Debt Free & Saving Money


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When I posted my 2011 Intentions and Goals (some people would call them New Year’s Resolutions but I prefer intentions/goals), my number one priority was to pay off my credit card debt.

I am thrilled to report that my American Express has been paid in full!  A hefty five-figure sum.  Paid. The weight of the world on my shoulders has been lifted!

The reason I had credit card debt in the first place was fallout from an ill-timed real estate transaction in Phoenix.  I never clicked with Phoenix and you can read about that story here, but it was a life lesson.  A learning experience.

I learned what I place value on, that I adore San Diego, the beach, the weather, the friends I have here, and the life I’ve built here.  Those things matter more than home ownership just for the sake of owning a home in a city that wasn’t for me.  Different strokes for different folks.

But in order to buy the home I bought (and have since sold), I racked up lots of credit card debt.  I put things on my credit card that I never should have, but hindsight is 20/20.

Going into 2011, I know my #1 intention was to pay it off.  And I did!  And I will never repeat the same actions that got me into the bind I was in.  So, I lived, I learned.

I am now debt free:

No credit card debt

No mortgage

No student loans

No auto loan (one car is paid for, the other is leased, but I don’t consider this true debt)

No other loans

No money is owed to anyone

And that is all a great feeling!

Intention #1, however, was two-fold: paying off debt and saving money. And I am happy to report that I have also saved quite a bit of money, too.

I don’t talk about my paid work, but I work like a dog and have been fortunate enough to squirrel away some savings the past few months.  Like the animal references there? Being able to save money has made me feel so productive and that all my hard work is going toward something and like I am accomplishing things, not just working to get out of debt, and pay our day-to-day bills, but also to save.

Enough talk about my financial life, let’s talk about what I’ve been eating.

Fresh pineapple.  It was on sale at Target for $2.49 for a whole pineapple.  Score.

Whole pineapple on countertop

Diced up pineappleNeed tips on how to clean & slice a whole pineapple?  Here you go.


Some Vegan “Lentil & Bean” Sloppy Joes (no bun) with a salad

Vegan Sloppy Joes on plate with salad

I dressed the salad with Vegan Slaw Dressing

Jar of Vegan Slaw Dressing

I also had a couple No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites

From my last post about possibly getting an iPhone, thanks to everyone who chimed in on whether you have one, if you want one, if you like your iPhone, and giving me the pros as you see them to iPhones.  As I had said, learning to use the touchscreen after coming off years of Blackberry keys is a concern, but most of you said it’s not that bad.  An iPhone may be in my future.

Dessert: GF Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

GF Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

If you like butterscotch chips, peanut butter, marshmallows, and chocolate, then this recipe is for you.

Hand holding one GF Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting



1. Are you debt free?  If you have debt, how does it make you feel?

I think most Americans are drowning in debt!  I don’t really consider a mortgage, or an auto loan, as true debt.  We all need someplace to live, and most of us need a car.

The debt I am referring to is from major credit cards, department store cards, student loans, personal loans, or other loans or debts you have incurred.

Debt for me is very heavy on my heart, mind, and spirit.  I don’t feel free when I own (large) sums of money.  Even though I didn’t think about it every day, I thought about it most days, for the 18 months or so that I had credit card debt and I hated it.  I hated that I had used less than stellar judgment and got myself into debt and that I had to work extra hard just to get out of it; to remove something that I could have avoided all together.

Life lessons and a learning experience, though.

I did a post on Life Lessons and #4 on that list about repeating a lesson in life until you learn it.  Well, I have learned. Now I can move on to the next lessons my life has in store for me.

2. Are you doing anything to save money?

I think that, again, most Americans are not only drowning in debt, most people don’t have any money saved!

If you, your spouse, or anyone who is providing you financial support cut you off tomorrow or you lost your job tomorrow, what money do you have saved and how long could you support yourself? Did you just have a panic attack thinking about that because you realize not very long and that you have zilch saved? Thought so.

