First off, congratulations. Many of us spend a long time working on getting out of debt, and when that day finally comes, are not sure what to do with ourselves and our cash! Sure, it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still worth planning for and thinking about ahead of time.
As a debt-survivor, you’re going to look at your bills, accounts and notice a lot of $0 balances. It’s time to celebrate this, but beware of getting back into debt. Don’t celebrate with purchases you can’t afford! Just because you no longer owe money, doesn’t mean you should get back into debt. Debt can be cyclical: some people are constantly back in and out of it… because of poor planning.
To get out of debt, you must have been following a lot of our advice, being disciplined and watching your finances closely. Now that the pressure’s off, a lot of your effort can wind down as well – as long as it’s not all of your effort. It’s important to still keep track of your cash and monitor where it’s going.
If you’re used to set monthly amounts coming out of your paycheque to pay off debt, why not keep that going into your savings? If you were paying $100 of debt-relief each month, start (automatically) transferring that into your savings account instead. If you jump on this right out of the debt-free gates, you won’t even notice that you’re saving the extra money.
Cash is all about habits, and paying things off (setting money aside) is a great habit to have.
Once you’re out of debt, the hard part is over. Now it’s all about being responsible, having fun and remembering all the work it took to get back to square one. If you want to stay out of debt, keep up the work and get used to the patterns that helped you.