A couple weeks ago Blonde on a Budget and Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses hosted a meetup where there was an open discussion about money. Many of those in attendance had just cleared their debts and now weren’t quite sure to do next.

Some of us have spent so much time worrying about our debts that we’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to have money leftover. Here’s some ideas of what to do with your life after debt.

Start saving
Without a doubt saving is probably a low priority when we’re busy paying down our debts but now that we’re debt free it’s time to start saving. That money you were paying off your debt with every month can now be put towards savings. It doesn’t matter what you’re saving for; it could be a home, your retirement, or even a new cellphone, the point is you want to set up good saving habits so you don’t end up in debt again.

life after debt

Educate yourself
You’ve worked hard to pay off your debts but what good is that if you end up falling in debt all over again? If you haven’t done so already, then it’s time to start learning more about personal finance and how to manage your money. Fortunately there are a ton of books out there that will help you learn; a few of my favourites include Preet Banerjee’s Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!, Andrew Hallam’s Millionaire Teacher, and Robert R. Brown’s Wealthing Like Rabbits.

→Related: The Top Personal Finance Books For Canadians

Use your credit cards again
Credit cards may have been the reason you got into debt in the first place so I wouldn’t be surprised if you stopped using them altogether. But the thing is, you want to start using your credit cards again so you can establish a positive credit score which is vital if you ever plan to apply for a mortgage. If you’re worried about falling into debt again then reduce the limit on your credit cards.

Build an emergency fund
Earlier in the week I explained what an emergency fund is, well now that you’re out of debt it’s a perfect time to start building that fund. Don’t even think about using a line of credit or your credit cards as your emergency fund, you’ll just end up back where you started.

Start Investing
So you’ve educated yourself and now you’re ready to invest, but what should you invest in? Mutual funds area good place to start; Yes I realize they have high management expense ratios, but when you’re starting off with limited funds the fees aren’t as big of a deal. The idea is to get into investing early, that being said, the Tangerine Investment Funds offer a passive style of investing with low management fees.

Final word
Go ahead and treat yourself, being debt free is something that you should celebrate, just don’t blow $1K partying it up.

The journey may have been tough, but you made it and i would love to hear your stories so leave me a comment. Learn from your experiences, life after debt can be tricky so avoid falling back into the debt trap.

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Image courtesy: Antoine K via StockPholio.com