Whatever you need to do to start saving money, be it buying conventional produce not organic, quitting your Starbucks habit and brewing coffee at home, not impulse buying cute dishes or random items at Marshall’s, using these tips to save money on your grocery budget, wearing old workout clothes and not feeling pressure to buy the latest and greatest brand name or current trend, telling your spouse/significant other you’d prefer to skip gifts for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and just save money instead, whatever it is, you will feel better with something in your bank account than wearing the latest yoga pants or that your significant other bought you roses for your anniversary that cost $40 bucks and will die in a week.

Sorry if that sounds harsh.  It is. But saving money is hard and can be harsh.  Do what it takes is my approach.

However, as with food and exercise and lifestyle choices, we all must make our own financial choices and decisions, too, and do what’s right for our own situation.

And, of course, there are some things that are worth the splurge and we all have to decide what that is for ourselves.  Depriving ourselves all the time backfires.  There is a balance between fiscal discipline and deprivation.  Like me wanting to buy an iPhone and deciding if that’s the right decision for me, at this time.

Talking about money, debt, savings, planning is hard because it hits nerves but we need to talk about it and acknowledge it and plan accordingly.  Where are you at with these things?

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  1. I just paid off my mortgage a few days ago. Before my husband passed away a couple months ago he told me whatever you do..if you arent going to move from this house..Pay off the mortgage with some of the ins. so…I did. It will be nice not paying 1800. a month to make someone else richer. I have one credit card that I keep up just to have one in case I travel to use to get tickets then pay it off when it comes in.

  2. Couldn’t agree with you more on americans being in debt and how heavy it weighs on us in general. I grew up around my best friend who’s family was over $20K in credit card debt and then there were all kinda of other troubles and whatnot. Aside from my parents always teaching me to pay everything in full once u buy it, I know I didn’t want to be like my friend’s family. My parents said if I put anything on my credit card, I need to be able to pay it off in full every single month and since then it’s what I do. Its such a good feeling to be able to do that. And you are so right, saving is waaaaaaaaay important. You never know what will happen!!

    HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!! (even though I know this post is way old, haha)

  3. Congratulations on becoming debt free. What a feeling! I remember when I paid off my student loan I was so happy!

    I currently have no debt. I have savings I could probably live 7 months on maintaining the lifestyle I have now, longer if I was super frugal. I’m pretty good at saving and always have been.

    Unlike you I DO think having a car loan is a waste of money and is silly debt. It is absolutely silly to pay interest on an item that is decreasing in value every day. I always save up for a car and purchase it with my own money. Having said that I never buy new, just a good old used, reliable car that is fuel efficient.

  4. My only debt is studentl loans… But trust me, that’s more than enough debt! The worst part about debt this large is that although I’ve been making payments for years, I never feel like I’m even making a dent.

    I don’t have a savings account but I keep a standard amount in my checking account for emergencies. At Christmas time, it did get a bit lower, but it’s right back up where it was before Christmas. I should save more, but I hate putting anything on my credit card that I can’t pay off immediately. It’s quite possible that I may lose my job any day now (the company is having a lot of difficulty), but I know that with what I have saved I can survive for at least a couple of months. Once my tax refund comes in, I’ll be set for another two to four months. It will suck, but I can get by if need be.

  5. That’s amazing Averie! What an amazing accomplishment! Do you mind if I ask how long it took you though?? I DO have student loan debts, car, credit card, etc. – and it’s SIX figures – around $150,000 to be exact. My student loan payments alone are $1500/month…it’s very, very scary. Especially since my job is causing me to mentally break down…for real. I am saving as much as I can though – and being uber conscious. But when your in this deep, it’s just still staying afloat. My only other options are to make more money. But it’s difficult when the best way for me to do that is over-time work in my field – which I hate and would leave me unable to do anything I remotely enjoy. Or time to focus and develop other areas (like writing, etc).

