That’s right, we’ve managed to completely clear our debt! We started out with just over £41,000 of credit card and loan debt ($65,000) and it’s now been eliminated.
I can barely contain my happiness as I write this post, because for such a long time, I thought we would always have to live under the heavy burden of debt.
We’ve experienced rock bottom twice at the hands of debt. Over the years, we’ve been sad, angry, hopeless, depressed and even ashamed at times about our level of debt. There didn’t seem to be a way out for many years even though we tried so often to pay off debt here and there. We considered bankruptcy before entering into a debt management plan because our debts were totally out of control. Things were incredibly stressful back then.
Then luckily in January 2013, something changed in us, this blog was born and we were able knuckle down and undertake the necessary steps to get ourselves out of debt for good! It’s been a tough journey, emotionally and financially. We’ve had bad months and good months. But there you have it – after 15 years of being in debt, we are finally debt free!
So how did we go from £13,073.74 in August to debt free now?
In August’s debt repayment update, I explained how our last debt was a front loaded loan, where all the interest was added on at the start. The figure of £13,073.74 was the amount with interest included across the full term of the loan. To settle early, we were told that we’d be given an interest rebate which would bring the amount to pay down to £11,305.51.
Since April, when we had a breakthrough with the other debts that we had, we’ve been saving every penny and taking on extra work to bring in more money including doing new side hustles like eBook launches and making Tour de France memorabilia. We’ve even been scraping around for loose change behind the sofa and in the car. Basically we’ve been doing everything we could to raise enough money to clear our last remaining debt.
There came a point a couple of weeks ago, where we realised that if we also included the money we had saved in our emergency fund, we’d have enough money to clear our debts. We decided to go ahead with this decision to empty the emergency fund (actually it’s not quite empty, there’s still £200 left in there) and so we used it to be rid of our debts for good.
We called our creditor, got the final settlement in writing and have been waiting on tenterhooks to get the letter through the post. One thing I’ve learned about dealing with creditors is to get everything in writing, even if it means waiting impatiently for two weeks. Finally, it came through, we phoned the creditor again with joy in our hearts to make this final wretched payment and… guess what happened…?
The payment declined! After an initial panic, we found out that our bank was being cautious and they’d stopped the payment in case it was being fraudulently taken, with it being such a lot of money. So instead, we made the payment online and watched the money disappear from our account. After a phone call again to check it had been received, we could finally allow ourselves to rest in the knowledge that our debts were gone. Have we celebrated? Strangely, no… not yet!
However, words can’t describe the relief that we’re feeling, to know that we’ve dealt with our debts. Our relationship and marriage is stronger than ever, we’re better educated about money and we’re looking forward to a bright future, free from debt! (Note – we do have a mortgage on a rental property, but I’ll write more about our plans on that another day).
What now for Disease Called Debt?
This blog was created out of despair and frustration, at a time when I personally felt alone and swamped by the pressure of what was happening to us. This blog was my outlet for venting my thoughts. I didn’t expect to find a supportive community of like minded people who have inspired me and in turn have helped me to inspire others. I didn’t know that I would learn about budgeting, emergency funds, frugal living and tons of ways to make extra money. I definitely didn’t expect anything positive to come from being in debt.
So although this blog has served its purpose – to allow me to document our journey to debt freedom – Disease Called Debt will still go on. I will still write about debt because I want to help others who are facing the same problems as we did. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing our own debt success story and also about the new goals we’ll be setting for ourselves in order to start building wealth for the first time.
Thank you to all of you for reading this blog and for motivating me to keep on writing. Without you reading this, I genuinely don’t know if we’d be debt free right now. I don’t know whether the hubby and I would have been able to stay the course without having you, through this blog, keeping us accountable.
Please keep on reading this blog – it really does mean the world to me.
A HUGE congratulations on paying off all your debt!!! This is my favorite type of post to read in the pf blogosphere!!
Thanks Michelle for your kind words and support! 🙂
well done! Now to rebuild that emergency fund so debt doesn’t happen again. =)
Mrs. PoP recently posted…When To DIY And When To Outsource
Definitely! The emergency fund is top of the list, we need to get some money into that well before Christmas! Thanks Mrs PoP!
Congrats on finally being debt free! That is such a big hurdle and I’m so happy to hear you can start using your money for everything you want!
Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…And Then It Was Fall…
Thanks Amanda! We don’t really want to spend any money now even though the debts are gone – that’s a good thing though! 🙂
Whoo hoo! Congratulations Hayley! That’s huge!
