The 100 Most Inspirational Personal Finance Turnaround Stories Online

If you’re like many Americans, you probably have some concerns about your personal finances. You may be worried about credit card payments, high interest loans or whether your retirement plan is going to provide you and your spouse with enough money to sustain you. The bloggers highlighted in this article used to have similar problems, but they’ve all decided to make a change for the better. Although many of them haven’t yet achieved what they set out to do, they can all be considered successful. They’ve changed the way they think about money, and that’s the most important step you can take. In this article we have collected 100 of the most inspirational stories of financial turnaround from around the web in order to provide you with the inspiration you need to make a change in your own life.


This group is made up of serious savers. Some of them are figuring out what to do with the money they used to send to credit card companies, while others are trying to play catch-up on nest eggs. All of them are taking great steps to improve their financial futures.

  1. Ima Saver: Ima Saver started a saving challenge with $20. She saves her change, profit from odd jobs and any other money she comes across. To date, she’s saved over $11,000.
  2. Grad Money Matters: The writer behind Grad Money Matters is a self-professed “poster child for why not to delay starting a nest egg.” After missing out on lots of time, this blogger is working even harder, trying to develop means of passive income.
  3. One Frugal Girl: This frugal girl used to think frugality was about deprivation, but she’s turned her attitude around. Now she realizes that it’s a choice, a game, and a great way to save money. Her wise philosophy is to “save money on things that don’t matter, in order to spend money on things that do.”
  4. Birds and Bills: Stacy Cowley thought she was doing pretty well after she paid off her credit card debt, but then she started reading financial books and realized that she needed to start saving. She’s picking up tips and is now well on her way to turning her “financial house of cards into some kind of foundation.”


These days, it’s not uncommon to hear about a person who is $20,000 or more in debt. Can you imagine what could be done with $20,000? These people did, and decided it was time to stop working just to pay their lenders. They are waging a war against personal debt, but the only casualties are tiny pieces of plastic.

  1. Give Me Back My Five Bucks: Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks managed to pay off $17,223.10 worth of debt in ten months. She is now completely debt free.
  2. MS Mom’s Money: This single mom with multiple sclerosis used to have lots of debt. She’s currently working on eliminating it and improving her net worth.
  3. Debt Free Renee: Renee has some debt, to say the least. But she’s only about 3 months away from wiping the worst of it out. She’s doing so well, in fact, that she’s looking at houses to buy.
  4. Broke-Ass Student: Broke-Ass Student hasn’t quite turned her debt around just get, but her success has come from a major change in her attitude towards money. She came to terms with her debt and realized it was time to clean up her act. Now, she’s working on building an emergency fund and investing in a Roth IRA rather than drowning in debt.
  5. Blogging My Way out of Debt: This woman is a former shop-a-holic working to get out of debt. She’s now building her emergency fund, retirement savings and getting rid of some nasty credit card, car and student loan debt.
  6. The American Dollar: This young couple has “gone through financial hell and back.” Once at over $100,000 in debt, they have now built up a hefty emergency fund and are well on their way to having their mortgage paid off.
  7. Slave to the Lender: Bryan and his wife Lesa are in debt, but they don’t want to deal with it anymore. They are taking on baby steps: building an emergency fund, creating savings, planning for retirement and more. To date, they have paid off more than $10,000 of their debt and have completely built their emergency fund.
  8. Kiss of Debt: Two years ago, this blogger was almost $20,000 in debt. Now, she’s feeling more secure in her job and budget. More importantly, she’s over halfway done wiping out her debt and has just six more months to go.
  9. Debt in Seattle: This married mother of three is in her late 20s and dealing with debt. So far, she’s been successful and has plans to be free by the time she hits 30. She’s even taking steps to pursue a career as a doctor.
  10. Debt to Dreams: Debt to Dreams’ author racked up $14,000 in credit card debt and $120,000 in student loans living what seemed like a normal lifestyle. Refusing to become the “poster child for generation debt,” this blogger has cut expenses, budgeted and automated savings. Even though real changes are still years away, the progress made is encouraging and a step in the right direction.
  11. Erasing My Debt: Ryan put his foot down on debt because he was tired of barely making the minimum payments. He’s been able to pay some of it down thanks to his wife’s new job. Now, he’s going to go to college, part of it paid by grants and tuition reimbursement.
  12. Bizarro World Debt Elimination Freakshow: This bizarro couple is trying to pay off debt and get their kids through college. They are well on their way and have already amassed a substantial emergency savings.
  13. Single Ma’s Fabulous Financials: Single Ma has some debt, but she has plans to achieve a six figure net worth. After a financial overhaul, she’s making it happen.
  14. We’re In Debt: This couple ended up with $150,000 in debt, but they’ve taken on a very aggressive challenge to pay it off quickly. They have plans to be clear of debt by this summer.
  15. Stop Buying Crap: This blogger paid off $10,000 of debt in one year.
  16. The Budget Fashionista: Kathryn Finney jokes that her “first born child will be named Visa Student Loan.” Fortunately, she was able to get her finances cleaned up and learned how to be fabulous on a budget.
  17. My Two Dollars: This blogger came “back from the brink” of financial despair. He’s learned a lot about responsible finances, like saving, getting out of debt and investing.


