One Year Of Being Credit Card Debt Free!

It is a day for a nice celebration for me.  That’s right.  Yes, I understand that it is Monday and there are not too many celebrating when it is the beginning of the work week, but I am celebrating.  Do you want to know why?  Well, let me tell you.

no credit card debtOne Year Ago…..

One year ago today, I made the last large payment on my credit card debt.  I sucked up the pressure and dropped the last $1,600 on my debt that was fighting me for close to four years.  When I clicked that authorize button, I wouldn’t have realized that my life would change.  My fight with debt was long and difficult at times, but there was the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was at the end of the tunnel and basking in the light, finally!

My debt fight began when I used my first credit card in college.  While I would have never known that my issue would have multiplied to over $50,000 worth of overspending and overindulging, I am actually glad for the journey.  There are  not too many people that would say that they were happy to be in a debt journey.  I wasn’t happy that I was in debt or had to pay it all off, but I was happy of how I handled the situation.

Once I finally came to grips to my spending issues, I was able to make a plan of attack.  I knew I had a long uphill battle ahead of me, but I didn’t care.  I didn’t want to be owned by the credit card companies.  I wanted to enjoy the money that I worked hard for and wanted to start working on my hobbies.  I pushed each and every month to pay off as much money as I could along with making more money.  I took a side job to generate more income along with some online freelancing that brought some random money in.  In the four years I learned a lot about my money habits and how to change them.  If you want to learn more about my four years, then check out how I paid off my $50,000 worth of debt.  With my tactics, I was able to keep my credit score high.  I never missed one payment, because I didn’t want to damage my credit and pay high interest rates.  It would have been more of a struggle if I had to go through the credit repair process, which I know quite a few people that have gone through.  Keeping my credit clean was extremely helpful and one tip that I pass onto others whenever I can.

I wasn’t a saver before I got into debt.  I thought I was, but I was no where close to being a saver.  As I went through my debt journey, I realized what I was doing wrong and wanted to get into saving.  I know that savers usually get punished with poor interest rates, but it is more about the mentality than the amount of money I make.  I needed to get the saving mentality before I worried about making money with my money.  One step at a time.  I created my own saving and debt payoff percentage rule that worked very well for me.  It also set me up for success after I paid of my last credit card.

I started Debt Roundup about a month after I paid off my last credit card because I wanted to share my journey and results.  I knew that there were many other people going through the same thing that I did, so I wanted to help.  Debt can keep you down in the dumps and there is nothing fun about it.  I set out to provide tips and tricks along with life lessons.  I think I have done what I set out to do, but there is much more to do and I plan to keep rolling along.

The Next Year

There have been a lot of things that have happened since I paid off my last credit card.  I actually started only using credit cards for all of my purchases.  Yes, that is right.  I use my American Express blue cash preferred credit card for all of my purchases.  Why?  I know understand the power of rewards and using this one credit card has made my budgeting so much easier.  I can tell where everything is going along with having the security of a credit card.

My son was born in December and there is no doubt that has changed my life in a big way.  I know have to worry about him and my wife more than ever. I have to set them up for success.  I opened a 529 account for his college education.  I am looking into getting more life insurance and my wife and I are working on our will.

This next  year has a lot more in store.  We plan on moving to another home in the same city that is closer to our work and our family.  This is a big decision that has been in the works for a few years.  I want to invest my money in more things.  I want to learn more about dividends and investment accounts.  I am looking into more passive income strategies and I want to build my freelancing business some more.  I have had it for years, but now I have a fire under me to grow it.  We want to travel more, but responsibly and continue to maximize our rewards.  I also want to review all of our services and see if we can save money here and there.

I want to thank all of those that have given me advice over the past hear.  Your knowledge and simple advice has really changed my financial lifestyle.  I know feel confident that I will be better off in my future and will be able to provide for my family.  I hope those that are still in debt continue their fight and push through the troubling times.  There is a nice light at the end of the debt tunnel and there is no words that can explain what it feels like to be on the other side.

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy. You can also check out Eyes on the Dollar, which is a great blog that I co-own.


  1. July 29, 2013 at 6:30 am — Reply

    Great work mate, it is always good to celebrate the financial success stories you have had throughout your life. I personally find it helps to keep me motivated.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm — Reply

      Thank you Glen and I agree with you.

  2. July 29, 2013 at 7:02 am — Reply

    Great work & congrats Grayson! It’s an awesome feeling to look back and see what you did, isn’t it? Like Glen said, it’s important to celebrate those successes – for a variety of reasons. Keep up the great work sir!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm — Reply

      Much appreciated John. I think celebrating the milestones and successes are extremely important.

