Free

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have been looking forward to being able to write this very post one day, and the day is finally here.

The Background

Last May, I opened up about a very serious financial situation I had let myself get into. You can read the original post here, but basically, I let myself rack up $11,000 in credit card debt on three separate cards from overspending and not managing my money wisely. I consider myself a bargain shopper through and through, but not sharing how much debt I was dealing with on here was making me feel like a fraud since readers were impressed with my grocery budgeting, when in reality, I had little choice.

That post remains one of my most popular, which I find amusing since this is a weight loss blog, but I think that the discipline required for money management is very similar to that required for managing your weight, so maybe it’s not that far off after all. Since there was so much interest, I went on to do two more posts on the topic; one about the first steps in taking control of your finances, and a second with tips on how to live healthy on the cheap.

The Follow-Up

Since that mini-series on finance last May, I had one major unexpected expense come up – moving into my own apartment since my (ex)boyfriend and I broke up after four years together. I had to pay a security deposit on the new apartment (and didn’t have one from my old apartment to offset it), plus had to hire movers, furnish and decorate the place, and am paying more in rent now that I live alone than I did when I lived with my ex.

Despite that, I have been working VERY hard to knock out the debt, cutting back where I can, using extra money to pay off my credit card, and while still living reasonably, trying to be very regimented with my finances.

I think you can guess where this is going:

As of today, I am 100% debt free.

 

I got a modest bonus at work from last year in yesterday’s paycheck and used the entire thing (and then some) to pay off the last bit of debt and it officially went through today. Logging into Mint.com and seeing “$0” as my credit card balance is something I have literally never seen until this morning.

I can’t even begin to articulate how freeing this feels, and honestly haven’t really gotten my head around it yet. I am sure it will hit when I get my next pay check and, for the first time since graduating from college 6 years ago, I won’t be transferring any of it to pay off my credit card(s).

I don’t plan to do things or live much differently than I have until now, because my goal is to start aggressively saving money. I want to take the same amount of money I was paying towards my credit card and instead put it into my savings account, and my goal is to have 6 months of expenses (~$10,000) in savings by the end of this year.

I am so excited!!!!!!!

57 Comments on Free

  1. Glenneth
    March 1, 2012 at 8:37 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats! How exciting!

    Reply
  2. Victoria
    March 1, 2012 at 8:41 am (6 years ago)

    Amazing. Great work.

    Reply
  3. Katie Photiadis
    March 1, 2012 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

    CONGRATS BETH!!!!

    That is a HUGE accomplishment. You must feel fantastic. WAY TO GO!!!!

    Reply
  4. Anna
    March 1, 2012 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

    My Hubs and I are doing the “snowball calculator” on our finances. We have our credit cards paid off but are still working on student, car and house loans. BUT when we have an unexpected expense come up, like last week’s $140 new tire due to a nail, it is so freeing to be able to pay that with savings money instead of tacking it onto a mountain of credit card debt.

    Congrats!

    Reply
  5. Katie Photiadis
    March 1, 2012 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

    CONGRATS BETH!!!! That is a HUGE accomplishment. You must feel fantastic. WAY TO GO!!!!

    Reply
  6. Holly
    March 1, 2012 at 8:52 am (6 years ago)

    Congratulations Beth!!! You have worked so hard to do this and you should be so proud of yourself!!!

    Reply
  7. Parita @ myinnershakti
    March 1, 2012 at 9:05 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats, Beth!!! That’s so awesome. You shold be so proud of yourself!

    Reply
  8. Sara
    March 1, 2012 at 9:18 am (6 years ago)

    AMAZING! That is SO great!!! 😀 Good job!!!!

    Reply
  9. Liz
    March 1, 2012 at 9:31 am (6 years ago)

    AMAZING! Congrats!!

    I’m also impressed with your drive to save – I NEED to get on that stat!

    Liz

    Reply
  10. Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    March 1, 2012 at 9:32 am (6 years ago)

    Yay! It must feel SO liberating to be out of debt! Congrats!! Treat yourself (to something affordable! 🙂 )

    Reply
  11. Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner
    March 1, 2012 at 9:33 am (6 years ago)

    WOW!! Congratulations! That is so freekin’ awesome! One of my goals for this year is to really get on top of my money, since my husband and I have kind of a weird financial situation (he is a sub, so there are chunks of the year we don’t get a paycheck from him, and I’m a student so I don’t bring in much money). We tend to be really stressfully broke at the end of summer and the beginning of the year, and I want to figure out how to manage our money so that doesn’t happen! Your work at paying off your debt is definitely inspiring!

