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...that's the sound of me doing the Snoopy dance...

because as of yesterday, March 31, 2007, I paid my last ever credit card finance charge, and I am now consumer debt-free.

I sat down today and added up how much I actually paid to get these debts erased. It was a little more than the original numbers suggested - aah, the magic of compound interest...

September 30, 3005:
CC debt: $59,000
Auto loan: $34,700

March 31, 2007:
CC debt: $0
Auto loan debt: $0

Amounts actually paid:
CC debt: $66,147.28
Auto loan: $35,368.06
TOTAL PAID in 18 months: $101,515.34

Truth be told, I do not feel very celebratory....I've been trying to figure out why, but I'm still not sure. Maybe because the really big paydowns were done several months ago, so the very end is a bit anticlimactic.

The other reason is that in the process of paying off debt, my outlook and attitude were transformed so that I started regarding it as NORMAL to be without consumer debt, instead of seeing it as the turnaround accomplishment it is. I was in cc debt for almost 4 years before I even STARTED paying it off, so "normal" hasn't been normal for me for very long. But I do intend to keep this mindset forever. I will not ever pay interest on consumer goods again. Period.

I am so immensely grateful to everyone on this board. Thank you for your advice, education, accountability, encouragement, and inspiration. In the 2 years I spent lurking and the 18 months I spent actively posting and paying off debt, I have been consistently amazed by the kindness, honesty, and expertise of the people here. You guys help change lives for the better. What an awesome and rare thing!

Extra-special thank yous to xraymd, aj485, Dr. Booa, Nancy (Windowseat), DeltaOne81, Fuskie, and Debra (vkg) for your incredible funds of knowledge and your willingness to help so many virtual strangers, including me.

I'm starting to sound like an Oscar winner about to be ushered off the stage by the "wrap-it-up" music, but just one more thing: shout-outs to Royinstl who started his debt paydown just before me, and to Shirehobbit who started just after me - thank you for sharing your stories and your progress, it has given me much inspiration. I feel like we're relay runners on the same team. Shire, I pass the baton to you. Go, Hobbit, Go!


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