Success Stories??

Is there anyone out there who has been in debt but now debt free? How did you pay it off? Any tips on budgeting you would like to share? How did you keep yourself motivated? How much did you owe at the highest?

Just curious. It would be nice to read some success stories for a change, perhaps to motivate us all & show the newbies that post on here that it can be done.

As you can see from my signature, my debt at the highest was £19,000 (September 2002), and now it stands at £7,500 - and will be paid off by 5th December 2005.

This board is a godsend I have to say - thank you Martin!!

Come on, get posting. Tell me how you did it :0)

What are your plans for now you are debt free? How did you feel once you had cleared every last penny?


  • draconian_2
    draconian_2 Posts: 104 Forumite

    I found this board today.

    I have a very long story - essentially I got divorced and that led to my financial downfall.

    I was "lucky" though - I was a good earner but I was having to pay £1000 per month maint for my son, clear the debts and cover my living expenses. I lost my house and every possesion I had.

    5 years on I have 23k left and am paying just over £1000 off a month. SO I will be debt free within 24 months - hopefully a bit sooner if some things at work go my way.

    One thing that is very annoying is that two of my creditors CITI Financial and First Direct would not entertain any "full & final settlememts". I have not tried the others as yet as I find it difficult to get lump sums together. But I will keep trying!!

    Looking fwd to that day!

  • gk172
    gk172 Posts: 1,875
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    Wasnt sure to post this but it may be relevant to someone, i am a stay at home mum and had a visa for emergancies like if th kids needed anything etc, which because of not wanting to ask hubby for more money - which was never a problem i tried to cope with things on my own which didnt work to well so i got a part time job at night which curtailed my hubbys overtime so i could earn 'my own money' and then after a few months we decided, well i pushd for a newer car and the monies would come out my earnings. All was going good i was paying £200 to visa £140 to car and what was left got the kids treats till my job turned nasty, well some people did and made life not too nice to the extent i cries all the way home but wouldnt really say too much because of the visa and car debt, i thought it was me and that i had a problem with other people till a few others noticed and realised we were working with not nice people and twisted people and it was my friends who puruaded me to speak to hubby and i broke down and told him everything - he had a rought idea seeing the state i was coming in each night so we sat down one night and all the hassle i was getting simply wasnt worth it. The nights i was working my hubby took on extra hours and what i made in the month he could make in a week overtime, so really we wernt any worse off for me walkign out on the job, yes hubby spent more hours out at work maybe not coming in till kids went to bed, we cut down on treats for us adults and i got a telling off for not telling him how much money was on the visa. So now the visa is cleared, the car paid off we opened a bottle of asdas cava to celebrate and now we work it if the kids need anything i tell him he has a visa bill to pay - his answer no problem:) as money was never a problem maybe just my stupid pride of trying to cope with everything:o

    On the upside/downside hubby has continued to work mega hours and liked the new car so much when the payments for the car and visa were finished we kept putting the monies away till we had enought to go out and get a newer car sooner than we had hoped and now we have the cashback mastercard which gets paid off in full every month and i get the nice bonus come dec/jan. Also this was the first year we managed to get through xmas without buying cheap big boxes to bulk things out for the kids, they got what they wanted and a little bit more thanks to all the super posts on this great site:D
    The more i save the more i can spend:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
  • Crown
    Crown Posts: 1,377 Forumite
    One of the most inspiring stories I remember reading on this board is that of Rochdale Guy. I think it has been classed a classic ;)

    The Link is here. Quite a long story but it was good to see that there is light at the other end.

    Heres the link

    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 297 - Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts :D
  • Xbigman
    Xbigman Posts: 3,879
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    How about this as a cautionary tale (long).

    I moved in with my girlfriend in 1985. 5 minutes later she was pregnant. All my savings went on the mortgage. I am 22 years old.

    1986 - I crashed my motor bike, 4 months off work and start of debt spiral. Person who caused the accident knew every trick in the book. IE, sold his lorry the next week. Landscaped his front garden to confuse civil engineers road report, etc. So no pay out to me.

    1988 - Promoted at work, now on a salary so no over time. Effectively a 4000 pay cut.

    1989 - Remortgage. Set up in business working part time selling paintball equipment (so now on 7 day week with 2 jobs). Part time job goes horribly wrong. Lots of suppliers all cutting each others throats. Borrow more money to fund business.

    1990 - 6 interest rate rises on my mortgage payments. Paintball business goes tips up. I have an income of 887 per month. Mortgage is 540, secured loan 175, unsecured loan 106. Plus credit cards, plus living expences for 3.
    Oct 90, go bankrupt.

    1991 - House repossed, lose everything. !!!!!! year.

    1993 - finally split with girlfriend (to this day she has never had a job or supported herself). Three words for you. Child support agency. Oct. 93 discharged from bankruptcy.

    1994. CSA want two thirds my income. They claim I am 7000 in arrears. I walk out on my bakery job of 9 years.

    1995. Temp jobs, unemployment then agency work.

    1996. Start my current job. Living in one room in shared flat.

    1997. Finish 5 year battle with CSA when I issue summons to get secretary of state for health in court. CSA re assess me. I now owe 3300 in arrears. I pay by deduction of earnings order so arrears payment is added to that.

    1998. My daughter is hospitalized. My employer refuses me an emergency weeks holiday. I take 8 weeks off unpaid without permission and then go sick for another 15 weeks, living off my credit cards.

    1999. I know, I'll borrow 5000. Pay off the cards and buy a car and computer.
    (You may need to read that twice before you believe it).

    Jan 2001. I open my credit card bills and fall over. I owe 3100 on one and 911 on the other. I work out I still owe over 3000 on my loan. I also still pay off the CSA arrears. I have a reasonable job, live in cheap shared accomodation but I still have debts and no money. I am 8240 in debt. And I dream of owning my own house! I'm an idiot.

