It kind of feels like Christmas morning here at the Budget Blonde household, because I just gave myself the best. gift. ever. My credit card debt is gone. My balance is zero. If you couldn’t tell from the italics, I’m beyond thrilled!

Here’s how it went down:

Last month, I wrote a post called “Pay Off Cards Or Save For An Emergency?” where I surveyed all of you and asked which one should go first. You gave me a ton of great advice, and so many felt strongly either way. Well, blog peeps, I am proud to tell you that because of a very intense few months of taking on extra freelance writing projects, I was able to do both!

To remind you, I set a goal for myself to have my credit cards paid off by October 2012, but it’s September and the credit card debt is GONE, baby!

Do you want to know the best part, though? (You know you do.) I’ve actually finished two and a half of my goals for this year, not just one!

  • Pay Off the last credit card by October, 2012 – $2,000.00 DONE!
  • Pay Off Hubby’s Undergraduate Student Loan #1 by October, 2012 – $358.00 DONE!
  • Put $5,000 in Emergency Fund by December, 2012 – HALFWAY THERE! $2,500 STORED AWAY!

So, I’m really excited that not only did I finish my first two goals early, but I’m also on track to finishing the third goal early as well, which means I can then move on to knocking out some more loans and saving up for a vacation, which we’re going to need after all of this medical school madness.

I should mention that I was almost credit card debt free early this summer. However, some medical bills and a budget that I screwed up pushed back those goals a few months. Still, I prevailed, and you can too with a bit of focus and some flexibility, knowing that sometimes plans don’t always work out the way you’d hoped.

All in all, I’ve been intent on paying off these bad boys for 18 months. If you are looking to do the same, I would simply recommend not using them. See how you do. Understand mistakes will happen. Forgive yourself if you find yourself in a situation where you have to use them. Ignore friends who brag about how they’ve never had a credit card. They will not have the credit history you do, which is required for nearly all major life purchases like cars and a home. Above all, just focus on paying them on time. While I’ve carried a balance for 3 years, I’ve never been late on a payment and my credit report reflects that.

If you have any other questions about the process, drop me a line at cat [at] budgetblonde [dot] com. Even better, if you have your own debt payoff story, please share it in the comments below!

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford aka "Cat" is a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. To learn more about her writing services, please visit her Hire Me page or e-mail her at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com. Follow her on Google + to get all the latest updates.

Lovely comments:

  1. That is so exciting, congratulations!! It feels awesome, my husband and I paid off and cancelled our credit cards a few months ago and just have a few thousand on our car loan to finish (our goal is march). We were trying to have a baby so we skipped the paying off debt completely and started saving and have done a great job with that too so I know how amazing it feels!! It is possible for anybody to do with a little dedication and guidance. (Dave Ramsey helped us a ton). Celebration!!!

  2. Congrats! Feel like a huge monkey on your back is gone now? We’re digging away at paying off our home equity line of credit, and I can’t wait for the joy I know I will feel when that balance says $0!

  3. AWESOME!!! What an awewsome feeling! I remember when my wife and me finally paid off our credit card bills, we felt so high and awesome for weeks! Congratultions, you should be proud!

  4. Congratulations! That’s so awesome!

  5. Congratulations!! I’m sure that feels wonderful!

  6. I know how difficult it is to stay on track when paying off debt. Congratulations!! Time to start saving for your vacation as you mentioned above.

  7. WOOHOO! What an awesome accomplishment! Not only have you killed the rest of a student loan, you killed that credit card debt once and for all, and saved a HUGE chunk in your EF. You’ve got skills, no doubt!

    So, what are you doing to celebrate?

  8. Congrats, Cat!!!

  9. YAY congrats! I remember how it feels to pay that off — I did it earlier this year, and now I use credit cards and there’s no risk of them using me! So happy for you.

  10. Congrats1 That is great!

  11. PS you should change your share buttons to say @budgetblonde rather than @sharethis.

  12. That is amazing! Congratulations. I brought a lot of credit card debt to our marriage thanks to some poor financial decisions my senior year in college and first couple of years in the “real world” (i.e. spring break in Florida? Sure! New Sleep Number bed? I need that! Computer? Check!) . Nick had virtually no debt, but we both faithfully worked toward paying mine off together. We scrimped and saved for our wedding, which we did on a shoestring budget to avoid going further into debt. We took advantage of balance transfer offers to take debt on high interest cards down to cards with 0% interest (and paid them off during their promotional periods). I’ve read that that strategy can negatively impact your credit score if utilized too much, but the pros outweighed the cons for us on that one. We now have one backup emergency card that we never use (with a zero balance) and one that we use for big purchases that we pay off immediately (i.e. plane tickets). The only reason we use the credit card as opposed to the debit card is that it’s a Caesars Total Rewards card, so it earns us free rooms and food in Vegas. Win. Congratulations again, Cat!

  13. Wow, Cat, Congrats! I’m really happy for you! I’m pretty sure you can take that 3rd goal off your list by the end of the year!

  14. Hooray! This is so exciting. I am really impressed with how much progress you’ve made in just a few weeks – that’s amazing!!!

  15. So proud of you, Cat! Good luck on your savings goal :)

  16. Congrats Cat. That is great to hear, it will only get easier to save from here. Now you know that every dollar you save is yours and won’t be going to anyone else :)


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