Living debt free is not the case for most Canadians. According to the Bank of Canada, as of 2018, the average Canadian household debt is 170% of disposable income. That means that the average Canadian owes $1.70 for every $1 they earn per year, after taxes.

That’s a Canadian record and nearly 100% more than it was 20 years ago.

Overspending and living with debt are a way of life for many Canadians but it doesn’t have to be that way. Debt free living is achievable, but it’s a matter of understanding and addressing the root of the problem and not just attacking the symptoms.

The issue isn’t that Canadians have a money problem, the trouble is we have a mindset problem.

We’ve been taught that living with debt is just what we do. We rack up our credit cards, we spend our money on car payments, and we use student loans to pay for our education.

We think that everyone goes into debt, so why should we be any different?

If you want to achieve debt free living, where you don’t have to pay a company for the privilege of owing them money, here are the personal behaviours that set the debt free apart.

Traits of People Who Experience Debt-Free Living

1. They Are Outside The Norm

People who live without debt think about money differently from other people. They don’t believe the same things that everyone else does, especially around money. They don’t need credit cards to live their life and treat debt like something to be rid of a soon as possible. For these people, debt is normal, and who wants to be normal anyway?

debt free living

2. They Are Disciplined

Someone living debt free has done what it takes to form the habits and behaviours that make living that way possible. They don’t make impulse purchases on items if they don’t have the cash on hand to pay for them. They are swayed to buy something just because it’s a “good deal”. They know that buying something new won’t make them feel better. The good news is that discipline is only necessary long enough to form the habit, once the habit is in place you no longer feel the desire to overspend that got you into trouble in the first place.

3. They Are Confident

Debt free living means feeling confident in who you are and what you’re doing with your life. They know that it doesn’t really matter what people think about what car you drive, or where you went on vacation. Keeping up with the Jones’s in an ever increasing arms race of escalating debt is not the game they play. They’ve realized that they become more confident in their ability to pay off debt and manage their finances with every dollar they pay off.

4. They Have Goals

Debt free living is a goal, one that they have chosen to pursue. People who keep their goals in front of them and make themselves accountable are much more likely to achieve them. They set goals that are measurable and specific and they can see how much progress they’re making every day.

5. They Are Fed Up

Living with debt means increased anxiety and stress, it’s uncomfortable and makes the rest of your life that much harder. People who are living debt free are fed up with living that way and will do whatever it takes to stay that way. They will squeeze every dollar they can and maximize their budget at every opportunity. Saving money becomes a badge of honor instead of a something to hide from.

6. They Don’t Care About Things

The person that wants to live debt free realizes that more things won’t make them happy. They don’t go into debt to pay for an expensive vacation, and they don’t finance a car just because they can. People who live debt free are content with what they have and don’t fall into the trap of wanting things that don’t add value to their life.

Read More: Paying Off Debt With Mortgage Refinancing

7. They Are Willing to Make Sacrifices

Someone living debt free has the wisdom to understand that if you want to have a better future, you have to give up something in the present. They know that because the world tends to reward sacrifice with as much or more value in the future, they know that saving money and eliminating their debts will pay off 100x. They know that you have to do what others won’t do to have what others don’t have.

Want to enjoy Debt Free Living?

Once you realize that debt is holding you back and preventing you from living the life you’ve always wanted, it becomes much easier to be patient, make the necessary but temporary sacrifices, and be confident in your ability to pay off your debt.