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What was your "zero" moment like?

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    What was your "zero" moment like?

    I'm just curious about this. According to most of my debt calculators, if my financial situation remains exactly the same I'll be debt free in september, 2017. While talking about this, my girlfriend asked me what I would do when that day comes around. The thing is - I'm not really sure what I'd do. I joked and said, "I'll have a coke." but honestly, I'm not sure. I've never lived without money hanging over my head.

    Growing up my parents were underwater on their home (and they still are because of medical issues), so I used to work under the table at farmers' markets to help them make ends meet. Since then I've always been employed. I've always paid my own bills. I left home a month after turning 18 and immediately after my brother's financial situation collapsed, and he had to move back home, along with his family. There is literally no room for me there should anything ever happen to me financially because their tiny house has 7 people in it.

    I went to the college my parents wanted me to go to so I could live "a better life," and I took out a lot of huge loans to do it. I didn't know any better, and my school didn't help teach me about finance. The entire time I was there I worked 2-3 part time jobs to pay the credit cards I needed to afford food and maintain my vehicle.

    After graduating I realized how much my loans came to - over $100k. Since then, i've been working diligently to learn about personal finance and work my way out of this hole.

    But it just feels weird - I've never been "financially free." As long as I can remember I've always owed money to someone about something. So I honestly have no idea what that "zero" moment will be like. The moment i write that last check and I'm finally free.

    For those of you who've gotten there - what was it like for you? I'd appreciate your experiences... sometimes this mountain seems insurmountable and it'd be refreshing to hear what it is I'm working for.

    #2
    When I finished paying off my student loans ($102,000 worth), my "splurge" was signing up for cable TV for $10/month. That was about 3 or 4 years ago. Until then, we only had an antenna.

    Not terribly exciting, I suppose, but we are generally frugal. We don't go wild with money just because we have it, which is why we have it I suppose. The rest of the savings from not having the debt just went to increased investing.

    When the mortgage is paid off, probably in 6-7 years, I'm sure that will primarily go toward increased savings, too. At that point, I'll be about 53 and retirement will be looming so we'll be in "stash the cash" mode to save up for quitting work for good. We'll probably treat ourselves to a trip somewhere but other than that, we'll be boosting the savings for the future.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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      #3
      I know when I became completely debt free including the house it was the best feeling you could imagine. We didn't really go on a shopping spree or anything but it was so nice to pay cash for vehicles. It was nice since we are so young too. The car dealers would look at us if we were crazy. I now do have a new mortgage and I have promised myself that there is no way i am borrowing money again. It is just too great to be completely debt free and only have the basic bills such as food, electricity, etc. It allows you to save so much money. You can do it. Hang in there. You will be able to use your cash for any thing you want. You can retire with dignity as Dave Ramsey says.

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        #4
        If you feel no need to celebrate, then don't! Sit at home with your coke and let the feeling be enough.

        One frugal way to celebrate would be to replace your list of debts with a list of savings goals that you want to obtain and create a plan to reach those goals.

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          #5
          Each time we paid off a debt, we directed most of that payment toward savings but put some into general spending. So if we paid off a debt with a $100 monthly payment, we might have added $80/month to savings and $20 for spending. That way, we gradually boosted our spendable income and could gradually improve our lifestyle without any big splurges.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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            #6
            I'm likely getting a new job very soon which will increase my income. I did the math I should be debt free in about one year. Once I hit that point, I'll be setting up my emergency, investing for retirement, and setting money aside from things like vacations, a house purchase, and a small business.

            The way I see, there is always a goal to be met. Paying off debt should not be seen as the end, but rather it should be seen as a means to an end.
            Check out my new website at www.payczech.com !

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              #7
              Our "zero moment" will be when we pay off our mortgage in 18 months. As cliche as it sounds, we are going to take the kids to Disney World. We went once 2 years ago after we had saved up vacation money for two years intending it to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. My whole family had so much fun that we all want to go back again. That will be possible once the mortgage payment is gone.

              Once we save enough for the trip, the old mortgage payment will be split into college savings, maximizing Roth contributions, and a car savings fund. I will also be letting my DH get the smart phone and data plan he has been wanting....

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                #8
                My 0 point won't come for 14 years when my morgagte is paid off. I' not ruling out paying it off early, but it is not in the plan currently.

                When we sold our house about 8 years ago, That was the only time I was at 0 in my adult life. Next time will be with a paid for house and I will likely celebrate in some fashion.

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                  #9
                  My zero moment (outside of mortgage) came 8 months ago after I paid off 11.5K worth of incredibly stupid STUPID tax from an EX fiancee.

                  Personally I went to a resort for a couple of days and just relaxed while deciding which sportscar I wanted in place of the beater I was driving.

                  8 months later.... Im happy to say I have now upgraded the car and seriously upgraded the fiancee.

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                    #10
                    If it should be described in a single word.Its "RELIEF".Can you imagine a zero can have such a positive feel?It does of course if its about debt.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by thomsoad View Post
                      My zero moment (outside of mortgage) came 8 months ago after I paid off 11.5K worth of incredibly stupid STUPID tax from an EX fiancee.

                      Personally I went to a resort for a couple of days and just relaxed while deciding which sportscar I wanted in place of the beater I was driving.

                      8 months later.... Im happy to say I have now upgraded the car and seriously upgraded the fiancee.
                      Ha! This is how you celebrate! :P

                      Once I'm debt free, I have no idea what I'll do next. I guess we'll see

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                        #12
                        My zero moment was at Christmas dinner. I received some great feedback on here about why I should pay off my student loan. Killed it right before Christmas and announced it there. My brother was shocked. He's been living in NY, struggling with student loans. Since then, he's finally realized just how expensive NY is verse Texas.

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                          #13
                          Can't wait for this moment. Still a couple years away, but in my mind it'll be amazing.

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                            #14
                            I can't wait for my debt free moment! 2 years and counting!

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                              #15
                              The problem is that being debt free wasn't enough, that was just step 1.

                              We then needed 6 months' emergency funding saved.

                              Go to dinner out or something that won't get you back int debt and then start saving!

                              Dawn

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