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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Oct 06, 3:03 PM
    • 8,116Posts
    • 42,302Thanks
    MSE Martin
    The Debt Free Roll Of Honour
    • #1
    • 26th Oct 06, 3:03 PM
    The Debt Free Roll Of Honour 26th Oct 06 at 3:03 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 11:03 AM.
    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 2
    • roversbabe
    • By roversbabe 26th Nov 06, 4:11 PM
    • 1,002 Posts
    • 755 Thanks
    The date of your lightbulb moment
    April 2005
    Debts at their highest
    Debt-Free Date
    April 6th 2006
    Your one pearl of wisdom.
    Keep a spending diary - this will show areas where you can cut back without too much pain. Also, post your SOA on here for loads of useful advice
    And if you had a debt diary on DFW, a link to it
    No debt diary, but I'll add my debt free post when I find it

    Found it
    Last edited by roversbabe; 26-11-2006 at 4:16 PM.
    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 027

    Debt free: 6th April 06 Proud to have dealt with my debts
    • mjdh1957
    • By mjdh1957 5th Dec 06, 2:16 PM
    • 624 Posts
    • 643 Thanks
    The date of your lightbulb moment - About January 2003. Had ended a relationship with someone who enjoyed spending my money and had realised what I'd been doing. So instead of complaining that I keep getting burned, started to take my hands out of the fire and sort out my money problems once and for all! Scrapped my credit cards and had a period of serious retrenchment and did some work on my self-esteem and other issues.

    Debts at their highest - About £25,000. I took out a big consolidation loan over seven years which I could just afford.

    Debt-Free Date - November 2006. Paid off the loan over three years early! Luckily there was no early-repayment penalty.

    Pearl of wisdom - It's never too late to start - one step at a time.
    Last edited by mjdh1957; 08-01-2007 at 3:08 PM.
  • gettingitsorted
    posts reported
    Official DFW NERD 189

    I may be a woman but dont hold it against me

    Officially declared Br 6/11/06

    Discharged Br 4/5/07 (6 months to the day)

  • noswad
    Lightbulb moment: June 2006

    Debts at highest: £2,400+

    Debt-Free Date: 21st December 2006
    debt light bulb moment 3rd march 2001
    at highest 36k
    total debt free 17 april 2006
    did all types of work started own business with wife while doing low paid work now totally selfemployed with good income .have taken on one new essential debt a mortgage in the last 2 months .
    • KatrinaC
    • By KatrinaC 1st Jan 07, 5:34 PM
    • 528 Posts
    • 387 Thanks
    The date of your lightbulb moment November 2005

    Debts at their highest 3400

    Debt-Free Date 22nd of December 2006

    Your one perl of wisdom. Work out where your money goes with a spending diary - whether it be a note pad in your pocket, a balance ledger, a triple entry book-keeping system or an all singing, all dancing spreadsheet - make use of it every day and it will quickly become clear where your money is going. Only once you know what you actually spend your money on can you work out how to NOT spend it.

    • Alfietinker
    • By Alfietinker 2nd Jan 07, 11:06 AM
    • 565 Posts
    • 545 Thanks
    Free! Free! Free!
    Lightbulb moment November 2005 when I finally bared all to hubby. In truth it had been flickering since I was 18 (year 2000 )

    Debts at highest About 4800 but had always been balancing around the 3K mark.

    Debt free date Today!!!!! (02/07/06) (I have just made my final payment but in truth it will take a couple of days to credit)

    Pearl of wisdom Tell somebody about your debt. They may be angry/upset at first, especially partners but going it alone is so much harder. Getting others involved and supportive will help you far more than you know.
    New year, no debt! Debt free date - 02/01/07
  • h4nym
    Lightbulb moment January 2005

    Debts at highest 144,000 - yes - 144,000

    Tax Man: 32,000
    Natwest Overdraft: 15,000
    Natwest Credit Card #1: 15,000
    Natwest Credit Card #2: 12,000
    Amex: 12,000
    Cahoot: 20,000
    Egg: 15,000
    HFC: 8,000
    Ex Wife: (amicable loan!) 10,000
    Parents: (amicable loan too!) 5,000

    No kidding! I enjoy a high income - around 100k pa. But this was still a horrendous amount of money. And I still remember every single penny as at the lightbulb moment!

