This guest post from Lindsay is part of the Reader Stories feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.

Thank you for Get Rich Slowly.

I started reading GRS almost five years ago, and it has influenced me to:

Five years ago, I had thousands in credit card debt, and I had never looked at how much I spent each month or devised a budget. I still don’t use a budget, but I check on my spending periodically and make lifestyle changes accordingly. (I only eat out a few times a month and I quit smoking, to name a couple of major money sinks that I have eliminated in reaction to seeing my monthly spending). I also married a saver; good money management was an important quality to me in a future mate.

Five years later, I’m free of consumer debt. I get paid by a credit card (points). I have emergency savings to last six months and an emergency plan, and I save over 25% of my income. I’ve increased my automatic savings with each raise I got over the years, rather than allowing myself the option of lifestyle inflation.

Today is the first payday I have ever experienced where I do not feel like I just squeaked by, and I am not worried about making things stretch until next payday. It’s something I’ve never felt before, and it’s so liberating.

I do have some “good” debt. I have a mortgage (my husband saved up the down payment before our marriage), and I have no intention of paying it off early! We have a transferable 4.75% interest rate, and this is not our “forever home.” While paying off student loans wasn’t a priority while I was trying to become financially stable, I’ve recently begun to snowball them.

Thank you for helping me get to this place. I couldn’t have done it without you.

J.D.’s note: It’s stories like this that keep me going at GRS, even when sometimes I’m ready to move on to something else. Thanks, Lindsay.

Reminder: This is a story from one of your fellow readers. Please be nice. After more than a decade of blogging, I have a thick skin, but it can be scary to put your story out in public for the first time. Remember that this guest author isn’t a professional writer, and is just learning about money like you are. Henceforth, unduly nasty comments on readers stories will be removed or edited.