One Of the Greatest Days of My Life.

Today is a really big day for me. I can’t even begin to tell a person how I really feel right now. I have literally been looking forward to this day for a decade. Unfortunately, now that it’s finally here, all I can do is blog about it because Tobyjoe is at the Big Nerd Ranch in Georgia. Plus, I don’t feel well enough to celebrate and it’s too cold outside to go shopping and buy myself something pretty. I’ll outgrow that something pretty in no time anyway. But, man! Do I ever want to take y’all out for donuts.

I used to joke with Tobyjoe. I’d say, “When I finally reach that day, I’m going to rent out a bar and throw a 10 thousand dollar party! No! I am going to send both of us to India, Sri Lanka, and then Spain. We’ll eat fish along the Mediterranean; watch the sunset over Taj Mahal. We’ll dip our feet into the Indian Ocean. We’ll sip the finest wine you’ve ever had.”

Here’s the skinny. I have owed money to various credit cards since I graduated from college. The amount I owed was never outrageous, like, I never owed close to the maximum on each card, but it was unruly and scary. Part of the reason that I held onto jobs for so long, jobs that I didn’t want, jobs that made me unhappy, was because of said debt. And I came up with all sorts of conspiracy theories about how credit card companies keep the man working, unhappy, and enslaved. And for me that was true. (Granted, now the pregnancy is what keeps us working. But that’s a good thing. That’s not like owing a massive corporation a bunch of money.)

Over the years, I would pay the amounts down to something manageable and then BAM! buy myself a trip to Mystic for a much needed weekend away. I would buy Tobyjoe an iPod because he made me smile. We would move across the country and then back again 6 months later. I just wanted to be happy. But the happiness I was buying – the temporary sanity – came back to haunt me every time.

About a year ago my husband told me to stop paying rent and instead start dumping every cent I possibly could into my debt. I got rid of one of the cards within three months and the other one loomed over me like some tyrannical ruler. Slowly but surely I watched its total go down. Each time I gave them money I felt like I was winning and they were losing.

Of course the entire time I was diligently paying it off, they were raising my maximum to numbers so high, I could have bought a car. And not some shitty American made car, but a really fancy European one. It was insane. The amount they have vowed to give me could be a down payment on a house (with an astronomically high interest rate). I almost hate them for doing this to people. Although, I guess they don’t raise a maximum that high for those who aren’t good clients. I am a good client, no, I am a great client, which is why they owned me for a while.

Yesterday I gave MBNA (now Bank of America) a check for 2,500 bucks, paying it off entirely. That amount goes through today. Amid all this pregnancy sickness, I feel wonderful. As of today, February 5, 2007, I am 100% debt free. That means I owe not another cent to another credit card company. I owe not another cent toward any loans. I owe nothing to anyone. I am free. I am finally, finally free.


  1. That is so exciting. congratulations.

    I am envious…


  2. “And I came up with all sorts of conspiracy theories about how credit card companies keep the man working, unhappy, and enslaved. And for me that was true. “

    Not a conspiracy theory—thats pretty much the point of that entire industry.

    Congrats on getting out !


  3. You are my hero! I have always wanted to be that person who says “I have no regrets” and mean it (except sometimes those people are also really annoying) but when it comes to the credit cards, damn, I regret them. I think of all the crap I bought and never needed and where that crap is now—it’s gone. The credit card bills? Still hanging around. So, yay! Enjoy the freedom…


  4. You know, I really don’t have anything to show for all that debt. You bring up a good point, Kate. When we looked over the numbers together, we discovered that the majority of the money I owed over the years went to expensive nights out, meals, drinks, you name it. So stupid. Some of the larger transactions were spent on the move out west and then back again, but otherwise, we spent most on crap, total crap.

    One of the cards we paid off a couple of years ago was a card we go after buying my engagement ring. After a year worth of zero interest, they slapped us with all of it. Suddenly, our total went from whatever amount to 300+ dollars more. It was stupid. Never, ever again. Never.

    Now all of my money will go to savings. Not that I have a lot of money coming in these days. hehe


  5. That is so awesome!!!
    Congratulations, Darlin’…huge accomplishment and must be such a relief!
    I didn’t even have a credit card until after I got sober and I had to have my father co-sign on one because I had ‘no credit’ (which is worse than bad credit, apparently).
    I finally got one with a tiny limit. Which was good. I never owed…always paid off what I spent each month and thought I wouldn’t get in debt because I never spent more than I made.
    Ha! Then I got married and went down to a smaller income for two people plus my daughter than I made on my own. I have not been able to get my credit card back down to zero since. It’s not outrageous, but it weighs on me. And of course they keep raising the limit. LOL.
    So proud of you!