    Bah – sorry – that’s my MO. :)

    1. Well my student loans took me 4 yrs after college to pay off
      My mortgage on one house took 5 yrs to pay off
      My credit card debt was an on-going process that took years/months depending on how you look at it. Seriously making headway vs. just barely chipping away.

  6. Nice job on being debt free! My husband and I are on our way to paying off his car and a credit card. We are only about $4,000 away! I have so much anticipation building! It will be a glorious feeling not making that $354 car payment (plus the extra we put down to speed the process up!!!) every month!!

    Congrats, that’s a HUGE accomplishment.

  7. Wow! I just read the Phoenix story, and it reads very similar to the experience I had studying abroad; I ended up leaving the program halfway through because I didn’t like what I was studying, the place itself was a letdown, and it felt like my body was rebelling against me. I thought it over for a long time before coming to the decision that life was too short to be stuck in a place I wasn’t happy, and that if I had the parental support, finances, and academic flexibility to get out, I owed it to myself to follow through. People on my program were less than supportive, but I was really listening to myself, and a few months later, I could not be happier that I made that decision! Pity that that program didn’t work out, but my process of stumbling, falling, and picking myself back up showed me what I really want out of life.

    As for debt, I’m free right now, but going to grad school will change that ;) But I grew up with a very finance-savvy Dad who has endowed me with a good money-saving habits that will hopefully save me!

  8. Hi Averie!

    I am happy to say that I am credit card debt free :) I do have 2 mortgages, one for a rental property and another on my new home, I don’t think these will be paid off anytime soon and I am okay with it. They are generally covered with the rents I recieve anyway.

    I do save money, however I like to spend so this is a little challenging at times!

  9. I have a car loan and a mortgage, but like you said, I don’t consider that true debt because I need a house and I need a car, and if I didn’t have a mortgage I’d be throwing money away on rent!

    I also have a massive amount of school debt, but I don’t consider that true debt either because if I didn’t have it I wouldn’t be a doctor making a good salary, and hubby and I have a plan to pay it off in 10-15 years(barring personal financial tragedies of course). Even with our mortgage payment, student loan payments and other payments(cell phone, utilities, groceries, ect) we still net more money than we would have had I not gone to school and worked a typical payed job.

    1. congrats on being an MD! You and a couple other MDs read my blog. I am blessed to have such awesome readers :)

  10. I am very lucky to be debt free. Which, as a 25-year-old, is usually not the case. Most of my friends are paying just as much every month in student loans as they do rent. I’m also very good about paying off my credit card and saving money. I may still live like a broke college student, but it’s these things that allow me to follow my career dreams or do things like fly to San Francisco on a whim! Like you said, it’s all about picking and choosing what you spend your money on. Thankfully, I hate to shop ;)

  11. Don’t you wish they taught this stuff in high school? I have always been pretty frugal but when I married my husband he had student loans and then we did the early 20’s dumb spending and had the loans, 2 car loans, a mortgage, and a boat and camper debt! We are now early 30’s and have grown up quite a bit – we only owe on our mortgage, woohoo! And we have quite a large amount in savings now. I think being pregnant a few years ago really made us understand what’s important in life.

    Just an FYI – many money gurus will tell you that leasing a car is the worst financial decision you can make with a car. I haven’t researched it since we own, but might be something you want to look into!

  12. Wow awesome post, and congratulations. I have been pondering my own debt a lot these days. I have been trying my hardest to avoid taking out student loans, but my family members are trying to convince me it is better to have a student loans at a low interest rate than continue to make measly payments on about 6,000 worth of credit card bills with high interest rates. So I’m thinking of possibly taking out a student loan to pay off my credit cards. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Oh well.
    Congrats to you!!!!

