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May Debt Goal Update: Auto Loan (I’m Debt Free!)

I thought this day would never get here, but with a lot of hard work and discipline — I DID IT!!! This is my final auto loan debt update. I paid off all my debt!

Previous Balance – $2,069.59

My total debt when I started was almost $14,000 but in November 2011, I started documenting my progress and kicked it up another notch. Since then, I’ve paid off a total of $8,359.77 (including interest) on my car loan.

I'm debt free!


Progress and Payments

This month was really tough, and at one point I almost thought I wouldn’t make my (self-imposed) debt-free deadline. But after working my butt off, while scrimping and saving, I was able to make it.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Semi-monthly double payments – $630
  • Freelance income – $942
  • Income from blogging and selling stuff – $501.98

Extra income total – $1,443.98

Total extra payments – $2,073.98

It’s Been a Long Journey

My journey towards becoming debt-free actually started in September 2009 when I was in a major car crash that totaled my car. I had no savings, was several thousand dollars in credit card debt and was in a home I couldn’t afford.

After my near death auto accident forced me to buy another car (with a car payment), I realized how unprepared I was financially and decided to do something about it.

I sold the house, moved to a new city, built up a mini-emergency fund and started making extra payments on my credit card and auto loan debt.

I wasn’t as committed as I should of been, but in March 2011 I got even more serious. And since then it’s been an uphill downhill climb. Debt Graph

New Loan Balance – $0.00

Getting out of debt SUCKS! It’s painful to send all of your hard earned money to the bank every month and basically have nothing to show for it. I’m so happy to be debt-free but I also never want to go through this process again.

It still hasn’t completely hit me that I no longer have to pay any debt payments. What in the world will I do now?!

Auto loan account balance

On May 29, 2012, I — Carrie Smith — am officially DEBT FREE!!!

Monthly Progress Report: Mothers and Fathers Edition
The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards
About the author: Carrie Smith is a financial writer, business consultant, and freelance coach. After paying off $14,000 of debt and quitting her full-time accounting job, she launched Careful Cents to help other creative freelancers overcome financial mountains. She works one-on-one with side hustlers and go-getters who are ready to make a profit without selling out. When she’s not writing about finance, and geeking out over numbers, she enjoys painting, sketching, and making food with her chef husband. You can connect with her in real time on Twitter or Instagram: @carefulcents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John @MarriedWithDebt May 29, 2012, 9:09 am

    Congratulations! This is excellent news. What a great way to end the month. I’m two months behind you. Wait until you get the title in the mail, that’s a fun day!

    • Carrie Smith May 29, 2012, 9:37 am

      Thank you! I can’t wait till I get the car title and can hold it in my hands. It will be a crazy feeling I’m sure.

  • Shannyn May 29, 2012, 9:34 am

    Woo hoo!  Sending you a major high five, that is great news!  You are such an inspiration!

  • Kendal May 29, 2012, 9:37 am

    Woohoo! Congratulations on a job well done. :)

  • Guest May 29, 2012, 11:48 am

    Congrats, that is awesome – can’t wait to be in your shoes! Thanks for being a great inspiration and motivator!

    • Carrie Smith June 3, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Thank YOU for being here to encourage and support me! I definitely couldn’t have done it without this wonderful community of readers.

  • Michelle May 29, 2012, 12:22 pm


  • Shannon_ReadyForZero May 29, 2012, 12:50 pm

    Congratulations on being debt free!  What an amazing accomplishment!

  • TacklingOurDebt May 29, 2012, 1:21 pm

    That is sooo very exciting Carrie! Congratulations! What will you do with all that extra money each month now that you don’t have debt to pay off??

    • Carrie Smith May 29, 2012, 10:26 pm

      Thank you! That’s a good question…I’ve been thinking it over and have started working on my next game plan.

  • Jessica May 29, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Congratulations Carrie!!! That’s awesome!! You are very inspiring!! Wow!

    • Carrie Smith June 3, 2012, 1:11 pm

      Thanks @DebtPrincess:disqus I appreciate you encouraging me along the way. :)

  • Amanda Abella May 29, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Yay! Congrats!!! 