We’ve all heard stories of financial ups and downs on the stock market. Many of these people used to represent the downs. Fortunately for them, they’ve learned from their mistakes and come up with strategies that allow them to make their money work for them.

  1. Stock Rake: Stock Rake made the mistake of trusting others to look after his investments and lost a lot of money that way. So, this investor decided to go it alone and has found success.
  2. Money Mythos: Money Mythos’ writer thought he was smart about money until he tried to invest. It didn’t work out so well in the beginning, but now his portfolio is performing well.
  3. Trader’s Narrative: Babak knows a lot about trading now, but he wasn’t always that way. He had to rely on others to help him learn about the markets, and now he wants to do the same for you.
  4. Changing My Direction: The writer behind Changing My Direction used to be an engineer, but he realized that he could do more than “wiggle a mouse and fill out TPS reports.” He is turning his life around by investing in real estate, businesses and stocks.
  5. The Deprived Investor: The Deprived Investor ended up with some serious debt, but he paid it off in equity. With that out of the way, he and his wife are determined to change the way they think about money and to get serious about investing.
  6. Guzzo The Contrarian: Michael Guzzo had no idea how to handle his 401(k), so he took it upon himself to get educated. He learned all about responsible personal finance and became “debt-free and fiscally-fit” in a matter of seven years. Guzzo has become a successful stock picker.
  7. Growth in Value: The blogger at Growth in Value got started in investing at the tender age of 14. Things started out well, but he went through crashes in the Asian stock markets as well as high tech stocks. He’s learned his lesson and now puts his money on value investing.
  8. Index Fund Fan: The writer behind Index Fund Fan invested in “the bubble days of 2000.” He got burnt, but now he has a successful, diversified portfolio.
  9. Mac’s Money Blog: Robert McIntosh has experienced living below poverty levels, but he’s also hit a high five figure salary. He’s an investor in mutual funds, commodities and individual stocks.
  10. Money Smart Life: Ben from Money Smart Life, like many others, made the mistake of investing in tech stocks around the dot com bubble. He lost around $5,000, but he learned from his misfortune and now concentrates on diversification and understanding the value of stocks.
  11. The Microcap Speculator: The Microcap Speculator got pegged as a sucker by a broker who pushed some stock. He invested and lost most of what he put in. Now, he knows that you have to analyze and control risk to see success, and he has.
  12. TSP Trader: The TSP Trader is an employee of the Federal government, and as such, is eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan. Tired of the “hold and hope” method, in which investors hope that they are in the right funds for earning, this investor decided to step it up a notch. He is doing well and helping others to do so, too.
  13. The Dough Roller: The Dough Roller used to spend money as fast as it came and graduated college with a net worth around -$55,000. He became interested in investments, earning money in the stock market and residential real estate. Now, he feels that he’s made good financial decisions and is well on the way to financial independence.
  14. Trader-X: Trader-X remembers getting “wiped out a few times on bad option and penny stock trades” when he was just starting out, but he’s learned to stick with just one strategy and refine it as needed. He now has an unbelievable win rate of 80%.

Real Estate

Investing in real estate can be very lucrative: just ask any successful house flipper. Of course, there’s another side to the coin. This kind of high-dollar investing can also result in painful losses. These people learned the hard way, but in the end have succeeded.

