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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Oct 06, 4:03 PM
    • 8,116Posts
    • 42,310Thanks
    MSE Martin
    The Debt Free Roll Of Honour
    • #1
    • 26th Oct 06, 4:03 PM
    The Debt Free Roll Of Honour 26th Oct 06 at 4:03 PM
    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."

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 17-12-2018 at 12:03 PM.
    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

    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • Gillby1
    • By Gillby1 26th Oct 06, 4:32 PM
    • 638 Posts
    • 913 Thanks
    • #2
    • 26th Oct 06, 4:32 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Oct 06, 4:32 PM
    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
  • briona
    • #3
    • 26th Oct 06, 4:44 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Oct 06, 4:44 PM
    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.
    Last edited by briona; 27-10-2006 at 4:38 PM.
    If I don't respond to your posts, it's probably because you're on my 'Ignore' list.
    • freebird65
    • By freebird65 26th Oct 06, 6:42 PM
    • 1,731 Posts
    • 2,682 Thanks
    • #4
    • 26th Oct 06, 6:42 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Oct 06, 6:42 PM
    Lightbulb moment: April 2004

    Debts at highest: ca.£69,000+

    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!
    Last edited by freebird65; 12-11-2006 at 10:20 AM.
    • snoozer
    • By snoozer 27th Oct 06, 10:04 AM
    • 2,488 Posts
    • 26,871 Thanks
    • #5
    • 27th Oct 06, 10:04 AM
    • #5
    • 27th Oct 06, 10:04 AM
    Lightbulb moment: January 2005 (but didn't know about 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
    • By Creditcardkid 27th Oct 06, 10:09 AM
    • 276 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    • #6
    • 27th Oct 06, 10:09 AM
    • #6
    • 27th Oct 06, 10:09 AM
    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
    • By msmicawber 27th Oct 06, 11:58 AM
    • 1,926 Posts
    • 1,604 Thanks
    • #7
    • 27th Oct 06, 11:58 AM
    • #7
    • 27th Oct 06, 11:58 AM
    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
    • Catseyez
    • By Catseyez 27th Oct 06, 2:47 PM
    • 935 Posts
    • 716 Thanks
    • #8
    • 27th Oct 06, 2:47 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Oct 06, 2:47 PM
    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
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 06, 6:28 PM
    free at last
    • #9
    • 27th Oct 06, 6:28 PM
    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
    • By Steve1977 29th Oct 06, 7:32 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 44 Thanks
    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.....
    • samjones39blue
    • By samjones39blue 8th Nov 06, 12:02 PM
    • 117 Posts
    • 70 Thanks
    Light bulb moment Jan 06

    Debts at there highest £1000

    Debt free Oct 06

    Ok luckily for me I had my light bulb moment very early on before things got out of control. Everyone on this site knows that debts can starts of small but soon grow. My pearl of wisdom is donít ignore your debt even if it is small. I was overdrawn my £1000 every month and paying interest on it, I moved it to an interest free credit card for 9 months which separated the debt from my current account and helped me budget and see my debt as a separate thing. Which helped me pay it off!!
  • j4m35
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment - August 2005

    b. Debts at their highest - circa £11.5k

    c. Debt-Free Date - October 2006

    d. Your one perl of wisdom. - I have more than one. Bear with me.

    1 - Ask yourself questions all the time that begin with 'do I really need....'

    2 - Read 'The Money Secret' by Rob Parsons

    3 - Understand that having a nice car, lots of shoes, expensive stuff etc does not equate to being rich. It is more likely to equate to being in debt. Do not therefore try to 'keep up with the Joneses'. I would bet that a lot of people with lots of stuff aren't actaully as wealthy as you might think or they'd like you to think.

    4 - Exercise. It makes you feel loads better than a new (insert your vice here)

    5 - If you want to earn more, work hard and do a good job. Don't feel sorry for yourself and just expect the situation to change.

    6 - Just get on with paying it off. It feels great and it's addictive.

    7 - Read the forums. There's some lovely people on here who will advise if you want advice, be nice to you if you're feeling rubbish, and provide inspiration when you feel de-motivated.
  • ms_london
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment - Around the end of 2002 when I could no longer get any credit (although at this time I was still living in denial and still avoided making repayments!!). Full blown lightbulb moment was probably mid 2003!!

    b. Debts at their highest - 19,000 pounds (only a $ sign here!!)

    c. Debt-Free Date - 27th October 2005 - cant believe its been over a year now, its amazing!!

    d. Your one pearl of wisdom. - Dont underestimate the power of financial independence, you dont have to be rich, but it really does give you more choices than when you have debt hanging around your neck. True friends will stick by you, and although it is hard at the time it is definately worth it in the end, I am pleased I went through it in a strange way!!

    e. And if you had a debt diary on DFW, a link to it: No, but you can read my travel diary if you like: - something I never would have achieved if I hadnt found this site or become debt free!! Despite the site's name, it isnt to make you jealous, but to perhaps give you some hope that I was the worlds worst person with money, but managed to become debt free & actually save, just goes to show if I can do it, anyone can!!

