Debt free, way to be: a significant personal milestone.

When I was in my early twenties, I was a financial idiot, racking up thousands and thousands in high-interest credit debt, which has been a millstone around my and my wife’s necks for years now. Even when I wised up, of course, the debt was out there, demanding to be paid every month. The financial drain has been incredible. While we have been able to make the payments, and keep our credit rating out of the crapper, but we have had to scrape down to the very last penny every month to make ends meet. I have kept my head down, refusing to spend money, for YEARS, so that we could pay the price of my financial indulgence from nearly 20 years ago. I’ve felt impossibly guilty for a very long time for putting myself, my wife, and now my baby son through this.
Now all that sacrifice is about to come full circle. As soon as I post this OP, I am going to get up, get in my car, go to the bank, and pay off every last penny of the “legacy” credit debt I owe. Every. Single. Penny.

It will be the very last of my high-interest debt, which has haunted me for most of my adult life. I will never charge one single dime more than I can pay off at the end of the month again. The financial leeway, and ability to save money again, is going to be like a fresh breeze.

Lord, I’m happy, relieved, ecstatic. Goodbye credit debt, hopefully forever!

Wish me luck.

Congratulations! I am, hopefully, just a few months behind you. It’s become a bit of an obsession, but I’m still looking forward to the feeling of being debt free. Can’t wait!

Congratulations, Ogre, and good luck!

Woot! Grats :smiley:

Now you can sink the money that you have been spending on the debt on savings :smiley:

And done! Man, that felt good. Now to shift that money to savings…

Thanks, guys!

Congratulations! That is an amazing accomplishment, and I hope any residual shame you feel from your mistake is balanced by pride at digging yourself out. The latter is far, far hard than the former, as you well know.

And I second aruvqan’s wise suggestion to put at least most of what you’ve been putting toward the debt into savings. Clearly, you’ve been able to live below your means until now – keep it up, and you’ll end up well ahead.

I think the lessons that come the hardest are the ones we learn the best - I too try very hard to avoid getting back into debt*. Mine was student loans - I would just keep taking courses, and keep taking loans, with very little thought for paying them back someday. I worked two jobs for a number of years to finally clear them off, and that was indeed a sweet feeling.

*We have three debts now - a car loan that’s almost done, a mortgage, and a line of credit that we use to buy shares in Jim’s company that historically return over 30% dividends.

The only debt I have now is my mortgage, which will be paid off in 8 1/2 years. I can’t wait.


Good for you! Huge, huge accomplishment.

We are working toward this as well, and are within a year of our goal. It’s nice to see someone get there.

Congratulations, Ogre! I am close to that point. I have been shoveling money at a credit card bill that never quite seems to disappear. Every time we are close, something happens to add a few hundred to it. I’m hoping that we can finally get it paid off, as we can use the money to pay for tuition bills for our son.

As to the rest of you who chimed in - congratulations to you, too! You are an inspiration to me.

It isn’t fun, it isn’t sexy, it isn’t glamorous to pay your bills off .

But it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to say, “I owe nothing”.

I just want to say congratulations and way to go! I was ignorant of all things financial until after I’d already made a huge honking mess of things.

It’s still a long way off for me, but your post gives me hope.


Congrats, ogre. I, too, felt the euphoria after taking about 10 years to pay off the cards. Only by reaching SS age and reaping the bennies of having paid into that for decades and by retiring from one job and then taking another one did it happen.

The last couple of years of it went best, aided by the balance transfer checks I would get from some of the banks. Some had a zero % APR for 6 to 12 months so I trfd $10k twice using them then paid off or paid down another with another. I do use plastic now but pay it all off. I must close some of the 12 cards, with up to $62k limit (that’s on one of them that I’ve had for 42 years.) But Clark Howard says that that will hurt the credit score. Like, why do I need a high one-credit score any more?

Now, they charge a 3-4% transfer fee, though, but I don’t need any anymore. I’m now socking $300/payday into a 401k stable value fund paying 3.93% and using an interest-bearing checking acct for routine expenditures, living off my SS & retirement checks. Zero revolving debt.

For others who may need free advice, if you have a pre-tax flex plan at work, use that for refund med expenses without paying income taxes on it. I just got today a $2,900 refund for dental implant work. Just don’t overestimate how much you will spend on eligible items during the coming year, or you lose the overage.

I recommend listening to Clark Howard, financial guru, on radio or watching him on CNN. He retired at age 26 or so. He’s also at, I think.

Great news. I’m with you by the end of the year too. It’s a wonderful feeling after all these years.

Congratulations! I finally became debt-free a few years ago, and it was very good that I did. Because then I got laid off. I could live on my savings and severance and only have to worry about rent and a few bills. No mortage debt, no student loans, no credit-card debt, no car payments, everything paid for as I bought it. I may not have a lot, but what I have is mine.

Good job. The discipline it took to accomplish this task will serve you well now that you are in the black. Imagine what this same financial and lifestyle discipline will do for your life in a few years. Imagine all the cash you will have. From here on, you are paying for the future, not paying for the past. The money you earn is no longer pre-spent.

Well done.

May I ask how long it has been?

Also, while I dont’ know how well it works with money, I think it’d be okay to splurge at least once as a reward, or even recalculating how much you need to put into savings.

Congratulations! Well done.

I am currently in a position where, if I sold off my coin collection, I could pay off the house. Since the coin collection has no emotional value, and is comprised of some coins I inherited and mostly coins I bought randomly, I am thinking seriously of doing this. Being totally debt free would be awesome! (Although my car just turned over 200K yesterday. I am unsure how long I can go before I replace it.)

That’s fantastic, Ogre. It’s truly a wonderful feeling, and I love reading other people’s debt free stories.

I’ve got about three years to go until I’m debt free. Congratulations, and thanks for giving me a preview of coming attractions.

Congratulations to all who have seen the end or will soon see the end. It is so worth it and such a great feeling to be financially free like that.
I have no personal debt right now after spending my youth racking up student loan and credit card charges. I paid off my car 3 years ago and I only have 1 credit card that I almost never use and pay in full when I do. The mortgage that my husband and I have on our house will be paid off in the fall. We will then be completely debt free. It’s an amazing feeling, and almost scary in a way. What do you do when you don’t owe anyone anything? :slight_smile: Save for the future and live a little. We plan on fixing up a few things around the house, then travel. It’s exciting.