Free Money

Over the last month I have looked at my checking account and wondered what to do with all this free money that is just piling up.  I received my first check in July and I’m not sure if I need any of the money until the end of the month and since I am now have 26 paychecks this year, I will be receiving 3 of these beautiful creations known as a paycheck in July.  I’m not saying this to gloat, I’m saying this because I paid off my student loan last month and have some free money, more to come on that this coming Monday.  All of the money that was going to my student loan debt is just sitting there, it feels like my employer is just giving me free money.

The great thing about paying off debt with everything you have is that when you are done, you get “everything you have” back each time you get paid. If before you were taking your overtime and allocating towards your credit card debt, the next month you get paid every single dollar is now your money, it does not need to go to the monthly payment or the additional principal, it can just sit in your bank account and pile up.  This week when I looked at my bank account I almost didn’t know what to do, so I did the following:

  • Check to see if I missed something.  Did I get paid twice?  Accidentally not pay my mortgage? Write a check to a stranger?
  • Look ahead.  I looked to see if I had bills that were due in the coming weeks?  Mortgage, cell phone, groceries, personal loan
  • Smile really big.  Sure a couple things need to be replenished and a new plan in place for savings, but this month it’s just me and a big smile

Looking at my accounts I still have my Digit account linked up so a few dollars are set aside as Digit works it’s magic, but for the most part that’s it. Just to keep things a little more clear on my end, I did a large transfer from my checking to my savings, this way psychologically it looks like I have no money in my account and less of a chance to go spend my money on Milwaukee Bucks season tickets or a new Trek bike.  Towards the end of last month when I was trying to figure out if I should save more money in my 401K or IRA, etc I decided to take the exact amount of my student loan, $199.85 and apply it towards my Traditional IRA that I have set up from a previous rollover.  I figured I should save some money while I figure things out.  I’m still thinking what to do with all of my free money, but for now I’m just going to watch it pile up  and make some decisions by the end of the month or next month, I have time and patience.

Taking a Break

Now I totally understand  this is not “free money”, but after busting my A$$ for the last 2 years to pay off my student loan debt, it certainly feels like it. If you have every paid off a large amount of money over time, you eventually need a break, some time to breathe and that’s exactly what I plan to do this month.  I’m not giving up on my budget by any means or spending more freely although I could, but what I want to do is get off the debt train and decide what vehicle I want to try next, investing, saving, giving, their are so many possibilities.  It becomes an odd feeling that I’m not sure how to handle at this stage after my debt was paid off, I almost have to remind myself that I don’t have to take the extra $153.46 and make a principal payment to EdFinancial, it’s OK to not log in or pull up my excel spreadsheet to see the payments and how much I need to make next month.

I’m not swimming in money, but I’m swimming with a smile while I take a break and figure things out at my own pace.  The money certainly isn’t free money but it does feel like my money more than it ever has before and for that I am happy.


Have you ever paid off a large sum of money?  Were you relaxed or jumping to the next goal?

21 Responses to “Free Money

  • I know what you are feeling. After paying off our consumer debt we took a few months to regroup and breathe. We didn’t want to make an sudden decision after being in repayment mode for 50 months. After coming up for air we plotted our next move. Good luck and enjoy the accomplishment.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Mid-Year Goal Check UpMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Thanks Brian I know you know the exact feeling, probably even more than I do, thanks for the words of encouragement.

  • Congrats! Take a month off from the excel spreadsheets and relax. Then when you come back you’ll have a clear mind of what you want to do with the “new” money!
    Fervent Finance recently posted…2015 Mid-Year Goals ReviewMy Profile

  • Congrats! It is a great feeling to gain some flexibility. The downside is with choices come consequences. If you are choosing between different savings options, it is tough to make a bad one (mathematically optimal is not always the best move for you).

    I am all for jumping right into the next goal. I would probably celebrate the accomplishment with a nice dinner or splurge on a new power tool, but that is just me! I don’t go crazy, but I like to relax my spending rules occasionally.
    Vawt recently posted…Solar Power UpdateMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Mathematically optimal is not always the best move, yeah I think that’s what makes everything a little tougher when making decisions after you actually know whats going on.

