A comment was made yesterday cautioning me against taking my vacation just after becoming Totally Debt Free.
Moreover, it was the fact that the timing was wrong and the way that I had paid for said vacation that seemed to be the cause for concern.
I respect this person and their point of view, but I am going ahead with my plans. I do want to pause to elaborate on the point that I think they were trying to make.
Or rather, the point that came to my mind, at any rate. (I never claim to speak for others.)
The Woo-Hoo Trap.
The Woo-Hoo Trap is what happens after you achieve some great goal such as paying off your debts, yet you have no plan afterwards.
You relax and think that nothing like that terrible thing (of being mired in debt) will ever happen to you again, cause you are smart.
Then the thoughts creep in . . . reminding you of all the things you missed out on. Whispering to you all the things you wanted to buy yet denied yourself during your journey.
Advertising has a way of reminding you of these things.
So, you decide to just “treat yourself,” to just get that one thing . . . then that other thing . . . then, why not this as well? And so on until you are back where you started.
Why this happens is twofold.
The first reason why this happens is that you never changed your mindset and how you relate to money.
You still have your old impulsive habits in place and have thrown aside your frugal/budgeting ways after achieving your goal of debt freedom.
The second reason is that you forgot that zero is not a resting place but a starting place.
Being debt free is like clawing out of a hole that you have fallen into (or dug yourself into, rather) and you are now back up to ground level.
You are back where you started at, at the beginning of your working life. That’s it, that’s all that you have accomplished. You are back up to zero, back at the starting line.
You need to continue to press forward, continue to set goals, continue to strive for more.
Set a new goal, a higher goal, something that will take you to a better place than you are now.
For me, as I have said before, the next phase that I will enter is the “Don’t Do This Again” phase.
This will see me save up enough cash that I could live on for a year to a year or two (if needed) or weather a fiscal emergency.
This phase should end sometime in April.
After that, comes the Savings/Dreambuilding” phase. This will see me save up enough cash to buy some land and pay cash. (Quarter Section Minimum) Again, this should take me up until late in 2019.
I will still take my break and take it when I become debt free, because it is important to celebrate your successes in the moment. That and I have earned it.
I will move on, I will continue my frugal ways and do my best to avoid The Woo-Hoo Trap. I should be able to spot it this time, as I have fallen for that one before.
As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!