    Reply
  12. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    March 1, 2012 at 9:42 am (6 years ago)

    YES! Go Beth! I just paid off my credit cards too and it almost made me cry! I’m into the same phase of save, save, save now! My savings account literally has next to nothing in it because I’ve been using everything to pay off the credit cards.
    Congratulations again, Beth!! 🙂

    Reply
  13. Lauren
    March 1, 2012 at 9:43 am (6 years ago)

    Awesome work!

    Reply
  14. Diandra
    March 1, 2012 at 9:44 am (6 years ago)

    Wow! I am still at the very beginning of paying off my university debt, and it is scary!

    Reply
  15. Juliette Dallas-Feeney
    March 1, 2012 at 9:46 am (6 years ago)

    You go girl!!! That’s so amazing and I’m so glad you chose to open up about this on your blog. I’m sure this will strike a chord with many readers who are in debt themselves, or even just struggling financially. You hit your goal weight AND got out of debt – talk about feeling free! Congratulations, Beth!

    Reply
  16. Maria
    March 1, 2012 at 10:02 am (6 years ago)

    So awesome!! Congrats!!

    Reply
  17. Racheal @ Running with Racheal
    March 1, 2012 at 10:04 am (6 years ago)

    What an amazing feeling. I agree that you having control of your health and finance is a very similar thought process.

    Once I reach goal, that is the next one to tackle.

    Good for you! 🙂

    Reply
  18. Heather
    March 1, 2012 at 10:06 am (6 years ago)

    So exciting! I paid off my credit cards with my tax refund, and it gave me the best feeling! Huge congrats!

    Reply
  19. holly
    March 1, 2012 at 10:07 am (6 years ago)

    that. is. amazing.

    i need to reread your posts, because i am in debt (not quite as much) but nowhere near where i want to be. thanks for inspiring!

    Reply
  20. Jennifer
    March 1, 2012 at 10:11 am (6 years ago)

    Congratulations Beth!!! That is a huge accomplishment, and will help set you up for financial freedom in your life. Learning that in your 20’s is so great.

    Reply
  21. Kimberly @ Healthy Strides
    March 1, 2012 at 10:33 am (6 years ago)

    Congratulations! I know that feeling, and it is definitely a good one. I found it interesting that you mentioned the connection to debt and weight. My spending/debt was at its worst when my weight was also at its highest. In a way, I think it was a general failure on my part to take ownership and responsibility for my life. Also, depression didn’t help – I was unhappy with life and myself and spending was a good way to escape.

    Reply
  22. Michael
    March 1, 2012 at 10:50 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats! I only have 1 CC so this isn’t really an issue for me. However, due to my previous job I’m in debt to the IRS at $9,136. Now that I’m with a new company every refund I get will automatically be applied to the debt, which is good, but I could use the refund. On top of that I’ll be paying them $150/month to get it down faster. In the next 3 years I’m hoping to be able to post something like this myself!!

    Reply
  23. Brittany
    March 1, 2012 at 11:34 am (6 years ago)

    This is awesome news Beth! Congrats!!!

    Reply
  24. Hilary
    March 1, 2012 at 11:49 am (6 years ago)

    Woot woot! Congrats, so exciting for you!

    Reply
  25. Theodora
    March 1, 2012 at 11:54 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats!!! You just reminded me to make a few more payments. My goal is June 15.

    Reply
  26. Lisa
    March 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm (6 years ago)

    Good for you! It’s an excellent feeling! I’ve been enjoying it for a few years now. It is such a good feeling to be able to put things on my credit card and pay it off that month and be back to zero. I never let it get over an amount that I can pay off. I hate carrying a balance now.

    Reply
  27. Alicia from Poise in Parma
    March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Good for you!! I’m really proud of you – I know many people struggling with this. What a relief you must feel.

    Reply
  28. Logan
    March 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm (6 years ago)

    Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment and one that I wished other people realized the importance of. You deserve to feel very proud of yourself.

    Reply
  29. Gwen
    March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm (6 years ago)

    THAT is so exciting Beth! I created a timeline for Hubs and I to be debt free (except for our TWO houses) in 24 mos, and that alone is sooo exciting! Way to go doll!

    Reply
  30. Cristina
    March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm (6 years ago)

    Beth,
    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! What an exciting post to read.

    Reply
  31. Linz
    March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm (6 years ago)

    Congratulations!