  13. I have never had credit card debt, but I do have a mortgage and 1 car loan (with the husband). We spend a lot, and save too. Fortunately, we don’t worry much about money … but I know how easy it would be to go crazy, and buy a giant 3/4 of a million dollar house, and then things would be a bit different – I see young people in my city doing it all the time, and they are completely strapped for cash and their credit cards are all maxed out, etc..

    We won’t buy a house like that until we know it is our final house/family house, and we have saved enough/ made enough from our house to put down a hefty down payment.

  14. Debt free? No, but we only have a mortgage. Living in SB, it’s a hefty one (>$500k).

    We could survive on our savings for probably 3-4 years if we lost our jobs, but after about a year we’d likely pack it in and try to move somewhere else.

    We save money hand over fist. We’d be sitting pretty if we hadn’t bought our house at the wrong time. The house is worth more than we owe on it, but that’s only because we put 20% down and have been paying it off aggressively. That said, it’s my retirement home, so I’m not too worried, as long as one of us is fully employed, we can afford it.

    1. 3-4 YEARS??! that is hella impressive! wow, i need to do what you’re doing!

      And a house in SB or anywhere in the CA is gonna be 500+ (well, unless you want to live in remote areas, etc.)

      Buying houses at the wrong time of the market, im really good at that. Have done it a few times :)

      1. It helps that my husband was a graduate student for 7 years. And since then, our income has gone way up but our standard of living has not changed much. So, we have two (compact) cars now, a kid, and a (small) house. But our clothing, eating, and “stuff” habits have not changed. Still live like grad students in some ways. No smart phones, no prime cable channels, we still borrow books from the library and buy used toys.

  15. I was lucky enough to be able to go to school on a full scholarship with a full paid job guaranteed for me at the end, housing allowance, and full medical coverage. The only debt I have is a $30K loan that I got through my school at 0% interest…it was more of an investment :-)

  16. i’m not debt free at all. far from it! esp after graduating from med school last year! my debt is mostly student loans, but i do have an MD so i’m actually ok with it. i don’t have any other major debt though!!

    congrats on being debt free!! yayy!!

    1. yes but you will be a DOCTOR! and can repay all your debts :)

      and your iphone comment/info..thanks girlie!

  17. I am currently debt-free, but in a year I will have tons of student loans to pay off:( You are so lucky!! The day I am debt-free, I will pop some champagneee

  18. seriously being debt free has to be the most liberating feeling in the WORLD! i can’t waaaaait to pay off all of my student loans, and car credit card charges! its going to be the best feeling in the world :)

  19. Oh wow I am SO JEALOUS of your debt-free’edness. We’re almost there. Just have the mortgage and the husband’s student loans left. Okay, when I say it like that it feels like we’ll never be out of debt. Sigh. Way to go, you guys!! Seriously this is a HUGE accomplishment!!

  20. That much be SUCH a relief paying off the credit card bills! I am not debt free. Not a lot of debt, but it’s been tough to pay off. Now that I’m working less and the baby is coming, things are getting tighter and tighter and it makes me sick in my stomach thinking about not being able to contribute financially. I am so NOT comfortable with my husband just paying for everything and having to ask him for money. But we will have to do what we have to do!!! We live in a condo now, we only planned ot live here for like 2 years (before the market crash). Now, 4 years later…we are trying to make room for a little one. I am converting my den into a nursery, and trying to find space for all my stuff…and saying goodbye to things has been a challenge! All will be worth it though! We are keeping a tight hold on our savings and really not trying to tap them so we can move someday soon. This is why its rough not having income on my end, because I really don’t want to have to use anything we have in the bank!