      Yeah def not to crazy, we did the dinner and I was happy;)

  • That is a great feat paying off that student loan. Congrats on that! What you do with that “free money” in the future can make a major impact on your future. Youre doing a good job putting that into your IRA for now but if you decide to stop doing that, make sure you are putting it into another investment vehicle or going toward paying off more debt. You should almost pretend like you dont have that “free money”.

    You do that and you are really setting yourself up for a nice future.
    Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries recently posted…10 Must Have Traits Needed to Achieve SuccessMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Thanks Alexander. You are right it really comes down to making the right moves for the future and delaying gratification, I can’t wait to make my next move a good one.

  • Congrats on paying off your student loans in full! I know you had set a more aggressive goal , but looks like you were only a few months off of that goal.

    I’m looking forward to having this same problem that you are having now when I finally pay off my student loans 🙂 Seems like a much better “problem” to have than actual debt.
    Debt Hater recently posted…June 2015 Budget ReviewMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah Debt Hater, hating student loan all the way to the bank! I’m excited to have this “problem” forever very soon and no student loans forever as well!

  • Woohoo, congrats! That’s got to be such an awesome feeling! We too enjoy watching our money pile up every month since we spend so little of it. It’s really nice to know it’s yours and you can save and invest it however you want!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Hike More, Spend Less: Our Tricks For Frugal HikingMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I’m sure you are watching that money pile up! It’s a new thing for me since every cent has been going towards that debt, living in the moment until the next move;)

  • Congrats on paying off the student debt! That is amazing. I imagine it feels wonderful knowing that you have that “free” money in your account. I think you should definitely treat yourself a bit before diving into your next plan.
    Jessica recently posted…Why It’s Important to Spend Time AloneMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Thanks Jessica:) Yeah I’m slowly putting number in spreadsheets on a daily basis figuring out what’s my next move, it’s funny I over analyze so I need more time to get that out of the way and hopefully I will make the common sense approach that works best for me.

  • Enjoy taking a breather this month Even Steven! You’ve definitely earned it after a solid 2 years of debt repayment, and you can look forward to some grand plans for investing all that extra money in future!

    I definitely enjoyed it when I paid off my student debt, especially since it came straight out of my paycheck, so it was nice to get an automatic pay increase!
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…Million Dollar Islands update – June 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah I’m excited about it for sure, 2 years of debt repayment takes a little bit out of you. Automatic pay increase, sign me up!

  • Congrats Even Steven! I think you should take a small chunk or all of the “extra” money this month and spend it on yourself and your wife. You deserve it and money is supposed to be enjoyed.
    Mrs. Budgets @MrandMrsBudgets recently posted…3 Money Lessons Learned Through Physical TherapyMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Thanks for the congrats, we probably should take a little something out and do it for just the enjoyment. The great thing about our journey is that we haven’t sacrificed as much as one would think but rather made a choice of needs rather than wants. During that time I have simplified my life to not want some of the things, I would have considered before I started. It’s kind of funny like when actors/athletes get rich then are given free stuff.

  • Congratulations again on paying the student loans. I am with everyone else. You have certainly earned a bit of a breather and even a nice dinner or something with your wife (Meritage is great in Chicago as you probably know). If you want to do something with it I would say that saving it is probably the best thing or start putting it toward your mortgage. That way, like your student loans, you can see an “instant” return on your money and it will make you feel like you are being “productive” with it. I put those things in air quotes because I don’t like having a lot of money just doing nothing. I want to pay off debt, save for retirement or some other item (e.g. a vacation), or something else. But that is me.
    Jason recently posted…Financial Tip Friday: What Is Your Risk Tolerance?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I haven’t heard of the Meritage Cafe (shockingly my wife tries to go everywhere for eating out) but turns out it’s closed. We have the mortgage part covered making some big strides since we keep our finances separate in many ways. I do have a personal loan that I am heavily considering as my next goal, especially since it’s my last personal debt. I might have to make 2015 the year of debt repayment and make 2016 the year of investing, either way thanks for the direction.

  • I find myself in the same circumstance right now. We just finished off our student loans in June so now we need to game plan on how to use the extra funds so they don’t end up as lifestyle inflation.

    As for now, we are contributing the extra to our Roth IRAs to make sure we max them out for the year and will evaluate the next steps once we hit that point.

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah very similar spots, I do have one debt left that I have been considering putting the final axe to, but in the meantime I do have a small amount going to my IRA while I figure it all out as well. So we both are taking it day by day until we figure things out, that sounds good to me.

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