Thank you Tonya – and for your encouragement every step of the way! 🙂
Congratulations Hayley! How silly that the payment was initially declined!
What a weight off your shoulders! Now to build up your emergency fund!
Kate@GoodnightDebt recently posted…A lesson in the value of money.
Thanks Kate! Yes indeed, the emergency fund is the priority now – I’m kind of on edge about that in case something goes wrong, but I’m sure it won’t take long to build up. I just had to pay those debts off at the first opportunity.
Congrats!!!! What a great feeling to finally be out from under your debt! Best of luck on the next part of your journey Hayley!
Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Help a Reader: How do I get back on my feet without declaring Bankruptcy?
Thanks so much Brian for your support! 🙂
That’s AMAZING! Congratulations! I have heard that the transition from in debt to debt-free can actually be a little trickier than some people anticipate (being overwhelmed by possibilities for saving/investing, etc., etc.), and it sounds like you guys are stepping back to let it soak in, which I think is a great idea. Congrats again!
Ms. Mintly @ MintlyBlog recently posted…What Would You Do with $8,000?
Thank you Ms. Mintly! We’re just going to concentrate on our emergency fund for now with a view to getting that built back up. Step no. 2 will be retirement planning and step no.3 will be saving for a house. The finer details will follow when we’ve worked them out but frugal living is still high up on our list of priorities!
Congrats! You did amazingly well! 🙂
Michelle recently posted…6 Ways Being Cheap Can Cost You Money
Thanks Michelle and for your support all the way through our journey! 🙂
Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you, Hayley. You’ve worked incredibly hard to make this happen, and I’m glad it’s finally over for you. I’m also glad to hear you’ll be continuing on with the blog!
Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…How I Overcame an Unexpected Expense
Thank you Erin, we really do feel like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders at last! No more worrying about creditors!
Congratulations Hayley!!! I am so happy that your focus and hard work has paid off!!
Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Commitment is Key
Thanks Shannon for your kind words, it means a lot to me!
Congrats! I can hear the excitement in your writing about being debt free. I love that you hustled and kept at it, the ebook and selling memorabilia shows how bad you wanted it out of your life. As a non-medical professional, I would like to declare you are cured of your disease, please do regular checkups to make sure it does not come back;)
Even Steven recently posted…How a Guy Selling Hot Dogs Retired Early
Ha ha! Well that is a relief to think that we’re cured at last from the debt disease! May the cure spread like wildfire for other people too! Thanks Steven. 🙂
CONGRATULATIONS!!! Super happy for you guys!
Ciel Belle recently posted…Week 19 : Long weekends
Thanks Ciel, really appreciate your support!
Congratulations!!! This is so awesome, I’m so happy for you.
I’m still trying to get out of debt (student loans), but I should pay it all off by the end of April 2015. 6 more months!
Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja recently posted…Living On Campus Costs More than Off Campus (Infographic)
Thank you Aldo! 6 months isn’t long to wait, you’re doing great and it will fly by!
Wow, Congrats Hayley, this is wonderful news! 😀
Morgaine recently posted…Pregnancy Shopping
Thanks so much Morgaine! 🙂
So excited for you! Glad you were able to clear it out. I’d also raid my EF if I knew I was that close. You are freeeeeeeee! Celebrate! Rejoice! I can’t wait to follow in your footsteps.
Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…How My Blog Changed My Life: Stefanie from the Broke and Beautiful Life
Thanks Melanie for your support! It won’t be long now before I’ll be writing a similar message on your victory post! 🙂
Congratulations, Hayley! I’m sure it feels wonderful to have the debt monkey off your shoulders!! I know it’s been a long journey but you kicked debt to curb and I couldn’t be prouder of you. The world is truly your oyster now and I can’t wait to see what you do next, my friend.
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Debunking 3 Popular Myths That Keep You in Debt
That really means a lot me Shannon. You’ve supported me all the way and your encouragement has really spurred me on to keep going – so thank you Shannon! 🙂
No way!! That’s amazing, I am very jealous! I would have done the same as you and empty the emergency fund (if I had one).
Victoria @thefrugaltrial recently posted…TEN QUICK STEPS TO PAY OFF DEBT
Glad to know you’d have done the same Victoria – it got to the point where those debts just had to go and the EF provided me with an opportunity to make it happen! Keep going with your debts – you’ll be debt free before you know it!
