Debt Free for 3 Years and Counting: How Tracie’s Life Has Changed

By Jackie Beck   Updated 05/11/2021 at 11:25 am

Tracie Fobes paid off her last debt in February 2011 (so 3 years this month!)

Back in 2007, she and her husband decided to work themselves out of debt. They eliminated more than $37,000 in debt in just 27 short months.

Here’s how her life has changed since then.

What were the most critical changes you made while you were paying off debt?

We didn’t eat out but MAYBE once a month. We ate very simple meals. We also literally cleaned our house and sold things we really didn’t need.

Did you ever feel like giving up?

Honestly, we never did. We kept seeing results and it kept us motivated!

What tips do you have for people who are working to become debt free?

Remember that it took you years to get into debt, so it will take you time to get out of debt.

How has your life changed since becoming debt free?

We feel free. We aren’t tied to giving anyone our money — except for us! We have been able to spend money on fun things like a few changes we want to make around the house. We’ve even been able to take some great trips, which we could have never afforded had debt been looming over our heads.

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The best part of all is never stressing when we go to the mailbox. The only bills we receive are for living expenses. Nothing else.

We also don’t have to worry about our budget and how we will cover payments on debts while still putting food on the table.

There is something about knowing if we NEED to purchase a vehicle and don’t yet have the cash saved, we don’t have to report any debts on our application other than our mortgage.

Are you working now to save cash to replace a vehicle if needed?

We actually saved and paid for our pickup in cash recently — so now are saving again for when we replace our mini van in around 3 or 4 more years. What we do is just make that monthly “payment” to ourselves instead of to the bank. That way, when we are ready to buy, we have the cash we need!

How else has your life changed?

The idea that I get to keep more of my money and build up my savings, or splurge on things for my family is life changing.

The biggest issue is how my budget looks. When I look at it each month and see that I do owe credit card companies money and I get to keep more of it for myself is so uplifting. I feel like a huge weight is off of my shoulders. When the prices of items go up, I don’t stress now because we don’t have to move money from a debt to cover our grocery bill. It is OUR money. Ours. No one else. We get to keep more of it for us!

What would you like to tell others who are working at paying off debt?

Don’t give up! Just when you feel like throwing in the towel, find others who have paid off debts, which can inspire you to stick with it!

Tracie is the owner of, where she shares her tips on how to make the most of your family’s budget including how to get out of debt, save on your groceries, and more. When not busy saving money, she enjoys spending time with her three children, ages 5, 7 and 9, and her husband at home in Missouri. You can visit her website at

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