    1. laury i can soooo relate to your story. the closer i got to giving birth, the less i worked, then worked very little for 2 yrs after her birth. sort of somehow got by but in the process also racked up debt. i totally understand what you are going thru. We used all our savings to buy a house (in a city we didnt end up liking) it was a snowball. So yes, i totally understand. Deep breaths, friend :)

  21. SO happy for you!! CONGRATS! I know you work hard and you deserve every bit of joy for being debt free. You ROCK @ life! :D

    We have small amounts of debt for the most part because we never use credit! We have 3 credit cards that we never use and one car payment. No student loans (neither of us attended college), no mortgage (we rent), and never borrow money from anyone. But being we never use credit, we pay for cash for everything and that means our savings suffer sometimes. We’re definitely improving on savings, though! No more frivolous spending that’s not accounted for in the budget. :)

    We’re planning to buy a house sometime this year, so savings is our #1 priority. Debt is the most stressful thing ever! The less debt you have, the better your quality of life.

    1. thanks, i know you know how hard i work. and i know how hard you guys work!

      and i hope you get your house! i have bought and sold plenty and being self employed, it does pose some challenges so if you ever need any info, lmk.

      and the iphone/ipad comment you left before too…duly noted. :)

  22. yeay! Congrats on paying off your debt!
    As I’ve talked w/ you about before, I have tons of debt from medical bills, which make me feel like I’m walking around with chains. I have a lot more college debt, but for some reason that doesn’t bother me as much. My goal is to pay off the credit card debt by january of next year…but other expenses keep popping up out of nowhere (the car, a vet bill, new eyeglasses…etc.). But I’m going to make it happen! I just have to think positively and work hard.
    One thing I did to save money was quit buying gum and bottled drinks (like vitamin water) – I used to chew a pack a day! Almost like cigarettes, I was addicted. I stopped cold turkey this summer and haven’t caved in since…That’s saving $1.25 a day, or about $450/ year!

    1. medical debt is sooo unfair…double whammy, getting sick AND going into debt over it. GRRRR!

      I love your $450/yr savings and no gum…that is brilliant!

  23. Congrats, Averie! Being debt-free is wonderful! We are almost debt-free. We owe on one of our cars, but that is all. Not bad compared to most Americans. We do save $$ every month. It’s a priority for us and so we make it happen.

    I’m curious where you lived when you were in Phoenix? We also moved from Phoenix…bought our house at the peak of the market and moved after the crash. Not fun! I actually really loved Phoenix but I was coming from the Midwest so I fell in love with sunshine. You already had that in Cali. :-)

    1. lived in N Scottsdale/Desert Ridge area. It was nice, it was fine. It just wasn’t MY place, my home, my calling. I am just a San Diego girl.

      And thx for your other comment re the iphone!

      I forget where you guys live now?

      1. We live in Ohio, north of Cincinnati. I lived in Scottsdale (near Old Town and then North) for most of my time in AZ; the last two years we were in Anthem. I miss it. :-( But I live closer to family now, which is important.

  24. Congrats on being debt free-such a relief!
    I am debt free but am walking into a marriage in May and had to have “the talk” with my fiance on how much debt i’m walking into….eeeks!

  25. Congratulations!

    (I’m not even supposed to be on puter today: it’s my bday and suspension of usual programming)–but I saw your ‘debt free’ title and had to come and give you more congrats: that must feel so wonderful. A huge weight from off of your shoulders. Loved the animal refs in your work life: are you going to become more of a cool cat now, or continue to work so hard? That’s awesome that you both eradicated the debt and saved some up and learned some good life lessons to boot.

    I’m very frugal and don’t find it necessary to spend on a lot of things that many consider de rigeur, but it’s nice to be able to have the money to make significant purchases.
    Right now, I’m trying to pull together some funding so that I don’t have to go into debt for my MFA in poetry that starts this summer.

  26. Congratulations on getting out of debt that is so exciting! I am already trying to figure out how to start paying off my loans when I graduate which luckily my parents have helped with most of my schooling so its not too bad! About the I Phone I have verizon and have wanted one FOREVER im so excited they finally got the iphone, I am waiting til april though so I can get a discount my two years was just up as well. SO excited!