    Debt free date November 2006 - paid off the last of Egg
    Pearl of wisdom Just be incredibly focussed. There is only one purpose that every single spare penny has in life and it's to pay your creditors. Write your debt diary in advance and make sure you stick to it.

    And now? Can you imagine how much it was costing to service debts of this magnitude. Let alone interest, nearly 6,000 was leaving our bank account just to pay loans / minimums etc etc. Add in mortgage, school fees and child support and we were nearing 10,000 per month before we even climbed out of bed each morning!

    We had acquired some assets over the course of time - including some investment properties. That basically made it impossible to declare bankrupcy - we simply had to pay our creditors back the money we had borrowed from them. So - 100% focus later, we found 1000 per month and rolled it into the most expensive. Then rolled the 500 saved onto the 1000 we already had available and so on... with that amount of money "spare" it would have been very tempting to "treat" ourselves. We didn't! We paid off our creditors and now we have more "spare" than we could ever need and we're sharing it equally between on saving, spending and on losing the mortgage(s)! And we don't worry about the post or the phone ringing.

    Notice the "we" - my wife and I were totally focussed, and totally together on this. Far from losing each other over this, we now blissfully stronger. There's things to worry about with debts - but your relationship isn't it! Stay focussed!
  • daveski
    Lightbulb moment May 2004. but had been an issue since Jul 2003.

    Debts at highest Around £28,000.

    Debt free date. Today, thank goodness! Egg kindly wrote off the £3.54 left on the loan from the final payment we made today.

    Pearl of wisdom We saved over £5000 in interest by paying the loan off early by increasing monthly our monthly payments. It makes a hell of a difference.
    Last edited by daveski; 05-01-2007 at 8:14 PM.
  • Sunray
    Hello everyone! I've been reader of this forum for about 2 years.

    Last year I've managed to pay off almost all debt nearly 2000 pounds!

    It was hard because I am quite new in Britain and was hard to find job in first place, then most of debt been maid by my husband before we had joint finances, then because I love to spend money on nice stuff and all year 2006 I had to cut out on lots of stuff and on a top of this I had very bad (still struggling) English, therefore problems with understanding financial terms

    but still managed to pay off almost everything (last payment hopefully next week - 39.65 ). My husband was really supportive too, he quit smoking, gave up to me all his cards, so we can live on a budget we set up and spend only limited cash per mounth.

    I would like to thank Martin and all of you for help, support and inspiration!!!
  • Moonbeam
    a.The date of your lightbulb moment

    November 30th 2001 - the day my husband got made redundant, and the day before we went on our honeymoon...

    b. Debts at their highest

    58,000 plus our mortgage of 98,000

    c. Debt-Free Date

    September 1st 2003

    d. Your one perl of wisdom.

    Whenever you can use CASH - it helps you keep track of everything and really makes you consider each spend....and keep up to date with this website - so much useful advice for free
  • berkybean
    Hello all!

    Lightbulb moment: June 2004

    Debts at highest: 27,000

    Debt-Free Date: 19th August 2005

    Pearl of wisdom: Pay with cash for stuff, rather than use cards. It sinks in quicker that you're spending money when you pay with cash.
  • cameo
    Hrm I kind of wished I'd checked this site out sooner while I was actually in debt! Oh well, I got sent here looking for info about car insurance so decided to check out the forums whilst I was at it. Ive been driving a battered old Nova diesel whilst paying off these debts, cost me 300 initially and was cheap as chips to run. Happily I'm now in a position to go for something a bit nicer!

    Great to see posts by people that have got out of debt, a source of inspiration to those working to the same goal. For all those still in the mix, keep on keeping on!

    Here's my story

    Lightbulb moment: April 2005

    Debts at highest: 12,500

    Debt-Free Date: November 2006

    Pearl of wisdom: Short term pain for long term gain.
    • Toto
    • By Toto 12th Jan 07, 8:31 PM
    • 6,447 Posts
    • 10,913 Thanks
    The date of your lightbulb moment
    May 2006
    Debts at their highest
    Debt-Free Date
    Jan 12th 2007

    My debt came about when I left a high earning job to start a business, regular living expenses, servicing the mortgage, basically making ends meet, only I didn't realise at the time I wasn't meeting the ends at all, I was driving them further apart. By June 2006 I was feeling pretty desperate and didn't know how I was going to dig my way out of this mess.

    But, I came here and asked for help, and it came and came and came. I worked really hard to cut out all of the silly spending, bought things we needed as cheaply as possible, learned how to properly budget. And I suddenly started seeing credit cards as debt cards and I learned to hate them.