  1. Adventures in Money Making: This blogger got started in real estate investing after losing his job due to 9/11. He started out with some small investments and has seen great returns.
  2. Dr. Housing Bubble: Dr. Housing Bubble graduated school at the peak of the Southern California housing boom. He could have been dismayed, but instead, he just doesn’t care. Why? Because he knows it’s only a matter of time before the market falls and the bubble builds itself up again. He’s saving, biding his time and waiting for his chance.
  3. Building An Empire: Trisha used hate her job in IT, so she volunteered to be laid off. Now, she’s “building an empire” as a real estate investor and realtor.
  4. Shaun’s Real Estate Adventure: Shaun overheard how one of his former coworkers was making money in the real estate business. He decided to try his hand, but it didn’t work out great in the beginning. Now, he’s the one doling out advice on real estate.
  5. I Am Facing Foreclosure: Casey Serin is a controversial figure in the personal finance world. He’s in mind boggling debt resulting from failed house flips, but it looks like he’s going to turn his boneheaded failures into a successful media blitz. He’s working on a book deal and has made it onto ABC News.
  6. The Landlord Blog: Anesia Springborn used to work in corporate America, but she tired of working so hard for her money. She dove headfirst into investing and bought 10 residential units, eventually able to leave the rat race. She is now a successful real estate investor and entrepreneur.
  7. To Retire Sooner: This retiree hopeful lost money in an investment subscription, but bounced back by making some good real estate choices.

Building Wealth

It often seems like you need to have money to make money and be successful financially. After all, without income, you can’t save, pay down debts, invest or retire. These people have found successful solutions for this very important monetary step.

  1. Live Learn Invest: The writer behind Live Learn Invest endured some layoffs and realized that the corporate ladder just wasn’t a wise choice. Instead, this former employee decided to make money on a passive-based structure rather than work by trading time for money.
  2. Dumb Little Man: Jay White was a “lost cause” C-student who was never supposed to succeed. Yet he did. He took a low-paying job and climbed the ranks with hard work and an eagerness to learn. He is now earning a six figure salary without a college degree.
  3. Mauder’s Money Matters: Dave Mauder is a self-proclaimed opportunity junkie. As such, he endured many failed opportunities, but has found out that he does well with affiliate marketing. He’s ahead of the game for his age and is working hard to get even better.
  4. Thinking About Money: This blogger never really hit a financial low, but he’s trying to get higher. He read the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and realized that he knew a lot, but had a lot to learn about the game of building wealth. He’s taken on a financial education and is filtering through financial idea garbage to find the best information he can.
  5. One Million and Beyond: Matt at One Million and Beyond wants to have more than $1 million in liquid assets by the time he’s 35. Unfortunately he’s currently in debt. However, he’s got a decently paying job, is learning how to invest, and he has his finances under control.
  6. The 100 by 30 Project: This couple is working on having a net worth of $100,000 in three and a half years. To date, they have $40,000 in savings and bonds.

Money Mistakes

We’ve all been there. Maybe you should have bought the low maintenance home instead of the cute fixer-upper. Or perhaps you just bought the wrong size pants and never bothered to return them. Big or small, money mistakes happen. Unfortunately, these people know all about mistakes. For many of them, their issues pile on from debt, to layoffs, to moves. Luckily, they’ve persevered and are making it through.

  1. Ms. Mini Ducky: Ms. Mini Ducky admits that she hasn’t come from the best financial background. However, she’s determined to do better for herself. Now, she has a plan to help her parents get a home, save for emergencies and retirement, pay for a wedding and finally, get a home of her own.
  2. Rich Minx: Rich Minx used to be perfectly happy to blow all of her money on travel and entertainment until one day she realized that she didn’t have a whole lot going on financially. She’s now working on investments, savings, and cleaning up her spending habits.
  3. It’s Just Money: This blogger made a lot of money mistakes in the past, including trashing his credit score. He’s worked all of his debt off and rebuilt his credit. Now he’s been successfully saving and working on owning a home.
  4. DIY Finances: DIY finances used to be a spendthrift, but decided to get serious about his finances after getting married and having a child. He’s now working on his family’s journey to financial freedom.
  5. Every Second Paycheck: The blogger at Every Second Paycheck had a habit of letting money slip away at the hands of “mysterious forces.” Frustrated that a decent salary was going to waste, this person now makes it a goal to live off of he funds from every other paycheck.
  6. Fearless Money: The blogger at Fearless Money never really paid attention to finances, but he’s got a new way of thinking now. He avoids debt, saves and tries to be prepared.
  7. The Get Rich Project: Chris at The Get Rich Project didn’t like to think about money. Of course, that led to a hefty debt load. In two years, he eliminated nearly all of it and has plans to be financially independent less than five years from now.
  8. See Me Get Rich: Zachary lives in one of the most expensive counties in California. On top of that, he’s also gotten married, taken on student loans, moved not once but twice and admittedly hasn’t been the most frugal spender. He became frustrated when he realized that he had an upper-middle class income, but had nothing to show for it. That prompted him to get serious about money and he’s now a saver as well as investor.
  9. Frank the Financially Savvy Atheist: Frank and his wife both came from families where their parents had money troubles. This experience motivated them to be financially independent and retire at the age of 45. To reach this goal, they’ve been working on their 401(k) and Roth IRA, improving their budget and living below their means.
  10. Wallowing in Debt: This blogger found herself in debt, driving a car she couldn’t afford and pushed out of the housing market. Then, she and her husband bought a house that they will have to take a substantial loss on. She’s getting back on her feet with frugal living and earning extra money.
  11. Your Money By Design: Fifteen years ago, Nancy Zimmerman had debt, no savings, trouble paying for rent and unplanned expenses. She couldn’t handle Christmas and had no retirement plan going on. What did she do? She ran off to vacation in Mexico. Finally, she decided to turn her finances around. She changed her habits, learned about money and bought a house in half of the time she expected it to take her. Now, Nancy helps other people get back on their feet with seminars and consultations.
  12. Clever Dude: Clever Dude has made mistakes, but he’s learned and is doing well.
  13. Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge: Mapgirl regrets a lot of things: private college tuition, credit card debt, low initial pay and other money mistakes. However, she’s turned it around and has been able to buy a home and work on her savings.