  3. July 29, 2013 at 7:11 am — Reply

    Congrats on the one year debt paydown anniversary! Like I’ve said in the past, your story is inspiring. Looks like you have a lot of hopes for the next year, and I hope you can achieve them. I think you will easily be able to travel more as well as save money in unexpected places. When you do, be sure to share!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm — Reply

      Thanks DC. I am glad you enjoy my story. I am aiming high for this next year, but I did that on purpose.

  4. July 29, 2013 at 7:54 am — Reply

    You go, Grayson!

    Great job getting out and staying out of debt!

  5. July 29, 2013 at 8:01 am — Reply

    Happy…debtfreeversary? How do you call this things? Well, happy 1 year and good job staying out of it!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm — Reply

      I guess we can call it that Pauline. I appreciate the kind words.

  6. July 29, 2013 at 8:37 am — Reply

    HUGE congrats, Grayson!!!! We are SO happy for you, and looking forward to our own debtfreeiversary some day. 🙂

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm — Reply

      Thank you Laurie. I appreciate it. I am looking forward to reading about yours one day.

  7. July 29, 2013 at 8:42 am — Reply

    Congrats Grayson! Your story is incredibly inspiring and I’m sure helps a lot of people feel like they can make the same kinds of improvements.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm — Reply

      Thank you Matt. I hope my story inspires some. That was the intention of this blog.

  8. July 29, 2013 at 8:46 am — Reply

    This is awesome Grayson! From reading here the past year I know you have come a long way. Congrats on a year of credit card debt freedom!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm — Reply

      I appreciate your kind words Brian. I definitely have come a long way and I have a long way to go.

  9. Chris Holdheide (@StumbleForward)
    July 29, 2013 at 9:48 am — Reply

    Congrats on paying the cards off and staying that way for a year. I can totally understand why using your cards to do everything will boost up your rewards. I have one for gas rewards since gas is one of the biggest commodities my wife and I use.

    Paying off $50,000 in credit card debt is awesome and that is no small goal to accomplish and I can’t wait to hear how far you’ve progressed in a year from now.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm — Reply

      Thank you Chris. There are many that are afraid of their credit cards after being in debt, but I want to use them to my advantage.

  10. July 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Congrats Grayson! You are doing great 🙂

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm — Reply

      Thank you Michelle!

  11. Jake @ Common Cents Wealth
    July 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    Awesome job, Grayson! It sounds like the last year has been a whirlwind for you with all good things. I just become debt free a few months ago, so I know exactly what you’re feeling. Hopefully the next year is as good as the last!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm — Reply

      Thanks Jake and congrats on hitting the debt freedom a few months ago. There are a lot of things to look forward to in the next year.

  12. July 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    Congratulations on your 1-year debt-free anniversary! What a journey it has been for you. While in the moment, they are never fun – we do seem to learn the most from our mistakes. It’s great that you’ve been able to take care of your debt and reframe your money mindset at such a young age. It will serve you and your family well.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm — Reply

      Your words are inspiring Shannon, as usual. I am glad that I have turned my life around before I had a child and now I look forward to growing my net worth.

  13. July 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm — Reply

    Congratulations on making it this far in your journey!
    Keep it up 🙂

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm — Reply

      Thank you Anne. My journey will continue and I have many things that I want to accomplish.

  14. July 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    Way to be an example to your readers. Congrats!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm — Reply

      I try to be Deacon. I appreciate the comment.

  15. July 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm — Reply

    Congratulations! One point that stood out was when you said you thought you were a saver but you really weren’t. It’s amazing how we can look back and see where we went wrong and how easy it would have been to save a bit more “if only” we did this or that. Before I used to budget we thought we were savers as well, we were but not nearly as much as we could have been. Well done mate.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm — Reply

      It is crazy to look back and see what I do now. I thought I was great with my money, but I was just ignoring my spending problem. I was terrible with money, but now I am working on changing that.

  16. July 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm — Reply

    Very nice – Happy Anniversary! I’m impressed you remember this date…

    “I know that savers usually get punished with poor interest rates, but it is more about the mentality than the amount of money I make.”

    You nailed it with the above quote. It’s not about the interest rate. In fact, the interest rate is irrelevant for most. There are numerous other reasons to save.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm — Reply

      Thanks. I remember milestones such as these.

      Many people think that you should only save when you can make money, but when you have been in debt, saving has a totally different purpose. It changes the way you think about money.

  17. July 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm — Reply

    We are about 8 months out of credit card debt, and I will always remember that date as well. It was the day we took our lives back. Congratulations on your one year of being free. I totally know the feeling.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm — Reply

      Congrats to you Kim. I will always remember the date as well for the same reason. When you take back your life from the mistakes you made, it feels good.

