A Life Without Debt: It’s Not a Poor Life

I’ve noticed that some respondents to my previous articles seem to think that I’m living a life of deprivation because I choose to save money aggressively and live debt free. I want to set the record straight: A debt free life is not a poor life; it’s not a life of deprivation and suffering. It’s a rich life full of things and experiences that are important to me, personally, which may not be the same as what is important to you.

When we were young and first out of college there was some deprivation simply because we had no money. We were making entry level salaries and we had nothing saved up. In those early years we scrimped and saved so we could get ahead. We did


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11 Responses to A Life Without Debt: It’s Not a Poor Life

  1. Jackie says:

    My parents are very similar. They are frugal, a habit of a lifetime, but now also spend their money on things that make them happy. They have no debt, so besides utilities, taxes and donations to charity, their money is theirs to do with what they will. They have relatively simple tastes so most of their money is still saved. They don’t deprive themselves of anything and still have the satisfaction of knowing that they should be financially secure in retirement.

  2. Sadie, I like the way you think, saving money is the smartest thing, not wasting money just because you can afford to. No need to defend your wise lifestyle!

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  3. John says:

    My bride and I enjoyed a similar life style and was able to save and eliminate debt. This all changed when we had our daughters. Children have a knack for using resources. From daycare and added medical expenses to prom dresses and band trips and sports fees.
    Somehow I think things would be vastly different if it was more than you and your spouse. Perhaps not.

  4. Nagel says:

    Certain hobbies are a good factor of a frugal lifestyle. Depending on how much one spends on supplies, the payoff is the time spent at home enjoying the process of creating arts and crafts, rather than distracting oneself from sheer boredom by walking around the mall. This way of passing time is especially effective and comforting in winter. Reading and watching movies (Netflix) is also a cheap way to go.

  5. I’ll tell ya straight, the best thing about being debt free & $$$ in the credit union AND bank is you can sleep like a rock @ night.

  6. Minny says:

    People who live the high life on credit, who live today lavishly or future earnings – do they really believe the lead a ‘rich’ life?

    If they do it is an illusion. If they do, it will catch up with them and these days it is sooner rather than later.

    Amy of Tightwad Gazette puts forward the idea that not spending lavishly in those areas where it isn’t important to you means that you have the money to spend in those areas that are important to you.

    Following this advice means I have retired in a lovely house in a lovely city which would have been way out of my reach had I not saved hard.

  7. Gail says:

    I read your post with great joy as I have seen how so many have blasted you for your ‘poor’ life and ‘obsesive’ need to save in other posts. I could tell from your posts that what they said wasn’t the case with you. You folks seem to have a dream life and you have earned it. Congratulations and I trust you will have many happy years together doing what you enjoy.

  8. Jenn says:

    I think you’ve got the balance exactly right. I find myself taking a good deal of lighthearted teasing about my frugal ways some days. Second hand clothes and cars, discounted groceries, no cable, eating out only on very special occasions etc. We’re all well fed, well clothed and watch more than enough TV. Oddly, the same people then express envy or amazement when we take off with the kids for a month long holiday in Europe. Funny how they haven’t put the two together! If we aren’t taking any big trips or replacing vehicles that year we sock the 40% of our income we don’t “need” into retirement savings. We plan to retire 10yrs from this month at 56/59. We could retire 5yrs earlier if we’d stop taking big trips, but we’ve decided that travelling now while we’re healthy and the kids are still at home is worth the delay. Finding the right balance is different for everyone, but I feel anyone who’s managed to find their ideal mix of save vs. splurge is in a very happy place.

  9. Monkey Mama says:

    Another great post.

    I just had to add (in response to John) that I have children, and I always identify with Sadie’s posts. Don’t get me wrong, having children is expensive and will set you back financially, no matter how modest and frugally you live. BUT, having chidlren is not mutually exclusive of being debt free and being able to live a “rich” life.

  10. Susan says:

    Love your post Sadie, but I have to say that like John (#3,) children do change those “Plans” to which like-minded savers aspire. My grown children, ages 31 and 25 mean the world to me, but I have overspent when I should have curbed my desire to give them so much, particularly considering my income. I look back though and am grateful that I did incur the debt because some of those experiences were absolutely great and would not have been affordable had I not put it on a credit card. I’m just getting ready to pay off my last credit card in Feb. 2010 and I wish that I had more money saved, but I don’t really regret most of the expenses. People make jokes about my tightwad living now, but I’m trying to play catch-up so that my kids won’t have to bail me out from living on the street as a homeless woman. Knock on wood, I’m doing okay. I totally applaud your lifestyle, it’s makes a lot of sense to incorporate those principles. Congratulations!

  11. April B says:

    For sure, debt free living is the way to go! I wish my parents taught me when I was younger. I wish I came to my senses sooner. Here I am today, just beginning to dig myself out of debt at the age of almost 37. I can only hope that I can teach our three children to live a debt free life.

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