Thursday, January 10, 2013

Debt Payoff Party

Recently I read a story on Yahoo about the latest trend of throwing a debt payoff party (see here for the story).  I was inspired when I read about people paying off a ton of debt in a short amount of time and rewarding themselves. The families in the story took on extra jobs and cut back tremendously to streamline all their effort to paying off debt.  Then, they threw a party to celebrate!

But the story got me thinking....would I ever consider throwing a debt payoff party?

Well, here's the thing.  We've been sorta debt-free before (meaning no other debt besides our mortgage).  But we've never been able to maintain it because we've never gotten ahead of upcoming big expenses, like a new car.  When we had our 3rd child we had to take on a car loan in order to get a car to comfortably fit 3 carseats. So I guess if I were to consider throwing a debt payoff party, I'd want to make sure that we had enough saved up or a system in place to make sure we didn't have to go back in debt a few years later.

While I was reading some of the stories, I also got to thinking about balance. And how far am I really willing to go to become debt free in a short amount of time?  I know Dave Ramsey is big on using "gazelle intensity" to pay off debts quickly. And I'm all for that, especially if you have high interest loans.  But with a low interest car loan and mortgage, I'm not as motivated as the people in the Yahoo story. Because of my role as CFO of my household, my family is already super frugal in most areas already.  I want to maintain some balance with frugality vs. spending so that we can let ourselves  splurge once in a while on things we will remember forever, like family vacations.

I personally would be afraid that if we ever got to the point where we could throw a debt free party, people would look at us differently. Sure, maybe some people would be inspired, but others might look at us as their potential emergency fund or bank.  People are funny about money.

So... as fun as it sounds, I don't see myself ever throwing a debt payoff party. When we do become debt free, we will still have 3 kids to send through college.  We hope to do a lot of traveling before we get too old to get around easily, so that will be a top priority too.

What about you...would you ever consider a debt-payoff party?  Have you ever been to one?


  1. In a New York minute. Nope, never been to one, but wouldn't feel any differently about the people (except maybe a little envious). Friends of ours paid off their house 2 years ago. They're younger than us, and are 100% debt free. Personally I don't look at the interest rate I'm paying, any interest is money I'm never getting back.

    1. One thing about my fear though--since I started blogging about saving and financial stuff, and last year I was blogging about getting an emergency fund in place....we have been asked by people to borrow money. Several times. Which makes me really uncomfortable. I guess they think we have extra money laying around since we can have an emergency fund. If they could only see how frugal I am on a daily basis!

  2. I might do a celebratory dinner at a nice restaurant but I would probably just start planning the next expense. I'm worried that my parents may need our help financially and of course I want Alex to go to college or training for a good career.

  3. I might have a celebratory dinner at a nice restaurant but I would probably just start planning the next expense. I worry that we might have to help my parents when physically and financially as they get older and of course, I want Alex to have the education for a good career.

  4. Nope, I can't see my family having a debt payoff party. We'll probably go out somewhere nice, but that will be it. We probably won't tell anyone in person, just blog about it. Haha.

    We don't do the really fast debt payoff thing either. We tried that for a short amount of time, but just discovered that it discouraged us, and made us want to quit all together. I'd rather work at it a little slower, and still do the things that we enjoy together. As long as we are moving in the right direction, I think that's good enough for us for now. There are certain things that I'm not willing to give up, unless we reach a point where we HAVE to.

  5. I don't think my family would ever do a debt payoff party either. I'll blog about it, and we might go somewhere nice, just the three of us, but that's it.

    We're working on getting out from under some fairly heavy debts, from some unexpected expenses, and just terrible financial planning when I first quit working to stay home with our son. We tried pushing really hard for a while, but that was discouraging, especially to my husband. He felt like he was working tons of hours, and making a decent salary, so he should get to spend more. It ended up leading to major overspending on a deployment. He erased all the hard work we had done over the last year, and added even more debt to it. Since then, we have been more balanced. I still do what I can to cut expenses that are my domain (groceries, clothing, etc) but we have a much more realistic budget for our income. There are things that are more important to us than being completely debt free. We're in total agreement on the vacation thing as well, and that's something I might even consider putting on a credit card short term if I had to. It's THAT important to us. But instead of going into debt over it, we just plan and save for it. I know some would say it's the same thing as going into debt, since we aren't debt free otherwise, but we don't view it that way.

    Our new philosophy is that if our debt numbers are going down, it's a good thing, even if they aren't moving as fast as Dave Ramsey would say they should!