How long do you plan on working? Are you planning at all? No matter your age, you should be contributing to a retirement fund. These bloggers are. Some of them plan to retire early, while others are content to just be comfortable in old age.

  1. Bare Bones Living: The writer behind Bare Bones Living recently decided that it wouldn’t be very fun to end up a homeless senior citizen. This blogger is taking on $86,000 in debt and has devised a plan to pay of the debt and contribute to impending retirement.
  2. Canadian Dream: Free at 45: This Canadian started planning for retirement and decided to stop working at 65. That is, until reading about retiring early. Now, the blogger is pushing the envelope and working towards retirement at age 45.
  3. Our Money: The couple on Our Money decided that the rat race just wasn’t cutting it. They were frustrated that they both earned a decent living, yet they still struggled to keep up. They got educated, got aggressive and are well on their way to financial independence. They have a long term goal to hit a net worth of $1.5 million, then semi-retire and live in a tropical climate in an area where their money will go farther.
  4. Art of Money: Jon is 40, a little late in the game to start thinking about retirement. Not to be dismayed, he’s taken on some high-risk moves to turn his future around.


Higher education is quite expensive these days. Most college graduates end up with tons of student loan debt to go along with their diplomas, and these young people know all about it. They are all working on getting their net worths in the black so they won’t be saddled with debt in their formative years.

  1. Advanced Personal Finance: Advanced Personal Finance graduated from college with a full load of debt, but his wife helped spark an interest in finance, and he’s been obsessed ever since.
  2. Beachgirl’s Budgeting: Beachgirl’s financial outlook started out right: her mom taught her to use credit wisely, so she didn’t incur any debt. Then school happened, and she ended up with $45,000 in student loans. She’s also got significant home loans. Now, she’s working on her budgeting skills to eliminate her debt and plan for her future.
  3. Frugal Living Journal: Micah and Erin graduated from college with the assumption that their student debts would be a piece of cake to pay off. Imagine their surprise when that didn’t quite happen. They got serious about their finances by swearing off debt, prioritizing and getting creative. Erin works at home full-time and Micah splits his time between home and contract work.
  4. Money Under 30: David at Money Under 30 graduated with the usual debt, but he had to deal with living in the expensive cities of New York and Boston, too. Luckily for him, he started working for SmartMoney Magazine shortly after college and he cleaned up his act. He now lives in cheaper suburban Boston and has lots of great advice to give.
  5. Million Dollar Journey: The writer behind Million Dollar Journey started off with rocky financial prospects. He and his girlfriend had significant debt from student loans, a car and a mortgage. They didn’t have a huge income to work with, either. They’ve managed to build their net worth by being “super savers,” investing and differentiating between needs and wants.
  6. Sense to Dollars: The writer behind Sense to Dollars had $11,000 dollars in debt and remarks that “sadly, student loans only accounted for $3,500 of that.” She had no family safety net to fall back on. Nonetheless, she persevered and learned to enjoy the thrill of paying off her credit cards and has finally “vanquished the debt monster.” She’s investing in her retirement and has built up a substantial emergency savings.
  7. Finding Freedom: The blogger behind Finding Freedom racked up debt while taking on a job that didn’t provide the returns that it was supposed to. It’s taken some time, but he’s almost at a positive net worth.
  8. Debt Hater: The Debt Hater ran up a significant amount of debt while earning her master’s degree and finally got fed up. With many goals in mind, Joy has set out to control her debt with sacrifice and hard work. She’s making great progress, even while planning a wedding.
  9. Cents You Asked: Cents You Asked didn’t put much thought into finances until his last year of college when a friend shared The Wealthy Barber with him. He then realized that he had some debt to deal with and got his finances into shape. Now, he enjoys looking back: seeing his progress and remembering sacrifices.
  10. The Struggle: The Struggle’s author graduated with almost $40,000 in student loans and credit card debt. She had a plan to get back on track, but recently had a setback. Her credit score took a plunge, she’s only paying minimums and has trouble staying on top of spending. However, she’s working with her lenders and plans to get all of her money troubles straightened out in the next 3-4 years.
  11. Growing Money: Smarty at Growing Money had $30,000 in student loans, but paid them off using a deadline and roadmap. Now, Smarty’s interested in investing in order to grow wealth.
  12. One Big Mortar Board: HC graduated with debt and a depleted savings. The plan is to eliminate $22,000 of debt in the next three years, getting rid off all the debt in ten. Things are going well, and investments are currently on an upswing.
  13. An English Major’s Money: This recent graduate doesn’t have a student loan debt story. Rather, she’s fighting to turn around the perception that English majors are doomed to live a financially deprived life. She’s doing well, proving that English majors can “have fun and a future.”