  27. Wow, 5 figures – congrats! The pineapple looks good, I was gonna grab one at Costco yesterday, but grabbed kiwis instead to mix up smoothie ingredients.

    1. Very close to it, my car has been paid off for years and my only card has a minimal balance.
    2. Yes, avoiding pricey clothes shopping and eating out too much. Plus I never run through Starbucks and always pack lunch.

  28. Good for you! What a feeling! I am getting ready to pay off my house next week- so excited. No other debt here except one small car payment.

  29. That has to feel SO amazing, congratulations for being debt free!!!! Fortunately, I don’;t have to deal with all those debt-monsters yet..but I can only imagine how much of a burden they are.

  30. I don’t have an ounce of debt. I started saving money when I was 12 by sweeping hair in a hair salon for $7.50/hr. I received bursaries and scholarships throughout University. I’ve been responsible with my money.

    I feel fortunate that I have financial security, even as a Graduate student. I am lucky that financial responsibility was taught to me at a young age. I don’t imagine I will ever be in debt.

  31. Ahh, I hate thinking about this =( But I’m currently working my way through school and the only way that it is possible is to take out federal loans and I am already $16,000 in the hole. It stresses me out beyond belief when I think about it. As far as saving money, I try to only use my paychecks and not touch my loan money. That’s my emergency money. I try to go shopping for clothes once a semester and limit myself to consignment shops or go to major stores when they’re having a semi-annual sale.
    Good for you for paying off all of your debt. I can’t wait until my day comes.

  32. Congrats on being debt free! Currently, I have a mortgage that I am hoping to have paid off one day. I recently paid off my student loans and I rarely use a credit card without paying off the balance immediately. Having a home has taught me financial discipline and delayed gratification.

  33. Congrats!! That’s huge!! Must feel like the biggest weight ever has been lifted off your shoulders. Hope you’re celebrating somehow :)

    I’m lucky not to have any debt. My parents have always supported me with the big purchases- especially college, which I know I’m incredibly lucky for. I know it’s going to be much easier to get started in life without having $200,000 worth of college loans to pay off, and as my dad likes to say….I’m just spending it now instead of forty years from now. Slightly morbid, but true haha.

  34. Hurray for being debt-free! I am very lucky in that I am debt free – no credit card bill, no student loans, nada. I make filling my savings a priority. My Roth IRA gets the max $5,000 a year and I have some other savings. My future spouse is also debt free and into saving. Once we combine apartments, I hope our savings will go up so we can seriously consider buying a home in the next year or so.

    Also, I just got an iPhone two months ago and love it. I was afraid of the touch screen, too. I’d used other peoples for a brief minute and hate it. I became quite comfortable with it within a day. :)

  35. Hi Averie! I have been following your blog for a looonngg time. I am so bad at commenting on blogs. I feel I never have time! I love your blog, and your amazing gf, vegan, raw lifestyle! I just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, so I have lots of student loans hanging over my head. It’s not a great feeling!! I just enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a holistic health coach. That adds another bill onto my budget but it is a rewarding one! I love San Diego, and would love to live there some day. Two of my brothers live there. Check out the Indigo Grille downtown, my brother is the Sous Chef!

    1. thanks for delurking kate.

      and IIN…have heard great things about it! And Indigo Grille..omg i have been there once years ago, how cool your bro is a sous chef!

  36. Congrats on no credit card debt. Me neither. It’s the worst debt to have. I still have loans but those don’t have the same awful interest as the credit cards. And if I never got the loans to go to school I’d never have a way to earn money. So worth the investment I’d say.

    We’ve cut way back since I don’t’ work and it has freed me. I dislike spending too much and now I only use it for things that are really important. Although I’d say we’ve managed to save and still get organics and give each other gifts. Because those things are important to us. We save in other ways.

  37. Finally coming out of blogger stalker territory to comment! Congrats on paying off your debt! One the biggest feelings of relief probably ever, right? I was also once in credit card debit as a result of really poor judgement, but we busted ourselves to pay it off and I’ll never make that mistake again. Debt sometimes feels like entrapment, and it’s nice to be free!

