Five Things You Don’t Have to Give Up to Pay Off Debt

5 things you dont have to give up while paying off your debt

Paying off debt is a major undertaking. It’s a huge commitment and requires planning and making sacrifices. Trust me, I understand. We’ve been in the trenches paying off student loan debt since 2009. We’ve had some really bad days. Sometimes it feels like we will never finish paying off our student loans. Sometimes I wonder if we should sacrifice more and other days I wonder if we should have just paid the minimums all along? Managing debt is stressful.

Even though you’ve probably made many sacrifices while paying off debt, you don’t have to give up everything.  Here are five things that you do not have to sacrifice to pay off your debt:


You are free to be happy or miserable. Make the most of each day. Find happiness in the people and world around you.


 Debt often brings a lot of stress and anxiety into your life. You will need to take extra good care of your body so it can deal with the stress.  Do we have gym memberships? No. Do we shop at Whole foods? No. This doesn’t stop us from getting exercise and eating healthy meals.

Your Dreams

Never ever let the evil debt monster stop you from pursuing your dreams. Dream big.


There are plenty of great adventures to be had. You don’t need to jump on an airplane and spend two weeks in a foreign country to have an adventure. Look around you.


 Make sure you find humor and joy in your life. Laughter is a gift. As Robert Frost once said, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane”

What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made while paying off your debt? What have you learned or discovered while paying off debt?


  1. Nice list. You’ve made me restless, though, by mentioning adventure.

  2. LOVE this, Liz!!! So many times (and I’m guilty of this myself) we make our debt payoff journey seem like a prison sentence, but it really doesn’t have to be with the right attitude.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Two Steps to Get Out of DebtMy Profile

  3. Nicely said! We don’t have to give these things up to pay off debt, and all I think will be come to us even more easily when that debt is erased!
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted…Nobody Wants to Budget!!My Profile

  4. I love posts like this! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything you’re giving up to have a better future, but there are so many things that money can’t buy!

  5. Great list. It’s good to remember that we also have a life to live.
    Aldo recently posted…Good Debt Vs. Bad DebtMy Profile

  6. I love this. I honestly thought this article was going to be completely different when I opened it up…like the usual stuff you don’t have to give up, but it was a nice surprise because it’s so true. Money has been a bit of a struggle lately but that doesn’t mean I am not happy. Meanwhile I’m at my dad’s and they have a nice life with nice stuff, but they find the smallest things to bitch about. 🙂

  7. I especially love that you mentioned dreams. It’s important for us to not let debt hold us back. We still have the power of choice!
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…October Budget PreviewMy Profile

  8. Simple, sweet, and powerful…the way we should keep life. Sometimes finances take over our lives and thoughts. Time to take it back!
    Lance @ HWI recently posted…The Janitor’s Money SecretMy Profile

  9. Paying off debt is a reminder for me to focus on the things that are priceless, including my personal growth and happiness. It’s stretched me in ways I wouldn’t have experienced without being financially strapped while I pay off my student loans.

  10. So true – if you can’t find these things while you’re in debt, chances are you won’t be able to find them when you’re out of the debt.
    Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter recently posted…I Drink Two Buck ChuckMy Profile

  11. What a great encouraging post! I needed this today. Feeling the weight of debt can be so overwhelming sometimes but you are right there are so many things that you don’t have to give up while in the trenches! Great reminder. 🙂
    Jessi Fearon (@TheBudgetMama) recently posted…Why You Need a Record of AccountsMy Profile

  12. Love this! I love the 1st on the list…happiness! I think so much when it comes to getting out of debt is learning to be content with what you have. Its so easy to run into the comparison trap and become envoious of things others have that you don’t.
    Allison recently posted…Someone Who’s Known Me for a Long TimeMy Profile

  13. #6 Your bathroom breaks. No one can take those away from you. Whether you’re paying off debt or now, when you gotta go, you gotta go! 😉
    debs @ debt debs recently posted…To Take or Not To Take Early CPPMy Profile

  14. Totally! And, I think this holds true for extreme frugality and savings in addition to debt repayment. We don’t feel deprived in our frugal weirdo lifestyle because we have all of the things on your list.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Weekly Woot & Grumble: 6 Months & A Healthy HoundMy Profile

  15. I haven’t had any struggles with debt like some of the other readers, but I definitely agree with your idea that paying your debt shouldn’t consume you. It’s an important thing to do, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of living life to the fullest. After all, we only got one of those 🙂
    Anton Ivanov recently posted…Ask the Experts – Tips for Dealing with Student LoansMy Profile

  16. I’m happy you said you don’t have to get on a plane and travel to a foreign land to have an adventure. Personally, I dislike travel. Especially by plane. Not only am I terrified of flying, but the whole airport/airplane experience is such a hassle that for me it ruins the whole trip. . Many people in the personal finance world believe that travel is the only thing that leads to a good life. It ain’t! My favorite place to be is home anyway.
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  17. We can still have these five things while in debt. It really depends on our choice. But, among the five, I can somehow give up adventure so that I can pay off my debt quickly….
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Is it OK to make money from others fear?My Profile