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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Oct 06, 4:03 PM
    • 8,111Posts
    • 42,248Thanks
    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 Jan 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."

    Past Debt Free No Longer Wannabes (huge congratulations)

    2016 TOTAL: 85

    OxfordGirl, datlex, sentientpoet, austonic, muppets, NJS2016, Bipolar_debt, monz, ab_saver, Money_Muppet , retiredandskint, lambda, Princesssparkle, Onmyway2, Seasidegal58, QuietOne, Willowpop, daveg10, NewcastlePaul, eco farmer, SpekySquarehead, C&S, Gazza1964, naff123, pineconesjay, lsmcal1984, blu3sky, villemo84, mesci, Honeylife, Karma67, timefortea, chocoholic_chick, purpleposting4, dangerpowers, e4rub, starnac, Carviscocker, Fender4, dolly84, Brightspark87, hoglet121, Bored, devon-tony, mrsbee17, Tony_, stekka, Kate_fixing_it, Gladioli, HornetSaver, sistercas, Tiglath, moneycantbuyyouhappiness, RosaBernicia, Catwoman_2015, Baldybear, Muhren, please-let-me-be-lucky, gig11, skilly, heartbreak_star, Frith, CornishMaid, tizerbelle, Ronoir,
    takingcareofthepennies, Mysteek, Sillygal, laura84gr, medusasmummy, depressed_but_determined, Soph86, princess_pea, bookworm262, Hobbes1, glentoran99, NoStrangerToDebt, CapricornLass, Serafine, 2spicy, mc2705, AshB123, koselur, mothernerd, BrandNewStart[/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

    2015 TOTAL: 115!!

    nannygladys, beckle_82, neuromancer, Alpedro, Aphidgirl, LotsToDo, stewby, Pepperoni, Squarehead76, nonnynonny, danant, DML1954, mrshughes86, Blinky2010s, Rachiedabbler70, Playing with Fire, katy_ann, lexbubbles, diamonds, andy1886, stiltoncheese, looby1975, shofer, Karb, kittypimms, Growurown, Want_to_be_free, crazy_cat_lady, David123456, FinallyGettingFree, malnuman, ShirePiskie, black cat, boring1, kremmen, BlueEyedGirl, antonia86, ice_babe, Apple Crumble, LittleDutchgirl, natsplatnat, her_welshness, dads_albums, supersavor, KONG, HomeAlone, kerryallc71, fredtheguava, xxxJOJOxxx, The Only Girl, uncreative, NeverAgain2, Penny Bridge, boot13t, lemanie, gree0115, cakeforbrains, hydrangea, Cynical Monkey, tripled, ShopaholicNumber1, Lwsi, CrazyKitten, Nargleblast, kirstle99, Polly Wolly Doodle, SMGee, D3P0, MissShoes, kb_soma, Chimping, StrawberryJam132, maria3104, happycrafter, bassitt74, Ratison, GingerFurball, Tammy2, NewlyFrugalMumof3, cottage_retreatist, boucho11, *zippy*, MNM2903, allydowd, joee, Zabki, 7roland8, naughtymonkey, babyplum, NorthernMonkey1, Time to face the music, melwright, Daerve, johnboyinsole, Ali-OK, thewalrussaid, kika, Skinnylatte, fevlo, Seanymph, Smedley, poohbear59, happybunny86, spot3, xxlouisexx56 , Idollic, hannah2010, MrWillyWonka, Getmeoutofdebt, powellypowelly, AlexLK, Laconic, cluckyhen, rising from the ashes, KirstyO

    2014 TOTAL: 92

    2013 TOTAL: 81

    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 12-01-2018 at 12:07 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 83
    • Ellieseleven
    • By Ellieseleven 2nd Mar 17, 3:01 PM
    • 2,106 Posts
    • 6,792 Thanks
    So lovely to see you here Elllie

    Fortune x
    Originally posted by Fortune Smiles

    It's lovely to be here Fortune Smiles. This thread has been the ultimate aim throughout my DMP. I used to come on here and read everyone's achievements and it spurred it me on that one day I would also be debt-free...and now I am