    Thanks for always being so honest and sharing your life lessons, even when they’re not the happiest!

  38. Congrats Averie! I’m sure you feel a weight is lifted off your shoulders! I definitely try to save money by “cutting corners.” Learning how to shop smarter has allowed me to lower my monthly spending.

  39. Way to go! It’s not even March and you’ve already completed one of your intentions, pretty awesome.
    I have a student loan I’m trying to pay offend I understand the pressure and insecurity debt causes. Yuck. I try to be frugal do I can pay it off faster and most of the time I do pretty well. Right now though, I’m looking to move out of my very cheap living situation and go out on our own again because we’re tired of living in someone elses house. Some things, like independence, are worth the money.

  40. What a great topic. We have a mortage and a small amount of credit card debt. But we have always been really good about our money. When my husband lost his job almost three years ago we were so thankful and great fulll at the time that we had no credit card debt and we had money in saving to get us thru. It took my husband almost two years to get a job and with out the saving we had I know we would have been a lot worse off. We also have two kids in college so it has been a stressful two years. But we are so grateful that we did the best we could. Not we will work on getting rid of the debt and hopefully start rebuilding. Thanks for the topic Averie!

  41. You’ve got to feel so great about that. Seriously, a huge accomplishment and a burden on your mind…gone.

    I have only one big debt – student loans from my undergrad. I got scholarships and fellowships for all 6 years of grad school, so I never paid a dime in tuition, and I have a saving, which actually has more in it than I own on my loans! but I make more than I pay in interest, so i’m not too worried about it.

    I am still super frugal though – I cancelled my cable, netflix, etc, and i don’t buy books anymore (it was shocking how much I spent on books….for real) and get them all at the library now. And I can’t even remember the last time I bought new clothes, shoes, or anything really. Other than food. Hmmm. Maybe I need to shop. :)

    1. you will never have true “debt”. you are the most careful person i know. you will be a-okay!

  42. Congrats on being debt-free! I love how you are straightforward about being financially wise! It really drives me nuts and is frustrating when I see people being frivolous in the short-term when they cannot afford to be and would be much better off in the long-term if they simply saved and avoided things like eating out a ton or getting nails done every week.

  43. Congrats to you! That is great, but I admit, I am jealous. I definitely have student loans and credit card debt from school. I’m currently in grad school, so that debt isn’t exactly getting paid down very quickly, although we’re doing good about not making it worse. We rent, too, which has its pros and its cons. I have had debt pretty much since I was 19 because I had to put myself through school and it is the worst feeling in the world. I feel like I’m suffocating, even though I don’t miss payments, and I’m constantly terrified about what will happen if I can’t find a job immediately after grad school or if my husband (no health ins!) gets sick or something…I thought your 20s were supposed to be fun and carefree! :-(

    1. dont even get me started on health insurance…lordy, i could go on and on about that too. it’s ridic in this country!

  44. Congratulations on being debt-free! What a fantastic feeling.

    My family is finally debt free after years of paying off student loans, cars, and wasting a lot of money on a dumb real estate decision that we immediately regretted. I cook mostly from scratch, rarely buy new clothes, color my own hair. Rather than pay for a babysitter and go out, we stay in. Sometimes it is really hard not to go blow money at the mall, but we have goals in mind that we are working toward and that makes pinching pennies a little easier in the meantime.

    PS Nice score on the pineapple! They are $3.99 here, I am waiting for a sale :)

    1. yes, me too “wasting a lot of money on a dumb real estate decision that we immediately regretted.”

      live and learn girlie :)

  45. Congrats on being debt-free!!! That’s HUGE! *I* am debt-free…but when we married, I inherited my husband’s school loans, so, by association, I guess I’m not debt free after all :-)

  46. I don’t like be in debt either and I think I manage our finances well enough…never been in credit card debs – everything always paid in full so we can avoid that high interest fee.

