Permanent. Semi-Permanent. Not Permanent At All.

I have something to admit. It felt weird to say last week:  “I am now debt free.” It felt awesome- don’t get me wrong but also weird. I didn’t want it to seem like I was all “Oh, hey! LLookkk at me!! I’m DEBT FREE!” and, I especially didn’t want to make anyone feel worse about THEIR debt situation.

The Spending Fast, The Spending Diet and this very blog started just to try to get myself out of credit card debt. It all started as just a way to keep me accountable in my credit card debt elimination process. When this all started I had no readers. Zero. My mom didn’t even read it. She still doesn’t but that’s okay. She’s got her money so she’s happy.

I never ever thought that through this process I would ACTUALLY become debt free. That thought never crossed my mind. I thought I would die with my college loans. I thought I would MAYBE pay them off a little bit before I started getting a senior citizen discount but even that felt optimistic.

Living a debt-free life wasn’t a possibility for me. It’s wasn’t even remotely fathomable. Can not compute.

I thought those loans and that debt was as attached to me as much as my arms are.

They were there. They always would be. That was that.

1 year and 3 months ago I was $23,605.10 in debt and it feels a shit load better to be on this side of it.

I tell you all this to let you know that there is hope.

There is a way out of debt.

It can be done.

I was able to pay off my debt faster than I ever imagined possible. In a lot of ways it really feels like a miracle happened.

17 comments

17 thoughts on “Permanent. Semi-Permanent. Not Permanent At All.

  1. Katie

    So, so, so happy for you! You worked so hard and now it has all paid off! I can't wait for the freedom that comes with eliminating my own little debt pile. :)

    You are a great role model! Thanks for leading the way!

  2. Maryl

    So, now, Anna, what is the next step in your game plan? This is where it is really going to get interesting, from my view in the catbird seat.

  3. Chelle

    Anna, you are a true inspiration! And you know that I mean that after reading my contribution to your column that is going to post on April 13th. I admit to being just a trifle nervous about the whole world knowing how badly I have handled my financial responsibilities, but I have been so in awe of what you have done and your amazing self-restraint that I now find myself thinking about every purchase I make and if it's not something I need, do I want it badly enough that I am willing to spend the money I could be sending to my credit cards. I am happy to say that after doing a spending diet for 3 months, I have paid off three (yes, three!) credit cards and have started working on the fourth big one. I am also getting ready to start working down those awful student loans. My debt is astronomical, but I have faith after reading what you have done that I can do it too! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh. My mom doesn't always read my blog either. In fact, my guess is that she's not reading it that often now. But that's okay. I think she just doesn't want to see me talking about her! haha

  4. Jerome

    Hi again,

    Very nice post. I know how you feel. Ever since I started my own "spending fast", I've felt partly guilty when telling friends about reaching this or that milestone.

    But I also think that I was so far behind what other people were doing just in their "average" lifestyle, that they would understand why I was so excited to be catching up! Now that I've had some taste of success, I want to keep going and not only finish catching up, but surge ahead!

    I also started a blog, and of course, part of the challenge is to keep it interesting, fresh, so people will come back and post comments or at a very minimum, read occasionally. I don't think I've gotten any comments yet, but I also haven't achieved any earth shattering milestones yet (completed my first month, though — March! yay!)

  5. HighHeeledTraders

    Awesome post as always! Anna, I've just been reading more about Money, including the Principles of Wealth, and you might be interested in it, because I noticed a tinge of mindset that need to be erased to boost your move forward. I know, I had it (bit of guilt getting ahead etc). It's the Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – I have an eBook if you want it. All the best!

  6. Maryl

    First things first, Anna. Do you have an emergency fund that will keep you solvent for six months or so? If not, that's your first move is to get those dollars in a savings/money market where you can get to it if the unforeseen happens. You know, the unexpected trip to the ER, a repair, your computer/camera/TV/printer/name your toy dies and you need to replace it. It took me quite a while, but then I'm on my own, but it's a great relief to be able to dip into it if need be. Like last fall when my daughter's biological digit declined to contribute to her braces b/c "I don't have to" so I paid for them in one chunk to get the discount. It hurt! but nothing can slow the process now.

  7. Chelle

    Anna,

    I am both excited and very nervous about how the people who know me will react when all the truth comes out. I think it will help them that most of them read my blog (my mom probably doesn't anymore – my oversharing upset her) and they can see that I'm serious about paying off my debt, no matter how long it takes. It's also fun for them to watch me screw it up on occasion too, I think.

    If anyone is interested in seeing my approach to debt reduction, you are welcome to read about my own struggles over at http://www.lifeonthedomesticfront.blogspot.com. I write about the spending diet, but also many other aspects of my life, such as having bipolar disorder, being a mom, having an autistic child, having chronic pain and fibromyalgia, and pretty much anything else that tickles my fancy on a given day. But the majority, I think, of the posts over the last three months have been about how my spending diet is working for me, so if anyone would like to see what someone else is doing to help keep their spending down, I'd love your comments, questions, opinions. And please don't think too harshly of me on the 13th, when Anna puts my article up about how my bipolar disorder has affected my spending. It's a really scary thing to be that out of control of your spending! I am very proud that we have been able to pay off those three credit cards and I didn't take our tax refund and go buy that iPad I've been wanting. Or a new digital camera…or…

    Heads up: If you do go read, the posts are pretty mixed up, so just look for the titles with "Spending Diet" if you're not interested in any of my opinions on other topics.

    Thanks again, Anna, for allowing me to contribute.

    Chelle

  8. Clare - Never Niche

    You inspire me so much! I'm trying to pay off my student loans before I turn 30 in two years – about the same amount of debt as you started with. Also I live in Boulder – neighborsss!

    Thanks for writing this blog.

  9. HighHeeledTraders

    To everyone, I would like to share the eBook Secrets of the Millionaire Mind to anyone interested. The author is T Harv Ekel and allows the eBook to be shared. It may just be the book you need to get power through your financial goals, I know it helped answer my questions and fears. Pls email me at charmel@highheeledtraders.com if you want a copy or Google him! All the best!

  10. Kelly

    Anna-

    Congratulations and thank you for being an inspiration and a catalyst which has inspired me to take action. I have a long journey ahead of me, but you helped me start!

  11. Jenny @ exconsumer

    Anna – This is just fantastic. Don't feel hesitant about sharing your amazing accomplishment with us! Hearing that you've become debt free doesn't make me feel bad about my situation. In fact, it makes me feel motivated and hopeful when I see you make the climb and come out on top!

  12. Karen in MA

    Hello Anna! Congratulations :) I wanted to second Jenny's sentiment, reading about your success has motivated me even more! I have been reading the finance books for years, but they never really hit home. Your blog was much more relatable. Since reading your story after the CNN profile, I have buckled down and paid off half of one of my (three) credit cards. So, as for your successes, BRING IT ON!!

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