JLP at All Financial Matters recently shared the story of how he got out of credit card debt. It’s not exciting or glamorous, but then paying off debt never is.

We paid off our last two credit cards nearly a year ago. It was an amazing feeling to write those two final checks. Our debt came mostly while we were in college. We also stupidly charged up stuff right after college. Most of our debt came from over-indulging. Now our only remaining debt outside of our home is our car and a furniture purchase, and both of those will be paid off in June.

JLP did this by:

  • Taking advantage of 0% interest offers, which allowed every penny paid on the debt to go to principal.
  • Paying his bills on time.
  • Paying more than the minimum due.
  • Most importantly, not using the credit cards to acquire more debt. “Nothing will make you feel more helpless than to get your credit card bill and notice that you charged more than you paid over the last month.”

Matildaben, who previously shared her story about buying a part at the junkyard, dropped me a line the other day to say, “I paid off my car loan today!”

I got my paycheck auto-deposit notice this morning in my email, and as I usually do, I went straight to Quicken and my online accounts to make payments to the things that need paying to. My car payment is about $219 a month (the loan is from the credit union, the original cost was $5,000, which I spread out over 24 months). The amount left on the loan was about $450.

Usually I put the part of my paycheck that gets split into my credit union account right into savings, but I noticed that the interest rate on the loan was about 4 percent and change, and the interest I was earning on savings was under 2 percent. So I paid off the balance of the car loan with a quick online transfer. The difference in interest rates is only a few bucks, but now I get the psychological satisfaction of knowing my car is paid off!

I think these two stories are awesome. These are the sort of small psychological triumphs that getting rich slowly is all about.

For myself, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal is to have all of my non-mortgage debt paid by the time I turn 39 in 396 days. (I’d really like to pay it off by the end of this year, but I recognize that’s a very ambitious plan.) When I finally do get my debt paid off, I’ll have to throw some sort of “debt elimination” party. (Maybe a first-ever Portland-area GRS “frugal fest”?)

If you have a getting-out of-debt-story, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or to drop me a line. It’s inspirational stories like these that keep me motivated!

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