    Ellie x
    Debt Free 1st March 2017
    Saving for Xmas 2017 #1 £548/ £732
    DFBXMAS 2017 #18 £1978/1,978 100%
    EF #142 - 1027/1000
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 3rd Mar 17, 5:47 PM
    • 3,048 Posts
    • 15,106 Thanks
    Well done Ellie. What an inspiration you are. I am like you were. I read the DF roll of honour all the time hoping I will be able to post here one day, as you are now. Congratulations.
    DIA x
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/March 2018=0 DEBT FREE 23/03/18
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • CP2016
    • By CP2016 3rd Mar 17, 6:52 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 263 Thanks
    Congratulations Ellie, I was looking out for your post on here. Well done.
    “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
    Wiliam Morris
    • blu ray
    • By blu ray 7th Mar 17, 9:28 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    blu ray
    Hi all

    Light bulb moment

    November 2009

    Debt at highest


    Debt free

    1st March 2017

    Just like to say big,big thank you too stepchange for all their work to getting me debt free, getting the credit card companies to freeze interest,,,and big thank you of course goes to this site,not a big poster, more of a browser,but thanks anyway
    • Jo Blogs
    • By Jo Blogs 8th Mar 17, 2:26 AM
    • 730 Posts
    • 2,597 Thanks
    Jo Blogs
    Light bulb moment

    March 2006

    Debt at highest


    Debt free

    April 2008

    One pearl of wisdom

    Check your finances regularly and set up a budget using a spreadsheet where you can see and reduce / eliminate non essential spends.
    My debt was not huge, but it was enough for me to do something about it before it got well out of hand.
    Saved Nitty Gritty £7440.75 [149%] / £5000-[Sep] £58.44 for the 'Save 12k in 2017' #157
    2017 Womble #35 £3463.27 Sept NSDs 4/15CCCChl 9/12 months
    Sept PPChl#002 Pts 71
    • sam-andira
    • By sam-andira 16th Mar 17, 9:16 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    In August 2014 whilst on holiday I could not draw cash . I later found that two DD repayments to two credit cards had bounced before that i always paid. I put that right as soon as I could. In September I realised I could not be sure of any more 0% balance transfers to help survival and I had found that valuation of a property I rented out would not leave enough to clear the mortgage and unsecured debts. if I sold it income would reduce and I would be left with debts i could not repay. Things looked pretty bleak. I contacted StepChange and DebtHelpPlan. I prepared budgets and submitted them . My unsecured debts were £49,000 including personal loans and overdrafts. A shock! Repayment was impossible in my lifetime and I was concerned I would leave debts as an inheritance to my children. Debt Resolution(?) or Settlement companies required a monthly payment and the first would pay off debts in 5 years with no fee, the second in 3 years with a 15% fee. Both would destroy my credit rating but as the aim was to be debt free and not borrow again then a credit rating would be of no value. I reasoned that somebody must fund Stepchange and I guessed it must be the banks. also they did not guarantee the result. I chose DHP because they said their agreements had legal backing. Someone suggested the Stepchange was paid a fee by the creditors. My lightbulb moment would be October 9th 2014 when I decided i had to do this as the risks to my own wellbeing and financial status outweighed the risk of doing it. On one day I transferred all income to one account and cancelled all Direct Debits for repayment to credit cards and loans and set up DD payments for essentials from another account but stopped using the one with a large overdraft. That bank reinstated direct debits to itself and charged penalty fees. The first small personal loan settled first at about 33% and others followed. some appointed Debt Collectors or sold the debts on .I sent any letters or referred phone calls to DHP. They were tough and I followed suit . When I sold the rented house in March 2016 I was able to pay a lump sum into the DHP account and by June 2016 I was debt free. I retained two credit cards, always pay them off and neither want nor need credit from anyone. I am now over 75 and so I could do this. I would not recommend what i have done to younger people people but anyone as desperate as I was who can say I will never get into debt again. Go for it.
    DHP were very good , not least in their confidence,
    My one pearl of wisdom is recognise that you're not dealing with individuals, the Money Machine must lend to you to make more money.
    That is its weakness, yours is to be fool enough to borrow .
    MSE helped by outlining the different approaches to dealing with
    debt and the wannabe forum was helpful to show I was not alone though I saw negative postings about DHP that discouraged me from any DFW debt diary.
    Last edited by sam-andira; 16-03-2017 at 9:19 PM. Reason: correction
    • nellis10
    • By nellis10 24th Mar 17, 4:12 PM
    • 1,320 Posts
    • 3,083 Thanks
    Light bulb moment