    As I had this stupid Interest only mortgage on my house I one day realised I was paying 50% more for my house than the guy down the road who was renting. I realised I was renting, from the bank, at a really horrible rate, and unlike a normal landlord who might hike up my rent once a year or so, this landlord had hiked it twice in 3 months. But, I was stuck in the 'must own a house at all costs' mindset. Then one day I had a chat with Lynzpower and she helped me see sense. The house had to go.

    To make this story short, I rented a house which was much bigger and in a better part of town, £500 per month cheaper than my mortgage. The sale of my house allowed me to clear the last £46,000 of my debts and left enough to start a nice savings account. I was previously paying over £2000 per month in interest alone, now this is going straight into savings.

    Pearl of Wisdom, not sure I qualify to have any of those but I guess it would be, debt is scary and a horrid place to be when you are struggling, but it is only money, it isn't worth more than you. If you feel scared and desperate, talk and ask for help, don't let it consume you and rob you of you. There is always a solution sometimes we just need a hand to see it.
    Last edited by Toto; 14-01-2007 at 7:49 PM.

    "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein
  • fififofum
    debt free to self date.
    by Toto

    i have seen this on other posts but dont know what it means - can someone advise? thankyou
    • Hurdler
    • By Hurdler 26th Jan 07, 12:23 PM
    • 1,312 Posts
    • 5,183 Thanks
    Debt Free today!
    Firstly - even though I had my lightbulb moment last year, a friend only introduced me to the site this month and it is awesome and inspiring!

    Lightbulb moment
    23rd June 2006 - After my father's funeral. Thanks to warring rellies taking offence at our celebration of his life, me and my ma were thankfully left alone... and in that moment (at the grand old age of 37) I grew up financially, right there and then!
    I'd taken out a consolidation loan several years ago and cleared it down, borrowed again from time to time... never ran to my folks for money, but when you only have one parent left... you really learn the meaning of it all.
    In helping her sort out her financials in what had been really dad's domain... I realised I needed to shape up and sort myself out!

    Debts at their highest:
    10,000 when I first took out a conolidation loan.
    I was lucky enough to be selected as a "premier" client of my bank and one of the deals was a much more flexible, penalty free loan that acted as a credit account - draw down and repay whenever and no early repayment clauses
    Most recent debt was 3700 incorporating holiday and new kitchen costs

    Debt-Free Date:
    TODAY! (Friday 26th Jan 2007)
    Achieved by savings, a 400 rebate on double-insured buildings insurance and a compulary share buy-back which finally meant I could clear it completely.

    Pearl of Wisdom
    As the advert says... change 1 thing!
    The one thing I decided on for January was not to use the credit cards at all for a month (exempting those used for business as they are claimed back).
    If I couldn't pay for it in cash or in any of my debit accounts that serve as specific pools of money for specific things, then I couldn't have it.. end of!
    Next month's target now is to get saving so that eventually I can put down a hefty deposit on a house.

    Be realistic - I have a few things I need to do as well as save this year - some much needed new furniture and also some necessary lease extension bobbins for my flat... but the aim is to ensure that I lessen the use of the credit card and enjoy my life, but to keep my eye on the prize as well.

    Oh - and read this site! A lot of things I'd out in place when I had the original loan, like accounts for specific things (entertainment, cash allowance etc), savings pools/fountains, and budgets - I'd kinda started doing already!

    Thanks guys...
  • SNFFreak
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment

    August 2001

    b. Debts at their highest


    c. Debt-Free Date

    24th November 2006

    d. Your one perl of wisdom.

    Keep a spreadsheet of your outgoings so you know where your money is going, and where you can make savings. I also did a spread sheet of my debt, with a graph, so that I could see my debt dropping every month...very motivating!

