Yesterday, I was able to cross off another item on my life list. I paid off my car! It gave me a great sense of satisfaction as I logged into my bank’s website and made the final payment that cleared the loan off. As I got into my car later that day, it was like driving it for the first time. My car is completely mine now. Paying off the car loan also means that I’m once again debt-free. Being debt-free is important to me because it represents freedom. Not only freedom from creditors, but also the freedom to spend my money in whatever way I choose.

Having financial freedom is critical in pursuing my life goals. Many of the goals on my list carry a large price tag and it will be hard to achieve them if I can’t save up the money to do them in the first place. This goes beyond just paying off debt. It forces me to think about every expense that I have and whether it is something that will ultimately lead me to my dreams or not. It often means sacrifice.

For example, a friend of mine wants me to get annual passes to a local theme park. While going to the park would be quite fun, it would also be expensive- not only in the cost of the pass but also the expense of gas, parking and food that would come up with every visit  there. So while I could afford it, I’ve decided not to get the pass and save up for a grand adventure instead that I won’t find in any theme park. Sure, it means that sometimes I’m at home while my friend is off having fun, but I’m one step closer to achieving what is really important to me. Whether it’s visiting some new states like I did last month or taking a dream trip overseas, those will be the things that I will treasure and remember at the end of my life- not just some other trip to a theme park that I’ve been to many times before.

The process of gathering financial resources to go after my dreams will take some time, but it will be worth it. And now the process just got a little quicker without that debt.