  6. credit cards are dangerous, but seem to be an evil that we have to endure. most of my friends don’t understand how they work and can’t buy a house because of their “lack of a credit rating.” congats on paying them off, i know how hard that is!!!! but take my advice and use your credit card every month and pay it off every month. do not cut them up like most people like to say they are going to do. just remember, it’s not the credit card’s fault. just make sure you pay the bill every month…..that makes for a good credit rating in the lender’s eyes and the score is their construct. debt is good in their eyes because that’s how they make their money. having a zero balance is “not good” for your credit rating, (it’s good for your well being in the now) but consitent bill paying is better for you in the long run…….when you go to buy a house. it sucks that you have to play their game, but you need to own a house before you completely go off the grid in the world of debt.

    when i bought my house i owed 8 grand to credit cards but my credit was outstanding, i had borrowing power up to 30 thousand…..because of that, i was able to buy a house and get a loan that paid me 103% of the sale price. i didn’t need 10-15% down like people without good credit need to get a loan. i bought a house with only 1500 cash and that was it.

    so my recipe for good credit is, keep all the cards you had when you were in debt, don’t close any once they’re paid down, let them hover around 50-100 bucks, pay slightly more than the minimum each month and purchase something small or stupid once a month to keep them activated. if you owe zero and don’t use the card for several months, they’ll cancel your account and that is a strike against you on your credit rating, why? well, the rating system sees that you were canced, it doesn’t care that you had a zero balance, just that you were canceled, the damn things screw you at every chance they get. coming and going, not paying and paying off. the key is to use their game to your advantage!

    i’m proud of you for paying those bastards off!!!! it feels so good!


  7. That is terrific news.

    We live debt free, well until we bought our first house this week.

    We were able to get a mortgage without jobs in the country because we had good credit ratings. It’s amazing what the banks know about us.



  8. I don’t think we’ll have trouble getting cleared for a loan to buy a house, which is our next big call to action. (We’re hoping to own within 1.5 years. Have to get a downpayment saved, etc.) My credit is outsanding as far as I know. Recently, I looked to get a loan to go to culinary school (you might remember that, I also got blasted for it by some asshole on here). I got cleared for an obscene amount of money in no time at all by Wachovia. I was shocked by how much they were willing to give me to go back to school. I had the lowest interest rate as well. It was a nice thing to hear but I have to admit, the idea of going back into debt, and have it triple, wasn’t something I wanted to do back then. I was about 4 grand away from paying everything off and here I was toying with the idea of going back to school and putting another 30+ grand on my shoulders. It scared the shit out of me.

    I also ate the cost for the marathon I didn’t run, something I took on before letting my body tell me if I could or not. It was too soon. And I ate about 900 bucks of that pledge. (To all those who donated to me, I thank you so much. I can’t even begin to thank you enough. And to this day I feel as though I let people down.)

    Anyway, every time I thought I was getting closer to being debt free, I went ahead and did something stupid, like pledge thousands for a marathon, or buy a camera. It was dumb. I was dumb. I think I’m all better now.

    I’m not sure why I’m rambling so much. I guess a flood gate opened with this new debt free day. I am thinking about all the things I didn’t do (and did) because of credit and debt. It’s a scary thing.

    Anyway, here’s to our future baby’s education, our future house in the burb (where we can afford it), our future hybrid car, etc, etc.


  9. That is awesome. Congratulations!


  10. Oh, and by the way! Congratulations, Meghan! on the new digs! That’s exciting news. ANother post like this one will take place on that day when it hopefully happens to us. :]


  11. Congratulations!! That is a mile stone that anyone is glad to mark. I hope you dance sing and all wonderful things that go with being DEBT FREEEEEE la la la!!!!


  12. Could have happened months ago if you’d eaten the entire bowl of sugar cubes at Paloma.


  13. keith, you crack me up. I totally forgot about that.


  14. Man, I know how good this feels.
    I paid off my mortgage in 2000. It felt like I’d escaped over the border in the night and was now in the land of the debt free. I’d try and get my head around it, worry that I’d forgotten a payment or missed some small print. It’s a good day when you know you don’t owe them shit.

    The future’s bright, Michele. You might want to buy some shades (with cash).



  15. shannan also recently paid off her credit cards.

    but i hear she wants to buy a bag, so i’m not sure what will happen.


  16. Hurray, hurray, hurray!!

    It’s the best feeling ever.


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