    I love being debt free - It's a great feeling, and I am very grateful to Martin and everyone else who has posted on this website for all of their ideas, motivation and support.
    • Imelda
    • By Imelda 26th Jan 07, 3:36 PM
    • 1,310 Posts
    • 1,574 Thanks
    Whoo Hooo I made it !!!!
    Afternoon all,

    Debt at highest: 11,320
    Student Loan: 4,400
    Dad: 2,500
    Overdraft: 1,250
    Co-Op: 2,200
    Sofa: 970

    Lightbulb moment: February 2006

    Debt Free Date: 25th January 2007

    Pearl of wisdom

    Well, I'll admit that I received a bonus last April which paid a chunk of debts off, however it was this bonus which gave me lightbulb moment. Usually this bonus pays off any debt I have built up over the year but this time it didn't come close. I paid off all the highest interest bearing debt and moved the rest onto 0% (thank you Martin for telling us about the 0% on Barclaycard without a transfer fee if applied for in branch- I avoided all BT fees). I also paid my Dad off first because it didn't feel right owing him this much money.
    Anyway, that pearl, get organised I never knew where all my money went, I had one current account which everything went in and out of. I applied for the First Direct account (and got 50) and got my wages paid in there and transfered a set amount to my old "bills" account, I also saved for things like Christmas and car insurance for the first time ever. The remainder was for me and debt repayment. Since my debt was on 0% I set up a savings account and saved as much as I could each month (even transfering pennies into it was better than nothing). Finally, yesterday I realised that I had enough saved to pay off the last of my credit cards I did a poll on here to decide what to do as it was still well within the 0% period. The overwhelming majority said to pay it off, but, taking on board everything I have learnt here I have decide to stooze (is that the right word!?!). I am keeping the money in my savings account and will add to it each month just as I have been (it's easier to save when you already have some money in the bank right?). So, technically I am debt free right now.....

    Second pearl- spreadsheets! I keep a log of all ingoings and outgoings of all my accounts (I have 5, bills, spending, debt repayment savings, annual bills savings and ISA for long term savings). I keep a spending diary and I make sure I account for every penny spent. Yes, it's anal but being in control is the main thing.

    Thank you Martin!
    Saving for an early retirement!
    • lynzpower
    • By lynzpower 29th Jan 07, 2:20 PM
    • 24,745 Posts
    • 39,940 Thanks
    Hi all

    Well, after unning and ahhing, I think I am officially debt free. I yhave sold my flat, and have 37500 money in the bank. Although most of my debt is 0% Im going to keep the above money in investments and savings plans, and clear off the debts later when they convert to more than 0%.

    a. The date of your lightbulb moment
    March 06. When I joined here

    b. Debts at their highest

    im not 100% sure on this, but I joined here with 8160, It had been more than this, but I was whittling away the student loans. I estimate that at highest it was about 18k.
    c. Debt-Free Date
    Money came into my account today- so today, the 29.1.2007

    d. Your one perl of wisdom.
    I have plenty, but my favourite is work out the difference between want and need. Do you NEED new shoes, only answer yes, if they cant be repaired ( cheaper) you cant beg or borrow. If you NEED something, can you get it from a charity shop, outlet village, or with quidco cash back or some other such bonus. If you want it, resist.

    e. And if you had a debt diary on DFW, a link to it
    Certainly did here it is in its epic form

    thank you to MArtin, and every single person who has signed up who have contributed to the strength of this site. It has changed my life.
    Well aint funny how its the little things in life that mean the most? Not where you live, the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes.
    Theres no dollar sign on piece of mind
    This Ive come to know...
    So if you agree have a drink with me, raise your glasses for a toast
    • MushyPeas
    • By MushyPeas 6th Feb 07, 6:47 PM
    • 3,083 Posts
    • 7,885 Thanks
    Wow, firstly congratulations lynzpower!

    Previous debt:
    £14K (joint with husband, but as I always looked after the money - obviously not very well! - I felt it was all mine)

    Lightbulb moment:
    Can't remember exactly, around 2000

    Debt free date:
    Sept '03 (when husband left, I said he couldn't have any money as I was payig off the final £150 of our debt - gosh I remember that well!)

    Pearls of wisdom:
    Blimey, how I wish this site had existed then, or I'd known of it! I did work out our payments buy hand which I think meant stuff took longer to pay off.

    Have a budget and stick to it.

    Use a spreadsheet to work out your budget and what you spend every month. It's scary to see how much goes down in 'misc' for example!

    Treat yourself every now and again so you don't splurge!

    Get support, I think I would have found it easier if I'd been able to chat to anyone else about it, but it was too embarassing.
    Previous debt: 14K Debt free: Sept '03 MFW#42 Mortgage OP savings 4271.18/12000 2019 Started dating OH Mar '12, married Oct '12, Walnut born Dec ' 12 SPC 12: 99 38.05/500 Make money Jan: 412.34/310 Feb: 88.79/280 May: 215.52/310 June: 18.98/300
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