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The Debt Free Roll Of Honour

MSE_Martin Posts: 8,272 Money Saving Expert
First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 17 December 2018 at 1:03PM in Debt-free wannabe
Update December 2018. We started this Debt Free Roll of Honour back in 2006 and since then there have been some fabulously inspiring stories, which you'll see if you read below.

To read the most recent debt-free announcements click the double arrow above to head to the last page of the discussion

Back to Martin's original post...


Welcome to the Debt-Free Roll of Honour.

This is for Debt-Free Wannabees who are no longer Wannabees.

Please report

a. The date of your lightbulb moment
b. Debts at their highest
c. Debt-Free Date
d. Your one perl of wisdom.
e. Links to the MSE guides that helped you
f. Which forum threads helped you
g. And if you had a debt diary on the Debt-Free Wannabe board (DFW), a link to it

And huge congratulations :)


PS Please no one else post - let's keep this a pure record of successes :)

PPS Please come back to let us know Debt-free No Longer Wannabes - What they did next" discussion to tell us what you've been up to."

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000


  • Gillby1
    Gillby1 Posts: 659 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
    Lightbulb moment: October 2004

    Debts at highest: £6500

    Debt-Free Date: 26th October 2006 (Yay!)

    Pearl of wisdon: First rule of DFW - Start keeping track of your budget - every penny! It sounds obvious to me now, but before i started paying off my debts i had no idea how much was in my account, how much was going out each month for bills, rent etc... and whether i could take money out without going overdrawn. Now i know exactly how much i can spend each month, and exactly how much i have left to pay off debts/save. So use a spreadsheet, notebook, envelope or chalk & slate - whatever you have - and start working out how much money is coming in and how much money is going out.
    Debt free date: October 2006 :money:
  • briona
    briona Posts: 1,454 Forumite
    Lightbulb moment: July 2005

    Debt at highest: £3850

    Debt-Free Date: March 2006

    Pearl of wisdom: Look at just one extravagance and work out the annual cost. For me it was a real wake up call to see that my £2-a-day chocolate habit was costing me over £500 per year – around 1/8 of my total debt! Crazy! By cutting out just one [stupid] spend, I became more inspired to reduce other spending.
    If I don't respond to your posts, it's probably because you're on my 'Ignore' list.
  • freebird65
    freebird65 Posts: 1,751 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Lightbulb moment: April 2004

    Debts at highest: ca.£69,000+ _pale_

    Debt-Free Date: 4th August 2006

    Pearl of wisdom: Whenever you set foot in any shop or are in a buying situation,no matter how small, just stop and think...."Do I really need this, or do I just want it?". If it's just want, put it back!! You'll be amazed how much money you stop wasting. Also, be prepared to make drastic changes - I wiped out a large chunk of debt by selling my house and downsizing. Hard, but sometimes necessary!

    Debt Diary Link: Not really a debt diary, but my post back in early August on how it came about and how I got rid of it! http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=238897
  • snoozer
    snoozer Posts: 3,632 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    Lightbulb moment: January 2005 (but didn't know about :money: then).

    Debts at highest: around £40,000

    Debt free date: April 2006

    Pearl of Wisdom: That the food etc you can purchase at places such as Lidl and Aldi (which I was very snobby about before)is just as good as Sainsburys and Waitrose in many cases and you can save a fortune by shopping there.
  • Creditcardkid
    Lightbulb moment: October 4th 2003 (my 25th birthday)

    Debts at highest: around £30,000

    Debt free date: June 26th 2006

    Pearl of Wisdom: If there is something that you really want then it must be worth saving up for rather than taking a loan out for.
  • msmicawber
    msmicawber Posts: 1,962 Forumite
    Debt-free and Proud!
    Lightbulb Moment: 14 February 1999

    Debt at highest: £6,290.72

    Debt free date: 14 August 2006

    Pearl of Wisdsom: I keep all receipts and a list of standing orders and direct debts and reconcile my bank statement each month. That way, I can pick up on any errors and adjust my budget if I need to without going overdrawn and racking up bank charges. This way I also know my spending habits intimately, so can identify what's a bargain and what isn't.
    Debt at highest: £6,290.72 (14.2.1999)
    Debt free success date: 14.8.2006 :j
  • Catseyez
    Catseyez Posts: 993 Forumite
    Lightbulb Moment: December 2005 but it had been flickering since May 2004 when I bought Martin's Money Diet book

    Debt at Highest: £8,850

    Debt Free Date: July 2006

    Pearl of Wisdom: Keep visiting the MSE site! It can be very difficult and even depressing when you see your (non-lightbulb!) friends buying the latest clothes, cars, holidays etc. Regularly checking the board and hearing other peoples' stories, advice etc can be very inspiring and motivating. Whatever your debt, just keep persevering because you can do it!
  • queenbee2006
    lightbulb moment oct 06
    debts at nearly £9000 could be more
    debt free september2006
    pearl of wisdom spending is just the outer cause of an inner problem, watched alot of spendaholics where they have a therapist helped me alot. Still getting to grips with this money management business but as my friend says practice makes perfect and I say there is no shame in getting it wrong and making mistakes along the way!
  • Steve1977
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment - October 2005
    b. Debts at their highest - £10,000
    c. Debt-Free Date - 30th October 2006
    d. Your one perl of wisdom. - Write down every transaction. That way you will know if you can 'treat yourself'

    What I did in October 2000 was total exactly how much I owed and much to my suprise it was waaaay too much. What with moving into our house and spending god knows how much on decorating I would pay for it all on my credit card, but I would then dis-associate that when i wanted to treat myself. Saying to myself "well i havent treated myself so i'l buy this and that" - But just buying paint from B&Q meant I did use my credit card.

    So once I got the loan I knew that if I !!!!!!ed it up this time there would be no turning back. When I got the loan it gave me the opportunity to budget properly but I was still £300 in debt.

    November 2005 was the month when i was going to try and spend a maximum £100 a month. Despite a trip to Blackpool I managed to do it. Christmas came and went but in Jan, Feb and March I managed to teeter just over my £100 mark. But my balance always hovered around the £300 mark. By April I got it down to zero! but only for a few days because I had a camping trip which involved filming so I was then back to square one in the sense that I then owed once again, about £300.

    Basically all year Iv been around this figure or just over. We didnt legislate for our TV license so I had to pay for that but thankfully, from Tommorow...29th October 2006. My mastercard will be zero. Of course im still paying the mortgage, of course im still paying the loan. But we can afford to pay our mortgage and I can now save some money. if I spend once again, about £100 during a month I can pay it off straight away and put £200 in my savings.

    I feel in control again. But because of cutting back on petrol I feel fitter, iv lost weight, im less stressed out and i have more money.

    As a cause for celebration, I subscribed to Sky Sports on Saturday and we'r having that for November and December.
  • nicko75
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment
    Summer 2002

    b. Debts at their highest
    Approx £22,000

    c. Debt-Free Date
    November 2006!

    d. Your one pearl of wisdom.
    Write it all down on a spreadsheet - everything that you owe. Then do a budget - a proper one. I used to know that I had a gas bill to pay or that my student loan payment was going to leave my account the following week but I would still draw money on my account and pretend that wasnt going to happen! Once you have a totally inclusive budget and an analysis of all your debts you can draw up a plan - it took me 4 years but its worth it in the end! I was fortunate enough that I managed to pay virtually 0% on half my debt due to shifting it around on cards. Looks like you now have to pay transfer charges but its still worth doing if you have a big balance and get a long 0% deal.....
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