  • Brent Pittman May 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

    congrats! Let the summer of saving and investing begin! 

    • Carrie Smith May 29, 2012, 10:26 pm

      Oh I love the sound of that :) and Thank you!

  • Megan Z Taylor May 29, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Congratulations! That is so incredibly awesome and an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Aaron May 29, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Congrats Carrie – feels good huh? Wow – you kicked it if you were 14k in Nov. :)

  • Modest Money May 29, 2012, 4:59 pm

    Congrats on kicking that debt’s ass Carrie!  Paying off $14k in a little over a year is awesome.  Now is the time to break out the credit card and party it up!  I kid…I’m sure you’ll do what you can do avoid debt for a while after making it through this.

    • Carrie Smith May 29, 2012, 10:25 pm

      Thank you so much and I have absolutely no plans of getting back into debt!

  • The College Investor May 29, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Congrats on getting out of debt!  Way to go quickly paying off the car loan!

  • Julie May 29, 2012, 9:07 pm

    That is awesome!  Congrats :)

  • Deborah @ImpulseSave May 29, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Yay! Yay! That’s so amazing! What a great feeling! Now you can put that money towards something fun! Or save it for something big! Or just do whatever YOU want :)

    • Carrie Smith May 29, 2012, 10:27 pm

      My thoughts exactly! It’s nice NOT having a plan for once :)

  • Robb May 29, 2012, 10:39 pm

    Congratulations! Welcome to the no car payment club. :)
    Be sure to take some time to savor this victory, it was well earned!

  • Steve Stewart May 29, 2012, 11:15 pm

    You rock Girl! Your hard work and diligence have paid huge dividends! Next month you can increase your Target budget without having to worry.

  • Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living May 30, 2012, 8:15 am

    Congratulations, Carrie. I’m so proud of you and excited for your future! This day for you was a turning point in my life. Don’t lose your momentum. Keep putting that money away, only in savings and eventually investments and you won’t believe how fast it will build up!

    • Carrie Smith May 30, 2012, 8:53 am

      Thanks Kraig! It’s very tempting to take a break and to start spending money again, but I’m holding strong. I plan to keep saving and working towards maxing out my Roth IRA.

  • Jason May 30, 2012, 8:25 am

    So awesome that you got it knocked out! Congratulations!!!

    It’s fun to watch the personal journeys throughout the PF bloggers community. 

  • Ryan Hardy May 30, 2012, 9:18 am

    Paying off $14,000 in a little over a year? That’s amazing. Congratulations!

    • Carrie Smith June 3, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Thank you @twitter-76434845:disqus It took a lot of hard work and discipline but in the end, it was worth it.

  • Broke Gal NYC May 30, 2012, 11:40 am

    You are a superstar! You should be so proud of all your hard work, and think of all the fun things you can save or buy now that you’re debt free. Congrats!

    • Carrie Smith May 30, 2012, 12:13 pm

      Thank you so much! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store, I’m so excited :)

  • Kaye May 30, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Hooray!  A huge congratulations to you!

  • AverageJoe May 30, 2012, 3:45 pm

    Check out how steep the slope got when you reached a point you thought it was within your grasp. Awesome job.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life May 31, 2012, 12:29 pm

    Wow that’s amazing! I hope to be in your shoes in a few years, totally debt free! (It’ll be my car that gets paid off last too of all my debts). I hope you have some kind of big celebration planned!

    • Carrie Smith June 3, 2012, 1:09 pm

      I do have a few little celebrations planned, mostly things I’ve been denying myself of for the past year. Lol. Like going shopping and eating out. 

  • Benjamin Feldman May 31, 2012, 4:05 pm

    I just read this now, and I’m so excited for you. Great job, Carrie! Let us know what your next goal will be!

  • Long Pham June 1, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Congratulations Carrie! I can’t wait until I can feel what it’s like to be in your shoes.

    • Carrie Smith June 3, 2012, 1:08 pm

      Thank you very much!

  • Jeffrey Trull June 11, 2012, 10:30 am

    Congrats, Carrie! This is so awesome!