  18. July 30, 2013 at 6:51 am — Reply

    I’m sure you must be feeling great after paying of your credit card bills. The decision of saving is always good, it gives you the cushion to tackle any emergencies.

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm — Reply

      I appreciate your comment Sachin.

  19. July 30, 2013 at 7:09 am — Reply

    Congrats! I finally paid off my Discover card last year and I should have the final remainder of credit card debt paid off at the end of the year. Heck, as hard as they have been pushing settlment plans, I’d almost have to try to not get it paid!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm — Reply

      Congrats to you Edward. I know you will get it done and that day will feel good.

  20. Girl Meets Debt
    July 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm — Reply

    Congrats on one year being debt-free! Your debt-free story has always been one of my favorites and I know your blog is helping/inspiring many others Grayson!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm — Reply

      Thanks for the kind words GMD. I am glad to hear that my blog is one of your favorites. My goal is to help as many that I can.

  21. July 31, 2013 at 12:41 am — Reply

    This is definitely outstanding achievement and congrats on being debt free for a whole year. I started this journey recently. My debt is only 30k, so I have somewhat better starting point, but it fights back harder 🙂
    Hopefully in next few years I will be able to celebrate debt free time myself too. (I should have never apply for my very first credit card either)…

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm — Reply

      30k is still a challenge and I wish you good luck in your journey. There will be tough moments, but as long as you push through it, you will be better on the other side.

  22. July 31, 2013 at 7:16 am — Reply

    Congratulations, Grayson! Not only have you changed your own life, but you’ve changed your son’s life immeasurably!

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm — Reply

      I appreciate it Brock. My goal was to be credit card debt free before my son was born and I was able to achieve that.

  23. August 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm — Reply

    HUGE congrats Grayson, to you AND your family since I know they played a huge role too!

    • August 6, 2013 at 10:26 am — Reply

      Thank you Catherine. Yes, my family was a huge support and help to me.

  24. Derek | - Money Saving, Making Money, and Investment Ideas
    August 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm — Reply

    Great work! Congratulations!!!!

    Welcome to the club 🙂

    • August 6, 2013 at 10:26 am — Reply

      I do enjoy this club. Thanks Derek.

  25. thepotatohead
    August 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm — Reply

    Congrats again Grayson, that truly was a huge mountain of debt to overcome, and a lot of people would have given up and failed at paying that off. It’s a true testament to your focus and willpower that you were able to do it. I’m celebrating being debt free since may, so almost 3 months. I haven’t used my credit cards since then, they are still locked away in my filing cabinet. Probably not the best strategy in terms of maximizing rewards, but I still don’t trust myself yet with them.

    • August 6, 2013 at 10:27 am — Reply

      Thank you. Congrats to you as well. There are many that don’t trust themselves with their credit cards, but I pushed through that and now that is all that I use. It comes down to the mindset.

  26. August 6, 2013 at 1:57 am — Reply

    Dude, you freakin’ rock. Just wanted to tell you that. 🙂

    • August 6, 2013 at 9:19 am — Reply

      Thank you Jacob. I appreciate the kind words!

  27. August 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm — Reply

    Congrats! Once you pay off your debt, it is so easy to accumulate it again. Keep on with the good news!

    • August 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm — Reply

      I agree that it is easy to go back into your old ways, but I worked during my four years to change my old ways and when I got done paying off my credit card debt, I had a different mentality.

  28. Anonymous
    August 12, 2013 at 10:19 am — Reply

    Well done! I’ve just got the one left to pay off…I’ll get there one day! 😛

  29. October 2, 2013 at 8:54 am — Reply

    Well done. As a man who has been in your situation I understand where you’re coming from. It’s great to know the hard work is worth it.

    • October 2, 2013 at 9:00 am — Reply

      Thank you John. The hard work is certainly worth it.

  30. October 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm — Reply

    Congrats on being debt free for a year plus now! Paying off $50k is nothing to shake a stick at. Great job and keep it up!

    • October 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm — Reply

      Thank you Brent. I appreciate your support.

  31. November 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    Congratulations on a year of being credit card debt free! Your success inspires me to push further so that I too, can write a paid off post. The best part of this post was the part where you talk about setting up your wife and son for success. Powerful words. You will succeed in your goals. Looking forward to reading about that part of your personal finance journey.

    • November 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm — Reply

      Thank you Michelle. I appreciate your support and I know that you will get to write that post soon. Good luck to your in your journey to be debt free!

  32. March 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm — Reply

    Congrats on the credit cards, it can get out of hand.

  33. Samantha Inglis
    December 13, 2014 at 8:24 am — Reply

    Congratulations! you are successfully debt free. Your success inspires us. I salute you in setting up in your minds the success of your family.

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