    Reply
  32. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm (6 years ago)

    That’s HUGE! Congratulations!!
    My husband and I are working to pay off our debt as well – it’s definitely slow going but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it feels great!

    Reply
  33. Jenny
    March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm (6 years ago)

    Wow congrats Beth! I really need to buckle down and get my credit card paid off. Its less that 5k but, it’s been at about the same amount for a few years now. After I get that paid off, the only debt I will have in my name is my house, and well, that won’t be as quick to pay off 😉

    Reply
  34. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    March 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm (6 years ago)

    Congratulations, Beth! That is SUCH an accomplishment, and I know how hard you worked to make it happen. You should be so proud! I am similarly cc debt free now, although I’m waiting for my tax return to come through so I can pay back the little bit of my money I still owe my dad. After that though, I’ll be following a similar aggressive-savings plan. Your posts inspired me to post about my own debt situation a while back, you know! 😀

    Reply
  35. Sarah
    March 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm (6 years ago)

    That. is. AWESOME.
    Congratulations!

    Reply
  36. Jess
    March 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm (6 years ago)

    That is so awesome Beth! I think you are so right about the management of money and weight are really related. Congratulations! 🙂

    Reply
  37. Sheri
    March 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm (6 years ago)

    That’s amazing! Congrats to you!!!!!

    Reply
  38. Danielle
    March 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm (6 years ago)

    Congrats!! I’ve been there and know what a HUGE relief it is!! One of my goals this year was to pay absolutely no fees to credit card or debit card companies… basically that means paying all balances each and every month… so far, so good!

    Reply
  39. Jess
    March 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm (6 years ago)

    Congrats Beth, that is awesome! I’m so thankful that my hubby and I are debt free, it sure takes a lot of stress off 🙂

    Reply
  40. kena
    March 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Beth- Congrats! I just experienced this same victory about two weeks ago! Yay! I am also starting to save like crazy! Great job! The feeling is awesome!

    Reply
  41. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    March 2, 2012 at 8:07 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats! Being debt free is probably one of the most freeing feelings in the world. You deserve it after all of your hard work!

    Reply
  42. Mavis
    March 2, 2012 at 8:38 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats! I’m almost there myself 😉

    Reply
  43. Sara, Food Blogger on a Diet / Ms. Adventures in Italy
    March 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm (6 years ago)

    Big congratulations – I know how it feels. I was in debt myself before moving to Italy, even though I was making good money. I spent the next year really poor but I’ve been debt-free for 8 years now 🙂

    Reply
  44. Sue
    March 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm (6 years ago)

    That is so great and inspiring!!! I just joined mint.com so that my husband and I can do the same thing. Right now it says it will take 10 years (yikes), but I’m hoping by summer we’ll be able to put more $$$ toward the payments each month and shorten the amount of time it will take. Thanks for being so open and honest about your situation.

    Reply
  45. Mindy Lipsky
    March 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm (6 years ago)

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! that is HUGE! The best is yet to come!

    Reply
  46. Life's a Bowl
    March 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm (6 years ago)

    CONGRATS, that’s awesome and definitely freeing! A shopping spree to celebrate sounds fun [hehe] 😛

    Reply
  47. Tami
    March 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm (6 years ago)

    Beth, that is awesome! Congratulations! What a big relief!

    Reply
  48. Lisa
    March 3, 2012 at 8:30 am (6 years ago)

    Congratulations! Good luck on working towards your emergency fund, but I bet you’ll have the money sooner than you expect!

    Reply
  49. Liz @ learningwithliz
    March 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm (6 years ago)

    Congrats! Several years ago I also got into some credit card debt to the tune of $4000 and the feeling of paying it off was amazing!!

    Reply
  50. Angie
    March 5, 2012 at 8:36 am (6 years ago)

    Congrats Beth!!

    I got into debt around 1999-2000 & then got myself out of debt the next couple of years so I know how rewarding it is to pay those bills off!

    I have been thinking of checking out mint.com to track my spending but I got freaked out when it asked me for my banking info! I know it is fine as I didn’t go to the site through some illicit email or something but I still find it a bit unnerving to give out my bank info..

    Once again.. Congrats!!!

    Reply
  51. Hilary @ The Big Weight
    March 15, 2012 at 11:01 am (6 years ago)

    Great job Beth! I couldn’t agree more with this statement: “I think that the discipline required for money management is very similar to that required for managing your weight.” Right on!

    Reply

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