Congratulations! That’s fantastic news 🙂
Nicola recently posted…Is A Buy-To-Let A Good Investment?
Thanks so much Nicola! 🙂
Oh my gosh, many congratulations! What a great ending… Build up that emergency fund and you’re golden 🙂
Alicia recently posted…Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!
Thanks Alicia! Definitely – the EF is top of my list – hopefully before Christmas, it’ll be topped up to a reasonable level.
I am so, so happy for you! This is so inspiring for those of us who still have debt – no matter how big or small it is – and I am looking forward to reading your success story!
I am so glad you are going to continue blogging too – one of the best blogs out there!
Bex Smith recently posted…Saving Money As A Parent
Thanks so much Bex for your support and for your kind words about this blog!
Woooooooo!!! Congratulations 🙂
Brittany recently posted…Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget
Thanks Brittany! 🙂
I knew it was coming soon! Now you’ve gone from being an example of how to stay disciplined to an inspiration of how you finally did it! I’ll keep reading…but you probably knew that already. 🙂
Kalen Bruce recently posted…What’s Stealing Your Time? Here’s How to Take Control
Thanks Kalen! I was tempted to tell you the other day when we emailed about your recent guest post! 🙂 Thanks as always for your support!
Long time reader, first time poster and all I can say is a huge CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are an inspiration and just inspired me to put an extra payment on my debt! WOO HOO!
Hi Jason, thank you for commenting! I’m so glad I’ve inspired you to make an extra payment on your debt, that’s great! Keep it up – will visit your blog shortly! 🙂
Hayley I am SO PROUD of you and your family!!! 🙂 Congratulations for reaching the debt free finish line. I can’t wait to see you guys when I get there. 😉
GMD!!!!!! 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting on this, I did think of you when I wrote this post and wondered how you’re getting on. You know you have inspired me so much with getting our debts paid off. Have missed seeing you around the blogosphere – it’s not the same without you! I hope things are well with you and that your own debt journey is still going really well. xo
What amazing news! Debt free and before Christmas as well! So pleased for you and can’t wait to join you (hopefully soon) in debt freedom! You did so amazingly to pay off your debt! An inspiration!
Natalya @ Cottage Retreatist xx
Thank you Natalya! Good luck with getting your debt paid off – hope it’s really soon! 🙂 xx
So proud of you guys, Hayley. You set a great example of how to face your fears, bad habits and uncertainties head on. You’ve been a great inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing your story and helping others who are also ready to get their head out of time sand and get real! xoxo
debt debs recently posted…7 Financial Lessons Learned from My Parents’ Debt
Thank you Debs for your kind words – that really means a lot to me. One thing I always wanted (and still want) to do with this blog was to help others get out of debt by inspiring them to make a change in their lives. I’m so happy that I somehow inspired you – rest assured you are doing the same for others with your own blog! 🙂
Now this is a terrific news. I AM SO HAPPY for you. I know how finally being debt free feels like, do enjoy it, you deserve this 😉
dojo recently posted…10 Purchases That Prevent You from Saving Money
Thank you Dojo for your support and encouragement! Hope all is well with you? 🙂
Congrats! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for your future now 🙂
Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…I’ve Been Bad – Clothes I Bought this Year (so far)
Me too lol! I’ll be posting an update on our future goals very soon. 🙂
Congrats hayley on the payoff. Doesn’t things just seems so much better without that hanging over your head.
Charles@gettingarichlife recently posted…Pay Your Past To Save Your Future
It really does Charles. Such a sense of relief! Hope all is well with you and your family? 🙂
Amazing! That’s really something to be grateful for. Congratulations! New beginnings I guess.
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…WTF Toys for Kids
Definitely! Starting afresh now.
Congrats!!!! Woo hoo! You did it!!!!! Xoxo
Debtgirl recently posted…Pumpkin Patch 2014
Thank you so much your support! 🙂 xo
Wow! Congratulations Hayley! This is such an important milestone in your life and although it took a tremendous amount of work on your part it is something that will stick with you for your entire life. There is certainly a lot more to say and everything you continue to write will help others out there that are looking for inspiration. Again–CONGRATULATIONS! ~Kathy
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…Money SMART At Any Age
Thanks so much Kathy! It was totally worth all the lifestyle changes and sacrifices we had to make – I feel as though I’ve got something very positive out of being in debt for so long! 🙂
I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!
Lisa recently posted…Links Lisa Likes – Engagement Party Recovery
Thank you Lisa! I really appreciate your support! 🙂