    March 2014

    Debt at highest

    £12,000 (Divorce Loan)

    Debt free

    March 2017

    One pearl of wisdom

    Give yourself a break! Rome wasn't built in a day and you will go up and down as life dictates. But have a goal and a focus and use a tool!! I used YNAB and it's the best thing I ever did to get free! It focused my mind and let me see exactly where I was spending money! I also started to budget for yearly or adhoc payments and it makes it so much easier to make a payment when the money has been built up over the year, rather than having to find it a particular month.

    Thank you to everyone in MSE since 2006 who have guided, advised and inspired me!
    Last edited by nellis10; 29-03-2017 at 11:41 AM. Reason: typos
    Baby Step 1 = £1000 EF
    Baby Step 2= Debt Free by Apr 2017
    Baby Step 3 = Full EF £650/£8000
    Mortgage Free by 2023!!
    • Bumblebear
    • By Bumblebear 28th Mar 17, 8:20 PM
    • 98 Posts
    • 453 Thanks
    a. The date of your lightbulb moment
    I would say I've had multiple, as my debts have gone up and down over the last ten years - but I've never zero'd my balances, so I think the previous ones were false alarms. But this one was September 2016, and I think the light is actually on this time!
    b. Debts at their highest
    A few years ago now, £7k on credit cards
    c. Debt-Free Date
    28 March 2017
    d. Your one pearl of wisdom
    Understand why you are where you are. What did you spend the money on that you didn't have; and why.
    e. Links to the MSE guides that helped you
    MSE energy club is a good one, but any time I've needed to spend a penny (not as in the old saying!), I've consulted MSE guides and news first
    f. Which forum threads helped you
    DFW, not posted a huge amount but have taken strength from others in my position - we're British and don't talk about debt, so even though I'm sure I know people with debt, I don't know it! I made the final push this year on "pay off all your debt by Christmas" - a thank you to muppets for hosting! I also enjoy Old Style, following a couple of top tips a week on there saves a few quid here and there, and now I've paid off the CC a month early
    g. And if you had a debt diary on the Debt-Free Wannabe board (DFW), a link to it
    Nope, only signed up here to post this year
    Debt free as of 28/03/2017 (just don't ask about the mortgage )
    Lover of sewing and biscuits, hater of traffic jams and credit cards
    3-6 Month Emergency Fund Challenge #78 £0/£5,670
    • mailmannz
    • By mailmannz 30th Mar 17, 3:38 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 176 Thanks
    Light bulb moment

    March 2016 - realised the only way out if debt was to dispose if the only asset I had that could help, my house!

    Debt at highest

    £40,000+ on credit cards and loans (excluding a £50k second charge on my house that was the initial deposit for the house).

    Debt free

    March 2017

    One pearl of wisdom

    dont fool yourself about being in control!!! Plus everything said by everyone in this forum.

    It was only shear good luck that I had a way out of debt!!


    • sarahb7538
    • By sarahb7538 30th Mar 17, 4:11 PM
    • 131 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    I can't quite believe that I'm writing this. It has seemed so far away for so long.

    Light bulb moment : August 2009 , I was in a dire situation and had no assets. The only option I had was to enter a DMP with Step Change, this started in October 2009.

    Debt at highest : £21,750 on credit cards, store cards and an unsecured loan.

    Debt free date : 20th March 2017

    Pearl of wisdom : Debt is not the end of the world, but you need to face up to it and the sooner you can do that the better. Use a free debt charity like Step Change and never feel ashamed of your situation. You are not the first and you won't be the last. Use the advise on this forum it's invaluable.

