: I no longer have the mortgage. As you’ll learn in the next piece, when we bought we paid 50% down and took out a ten year mortgage on the rest, and paid it off in five. We no longer carry it, so we are truly debt free.

    But yes. Technically we carried “debt” for five years. As one person pointed out, it is almost impossible to own a home without financing some part of it, but as an appreciating (mostly, hopefully) asset, it is considered “good” debt, unlike credit cards and consumer loans. I still didn’t like having it, but we got rid of it so quickly that it never put our other goals in jeopardy.

  18. Andy @ Retire at 40 says:

    Doing it yourself is a great way to get things done at a more reasonable price, especially if you are handy like you guys are. Amazing how it still turns out cheaper even though you had to buy extra tools too!

    Good going and well done on sticking to all your goals.

  19. DAWN DAVIS says:

    GREAT story,I would like to read more next time.I also live a life without debt.There are so many oppunities and blessings in this world.Tomorrow it’s volenteering at our local soup kitchen,visiting our thrift store and skating for free. Dawn

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