Last April I started taking control of my money. Without accounting for raises, windfalls, etc. I would be out of credit card debt by August 1 this year, and out of debt entirely by May 2011.
I graduated from Culinary School on Saturday, and had a graduation party Sunday that I paid for mostly in cash (I did put a little on my credit card while I waited for money to switch accounts). I put the cash gifts into my account today, paid off what I had put on one card for my party, and then paid off the final card that I'd been paying down for the last couple months.
As of tomorrow, I am out of credit card debt. WOO HOOO!!!!!! 2 and a half months early!!
So the money I'd been paying down that debt with starts going to a personal loan that pays off my laptop in 6 months. My one $3300 student loan starts payments in July, and I've decided to make double payments on it (rather than the quadruple that would fit into my debt snowball) in order to build some healthy credit. The extra money from the snowball will be headed into a Roth IRA starting this summer, as well as anything I may get from a raise at my 6-month review in 2 weeks.
My family is proud of me, and I'm proud of myself. 3 years ago I was living in abject poverty, failing to make ends meet, in an abusive relationship, with no career and no goals. Now I have a degree, a career doing something I love and for which I have talent, a job in my field at a highly respectable company, an emergency fund, a healthy relationship with myself and my new partner, and I'm out of consumer debt.
It took every ounce of strength that I had an more to get myself to this point. Daily reminders from personal finance blogs about keeping an eye on my goals, strategizing and re-configuring to make things work. SO WORTH IT!!!!!
New goal: Lose 25lbs by the end of summer. Just got my bike fixed (now that I can afford to do things like that!) and I live 2.5 miles from work, so it's time to start riding to work a couple days a week.