    Good luck to anyone still on their Debt fee journey.
    LBM 11.07.09. [/B]DMP Start Date : 01.10.09. Initial DFD : 2023. Debt £21750 March 2017 - DEBT FREE!!! !!!128513;!!!128513;!!!128513;
    On a mission to repair my credit rating & own my own home
    • PC2016
    • By PC2016 4th Apr 17, 1:28 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Free at last
    Light bulb moment - January 2010

    Highest debt level - £10,000

    Free at last 2017

    Wisdom to share - Debt Relief Orders is a good place to start it worked for me, just remember it will be hard or near impossible to get any sort of credit for 6 years and in a good way it helps you to plan & budget the income you have. (and I did not have much after my hours of work were cut) Over this period I should note I did not even attempt to get credit however I did think of joining the credit union - I have just got my first credit card in 6 years with a £200 limit to build up my credit score and for emergencies I spent £14.00 on it and cleared the balance in full on the first statement and it felt good lol

    MSE help - I did most of the ground work for my DRO myself, before I joined MSE and completed it with the National Debt Line - MSE helped by joining the energy club to save money on bills, the weekly email to find savings if needed and the credit club for the free credit score/report (Thanks MSE)

    Now me and my partner are a little better off than we ever have been even though I was diagnosed with a life long illness just 2 years ago, I am now self employed working just a little every week cleaning windows and my partner works full time and very hard.

    Savings - £1500
    Bills - all paid on time and some even in credit (keep your bills as low as poss)
    Small bus trip holiday paid for in August
    And one night sleep over in Sheffield this week to see Russell Howard

    You can be debt free it just takes time!!!
    • misfire
    • By misfire 4th Apr 17, 7:15 PM
    • 499 Posts
    • 756 Thanks
    Real Light Bulb moment (had a few false starts) August 15.

    Highest Debt - £1,000
    I know this may not seem much compared to some but it was huge compared to my situation.

    Debt Fee - MAY 2016 **BUT** I am only posting now as i have been debt free for a short time before but always fall back into the cycle. I knew if I could get one year debt free then I had broken that Cycle - its been more than that but this is the first time I feel confident posting.

    Wisdom :-

    1. MSE MSE MSE MSE - without people here I would still be in a huge mess. Your support and amazing stories, openness and honesty kept me going. One person who posted got my situation summed up perfectly - I didn't appreciate it at the time but they were right.... They said I had no contingency and that is what kept tripping me up and I needed to plan for emergencies and not bury my head in the sand.... They were 100% right and although I don't remember their user name I am utterly thankful for their honest opinion.

    2. I use Lloyds bank save the change and have done Daily Payment Challenge on here - both are utterly brilliant (thank you payment a day chapter 16).

    3. Loose the Snob factor - I am not a huge brand person ... but wouldn't dream of shopping in Aldi or Lidl..... well I am now a dedicated Aldi shopper and it has saved me so much money and 99% of their stuff I love.

    I still fear slipping into bad habits, if I feel like that I just come on here and read the forums for a bit and then I realise I CAN. I don't post as much as I used to due mainly to using my kindle - which I really can't type on - to view but for me reading the forums really helps.

    I have typed this out so many times but not been brave enough to post but this time I am ... I think.... :-)
    Debt is gone - weight is next. I will be a skinny money saver at some point :-)
    • CocteauTwin
    • By CocteauTwin 14th Apr 17, 11:12 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 21 Thanks
    Light Bulb Moment

    2012 Paying £700 to a variety Credit Cards pcm and watching Debt rise! Entered into an IVA

    Highest Debt: 13'000 + interest

    Debt Free:

    March 2017


    Get your budget sorted straight away! You will be amazed at the savings you can make.

    Be patient: it feels like the debt will never ever end. But it does and afterwards you will feel like a new person.

    Use Cash: living without credit for 5 years will force many to use hard cash. I never did before but using cash helps make better financial decisions.