    I hope everyone is doing well!! Sending you all my love.xx
    • Xbigman
    • By Xbigman 12th Nov 06, 4:20 PM
    • 3,264 Posts
    • 1,455 Thanks
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment - End of 1999 (not even going bankrupt in 1990 lit me up).

    b. Debts at their highest - 8240 at lightbulb moment (bankruptcy figure was ramped up by banks so I'll not use it)

    c. Debt-Free Date - May 2002

    d. Your one pearl of wisdom. - don't borrow money from friends.

    Inspiration now - mortgage free date Feb 2012

    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
  • sarah_elton
    I don't quite know if I count so feel free to delete my post; I was a closet DFW and am only coming out now! But the ideas and messages of support on here helped me no end....

    Lightbulb moment - November 2004

    Debt at highest - £5,919

    Debt-free date - August 2006 (could have been Feb 2006 but I was nervous having nothing in emergency savings, so put some cash away)

    Pearl of wisdom - Budget, budget and budget!! Do the budget sheet here then work out a personal record system (MS Money, Excel, or a notebook, whatever works for you) to keep track month to month. Know what your disposable income (after all bills) truly is each month, and realise this is the amount for you to spend or save (or usually a mix of the two). Keep a record of your total debt which you update monthly with latest balances, and do a graph - the downward slope to zero feels great.

    Despite an Economics degree from Oxford, it took this site to sort out my own finances. In the last two years I've gone from renting and having £6k in CC/overdraft debts to owning my own adorable flat, and £1,200 in savings (so far!).

    I'm still a shopaholic, nothing will change that, but now I spend what I honestly can.
  • bigmac2020
    Don't be afraid, grab your debt by the throat and give it a good shake!!!!!
    Lightbulb Moment May 2002

    Debts at their highest £74,000 (I could have bought my first house (twice) with this!

    Debt-Free Date Hopefully mid January 2007

    Your one pearl of wisdom My one piece of advice to anyone is: If you can't sleep, fear the postman piling more letters through the door asking for money you don't have and find that you can only just meet your minimum payments on your CC's etc.
    Then PLEASE, PLEASE ask for help. Personally I made a call to the CCCS, who are a regsitered charity that advise on Debt Management. The last 4 years or so have been hard, but I can see a light at the end now, I also know that I have paid back every penny I owe and can therefore ask for my credit file to be shown as 'settled in full'
    Don't be afraid to admit your problem or be embarrassed, the lady I spoke to on my first call gave me my client number and when I told her how stupid I had been and felt, she said "look at your client number (167,400 ish), you are not alone, you're not the first and will certainly not be the last"

    I am just about to move house and this will free the equity to vanquish my remaining demons, once finished I will be debt free (Apart from the mortgage) with a potential of having £400 a month spare cash (what a feeling!!!!!!!!!)
  • sares
    Your story brings so much hope to me! I am at my wit's end - I owe about £20,000, I am a single parent, I work part-time and I have to find £500 every month to pay my bills. I think I will take your advice and call CCCS but I am so embarrassed and ashamed. None of my family know and I am too scared to tell them but I need to take that first step so I will call CCCS this week. Thanks
    • yeslek
    • By yeslek 24th Nov 06, 4:23 PM
    • 1,408 Posts
    • 892 Thanks
    lightbulb - about may/june this year

    (see sig for rest )

    pearl of wisdom - cashback!! nuff said
  • bigmac2020

    never feel ashamed or embarrassed, that is exactly how we felt, but I must admit that now myself and my wife are soooooo proud of what we have achieved that we don't mind sharing our experience if it helps someone else.

    The worst part I had was telling my parents (even aged 34 it's hard to tell your parents many things), but they just smiled and were pleased that we had done something about it and taken control.

    You go for it and hopefully this will put you at ease and it will certainly put you in control again. The best bit for me was telling my creditors that we had taken control of the situation and not waited for them to come and get us. Be proud of yourself for being brave enough to face up to the problem, it makes you a very brave person ( I cried with relief after my first call to CCCS and don't mind admitting it).

    Good luck and stick with it, it won't be easy but at least you know there will be an end to it.
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