    Around now I have my lightbulb moment.

    I start a spreadsheet and I now track everything I spend. I cut out everything I can. Phone and internet go. I now budget and take a shopping list with me to do my shopping. I clear out the cupboards and sell off some second hand stuff. I cancel a sharesave scheme (worth 250) and pay that off my debts. I start getting lifts to work to split the petrol costs.
    I go through my credit cards bills. Telewest took 117 twice so I eventually get it back (from barclaycard in fact). Funny thing is, I actually have 600 in the bank, but from where? I soon work it out. I have a DD for the minimum payment with my advanta credit card, but I also pay off extra each month (I was at least trying to keep the debts down). I now find out that any month I made a direct payment, Advanta didn't take the DD. OK with three months tidying up I clear my barclaycard and knock a few hundred off my Advanta card. Now I knuckle down to pay off more. I do some overtime. and by Nov Advanta is down to 1700. I BT to low APR tesco CC.

    Nov 2001 - I still have the same employer but I take an internal transfer. Less money for less hours but for three months I earn my old rate of pay. I do suicide overtime for 8 weeks around xmas (hit an 80 hour week several times). By end of year Advanta is down to 600 and I BT to egg at 0 APR. I now start paying off the Loan.

    2002 - I pay huge sums off the loan. Extra payments of 710 in Jan, 533 in Feb. 600 in Mar. The overtime then dries up but the back of the debt is broken. April - I pay off the last of the loan and 200 from egg. In May I will have the last 410 to pay off egg and a few quid for myself. CSA arrears are finally paid off in feb (effectively 0 APR so I just made the normal payments).

    May 8th. My father dies. I take 2 weeks off work sick but because of my good record in recent years I'm back in the sick pay scheme and I get paid anyway.

    My father leaves no will so my brother and I split everything. I end up as administrator of the estate. My father was disabled for the last 19 years and had nothing but he did own the (slightly tatty) house. The solicitor offers to do everything for us (for a price), undertaker will wait for his money until estate is settled (14.9% APR of course). I'm having none of this. I get a 0 % Lloyds CC and BT the last of the Egg card. I do all the admin, pay the bills and sort out the estate myself.
    Estimated solicitors costs 3000. I do if for just over 700.
    Does my brother help? No. He has laughed at my old car and new thrifty ways for the last 18 months. He drives a BMW, he goes out every week, he has a good job. Why didn't he help? Well its seems he has these two car loans, and three credit cards, and rent, etc, etc...

    I buy out my brothers share of the house. Its worth 90,000 (but he claims 92+) so I get a mortgage. It wasn'y easy. I've been bankrupt and C&G wanted the paperwork from my original house purchase in 1985! Eventually I get it all and Sept 2002 I own a house. With the funeral to pay for, rotting windows to replace and some money for my daughter all included with the 46,000 for my brother, I now have a mortgage for 55,000. AND NO OTHER DEBTS. If I hadn't paid off all my debts in recent years I would have missed this opportunity.

    I budget for everything. I still do shopping lists. Strangely I do the opposite to most people. I pay for everything on my tesco CC. I NEVER carry cash. I keep all the receipts and keep records of spending on my spreadsheet. I pay that card off every month, without fail.
    Other bills, if it saves money I pay by DD, if it doesn't I pay by quarterly bill. I go through my credit card bill every month. Remember I have the reciepts and my spreadsheet so I KNOW TO THE PENNY how much it should be. Same with my bank statement.
    You think I'm just saying that? Xmas 2003 I bought a toy from 'the Entertainer' in bristol for 19.99. They billed my CC for 20.00. I complained and got my penny back plus a £10 gift voucher.

    My brother? He paid off his debts, then bought another car, then sold it and bought another (26 cars in 15 years says it all). His 46,000 is now less than 20,000 (he won't tell me how much less) and he still rents.

    My only financial leak right now is my shopping. I'm on a diet so I spend £46 per week on two of us because I don't buy the cheapest fatty stuff. The other one of the two is my daughter, who came to live with me last year. She was fed up with her mother who is 41 and, like I said above, has never had a full time job.

    Life is rather good right now and long may it continue.

    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
  • ceegee
    ceegee Posts: 856 Forumite
    What a fantastically happy ending for you, Xbigman, that tale brought a tear to my eye! I hope you and your daughter are really happy together now, although single parenthood can be hard going at times! Every happiness to both of you, you deserve it after that dogged slog.

    A truly inspirational story and it just goes to show what can be done if you put your mind to it and don't give in.
    :snow_grin"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow........":snow_grin
  • Malestrom
    Malestrom Posts: 983 Forumite
    Nice post Xbigman, thanks for sharing, best of luck for the future! :)
    He huihuinga taangata he pukenga whakaaro – A meeting of people; a wellspring of ideas (Maori proverb)
  • Crown
    Crown Posts: 1,377 Forumite
    Another great inspirational story.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to make this a regular section of the site. Its certainly gives me the momentum to want to stick to my budget ;)
    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 297 - Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts :D
  • Midas
    Midas Posts: 596
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    That's one of the best posts I've ever read. Thanks for sharing it. I'm truly inspired. All the best, Midas.
  • draconian_2
    draconian_2 Posts: 104 Forumite
    Its amazing really how second time around we are so careful. I also now pay my CC bills off every month and I think many, many times before I buy anything, although when my son needs something I tend not to think as much there.

    Its great to hear how people deal with debt - certainly helps me focus!

  • Xbigman
    Xbigman Posts: 3,879
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Many thanks for the kind comments. I was unlucky a fair few times but I was also a prat a lot.

    Any one else have a success story? It doesn't have to be as long as my post (which I left a lot of stuff out of).

    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
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