    Good luck to all those getting their debts sorted !!!11088;!!!65039;
    • black taxi
    • By black taxi 15th Apr 17, 12:23 PM
    • 1,809 Posts
    • 6,329 Thanks
    black taxi

    another help - gradually build up bank balance,give the best rates

    eventualy the bank will be paying you for account
    £48515 interest £181 (2009)debt/mortgage-MFIT/T2/T3
    debt/mortgage free 28/11/14
    vanguard shares index isa £1000
    credit union £400
    emergency fund£500
    #81 save 2018£4200
    • farazakbar25
    • By farazakbar25 24th May 17, 2:30 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    RBS Personal Loans £16,134 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    RBS Credit Cards £6,789 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    RBS Current Accounts Bank Account £420 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    BARCLAYS BANK £3,249 Link Financial Credit Card

    i have the above debt, not sure what to do, should i pay in full or part settle,
    what is best for my credit, i have DEFAULTS on all 4 creditors which the defaults expire by end of 2018

    any suggestions ???
    • farazakbar25
    • By farazakbar25 24th May 17, 2:33 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    RBS Personal Loans £16,134 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    RBS Credit Cards £6,789 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    RBS Current Accounts Bank Account £420 WESTCOTT CREDIT
    BARCLAYS BANK £3,249 Link Financial Credit Card

    i have the above debt, not sure what to do, should i pay in full or part settle,
    what is best for my credit, i have DEFAULTS on all 4 creditors which the defaults expire by end of 2018

    i have an arrangement to pay £5.00 pm to each creditors

    any suggestions ???
    • lazer-zxr
    • By lazer-zxr 25th May 17, 7:13 AM
    • 399 Posts
    • 460 Thanks
    Light bulb moment: Feb 2015

    Debt at highest: £59,353

    Debt free: May 2017

    One pearl of wisdom: Push everything to the extreme. Become obsessive. Cut regular bills to the minimum, get every penny of free money (switching bank accounts), maximise use of ebay. When you think you've done everything, revisit each of the above, revisit your bills, revisit what you can sell, and look for more free money (matched betting).
    Last edited by lazer-zxr; 25-05-2017 at 8:13 AM.
    • grannybiker
    • By grannybiker 29th May 17, 8:36 PM
    • 10,755 Posts
    • 1,025,470 Thanks
    Switched to an off-set mortgage when we were both working full time.
    This meant we repaid it a full 3 years early

    Thrifty living has meant we're now debt & mortgage free so I don't have to work and Mr GB only needs to do 3 days a week. Life is for living
    Worse things will have happened in the world today...
    "The only thing that really matters, it to love and to be loved."
    • sallymander
    • By sallymander 5th Jun 17, 9:07 PM
    • 277 Posts
    • 994 Thanks
    Hi all,

    After going quiet for a while i can now report that i am debt free, Woohoo,

    So.... my lightbulb moment was January 2009.

    My debts were £30k st their highest

    And i was finally debt free on 26.5.17.

    My pearl of wisdom if you can call it that is to keep going, it took me longer than i anticipated to pay it off (8yrs 4mths rather than 6yrs 10mths) because life doesnt always go to plan, but every step in the right direction will help.

    The debt free wannabe boards were so helpful and everyone was supportive and friendly.

    I also involved my OH and although i wouldnt let him pay any off for me (stubborn like that!) we did clear out the loft amd ebay together.

    Now im determined to pay off the mortgage early so we can retire early!

    Good luck and stay strong to anyone still on their debt free journey.
    Official DFW Nerd Club No. 1150 - Long Haul Supporters Club No 186 - Debt free 26.5.17
    Proud to have dealt with my debts
    • Anna9733
    • By Anna9733 6th Jun 17, 6:52 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Well done! We are technically debt free after just paying off last 2 debts on credit files! YAY!! I say 'technically' as we have statute barred debt and one we're arguing legally as they told us wrong balance and we could have paid it off (it's complicated but if they pursue it further we have 2 counts of misconduct on their part, so I ain't paying it!).... You are all amazing and inspirational x
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