    Ever since I’m gone to primal/paleo, I do focus on buying high quality stuff but not all…I skipped most organic produce and stuff but I picked the highest quality of conventional produce

  47. Averie for so long I have been so ashamed of the amount of debt we have — but as we’ve taken control I am so proud of how far we have come! In 2 years we paid off over $30K in credit card debt, saved a nice amount and will have both of our cars paid off within the next 6 months. If both Jason and I lose our jobs (which I hope never happens, but you never know) we can support ourselves for 6 months (that is assuming we don’t get unemployment and stay unemployed for 6 months). I feel good about that number for now and once we get the cars paid off we will be in even better shape.

    I cannot wait to tackle the mortgage (and we’ll do that once the cars are paid off and we have more money saved). We follow Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball plan and it has worked wonderfully for us. To save money we set up a budget each month — is a great tool! We also each get a certain amount of “fun” money that we can splurge on whatever we want. Anything more that we “want” and don’t “need” we have to talk about first. It works well for us.

    Good for you for getting that debt paid off! It is such a relief — like a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. And how awesome are you — no mortgage, no money owed to ANYBODY!

  48. Hi!
    We have dept. HATE IT! mortgage, auto loan, student loan. . . even though that’s the kind of “good” dept, it doesn’t make us feel good! This is something many people don’t talk about so thanks for putting the topic out there!

  49. thats awesome that you are debt free!!! I am too right now, but I have been extremely lucky to have gotten scholarship money and stuff for college.

  50. I think having debt is one of the worst feelings ever. It is just a constant burden on your mind and it feels like no matter how hard your work, it will never go away. But on a lighter note, that pineapple looks divine! :)

  51. I have debt…it is so sad. I am tired of it. Congratulations on being debt free! That is a huge accomplishment.

  52. Congrats on paying off your debt!! That is amazing!!! I currently have no debt, but not too much saved either!! Really got to work on saving for a rainy day!!

  53. Congrats on being debt-free! That is fantastic! Way to go!

    We have a mortgage, but no other debt.

    Savings: Just cancelled our Satellite TV and will be “live TV” free as of March 23rd. That will be a great start to some savings. We don’t buy each other anniversary gifts, and only small “token” gifts at birthdays and Christmas. Cooking & baking from scratch, and not eating out is another great way we are saving.

  54. Good for you! That feeling is so awesome! Besides our mortgage we only have a couple thousand on a line of credit and even that makes me feel ill. I try to budget our groceries and entertainment.. wait who am I kidding, every part of our life is budgeted since buying a house and having kids. Lol! I think the key is first making a plan. Like you say, what’s ok to splurge on and what can you save on. That makes perfect sense to me :)

  55. Great post! Congrats on being debt free! :)

    1. I still have both credit card debt and student loan debt from college. I wish I had been slightly smarter about my money back then. I’ve been working hard to pay them off though!

    2. I am good about saving. I have an emergency fund to cover necessary expenses in case something happens. I’d definitely rather have this then pay off my debt because it makes me feel more secure about life. I know if something happens and we have no money coming in we still have something. Right now I’m also saving for our wedding and that’s taking a ton of effort but we want to pay for it all ourselves.

  56. Hey girl!

    1. I do have student loans, but that is the only debt I have incurred. I have never (and I am 30 years old) had any credit cards, store cards, loans etc. Great, right? No, no its not. Because I don’t have any credit at all.

    2. I am happy to admit that we do save as much as possible, We have also stopped purchasing new unless completely necessary. Not only is it significantly cheaper, but it allows me to do tiny shopping and helps my carbon footprint!

  57. Congrats congrats Averie. You must feel fantastic. I agree with a lot of the points on debt and savings. That is why my husband and I live in a very tiny apartment (under 600 sq feet).