Entrepreneurs are a different breed. Often unwilling to toil away in a cube farm, they decide that they want something bigger. Unfortunately, something bigger usually involves huge risks. These people took the troubles in stride and have all become successful entrepreneurs.

  1. Roger Ehrenberg: Roger Ehrenberg left Wall Street because he wanted to do “something different, something entrepreneurial, something truly transformational.” This desire led him to Jeff Stewart and Monitor110. Roger is now President and COO of Monito110, a position that allows him to realize the dream he laid out when he left Wall Street 3 years ago.
  2. Escape From Cubicle Nation: Pamela quit her job, even though she liked it, because she needed something new. She started working for herself and formed her company, Ganas, which has allowed her to travel, coach managers and executive teams, and work on gang-prevention programs.
  3. Breaking the Shackles of the 9 to 5: Michael K. Dawson, founder of The Time & Money Group, took nearly 20 years to get to financial freedom. He had some unsuccessful ventures and went through the dot com bust, but then he realized that financial freedom is not about being rich, it’s about getting by.
  4. Wanda Grindstaff: Wanda Grindstaff worked 32 years in the corporate world and finally grew tired of it. She created a home business and now has freedom to live the life she wants with her husband.
  5. The Free the Cow Project: The “cow” has decided to stop letting corporate America continue to get milk, deciding rather to control the future of her money by generating multiple income streams and taking on side gigs.
  6. Cash the Checks: Eddie started out with no money, no internet, and no HTML knowledge. Nonetheless, he’s a successful internet entrepreneur. His secret was to create multiple websites that generate small income rather than relying on one to make the bulk of the money.


One of the most important things you can do for your finances is to create a budget. Otherwise, how do you know how much you should save, spend or put in your retirement fund? Check out these budgeters’ stories for some number-crunching inspiration.

  1. The Budgeting Babe: Nicole, the budgeting babe, used to have a hard time sticking to a budget. Now it’s time for her to work on fiscal responsibility. She’s cutting her expenses and tracking her budget in earnest.
  2. A Girl Worth Saving: Kelly at A Girl Worth Saving went back to work so that her husband could go to school after being fired from a much-loathed job. She was OK with the idea, except that it meant she had to come up with a budget. She’s getting by with frugal living and ingenuity, all without compromising on the things that are important to her.
  3. Low Income Lady: Low Income Lady, as the title suggests, lives on a low income. She’s disabled and can’t work, but you shouldn’t feel sorry for her. This woman is doing well with what she has. She’s frugal, but still makes room for the necessities like good food, crafting, a weight loss club, and the occasional Chinese takeout.


From house hunters to military financiers, these bloggers’ stories have highs and lows that defy categorization.

  1. Divorce to Financial Freedom: Divorce can be messy, especially financially. This blogger knows all about it. She’s “remarried and rebuilding,” with a planned wealth of $5 million.
  2. DC’s Personal Finance and Stock Investing: The writer behind DC’s Personal Finance and Stock Investing endured the high-tech stock bubble and two downsizings, but has bounced back. He’s diversified his stocks and is doing better.
  3. Everybody Loves Your Money: Hazzard at Everybody Loves Your Money came from a family that struggled with money. But that didn’t stop him from saving up money to finish college without using student loans. He feels good about his finances and loves the feeling of being in control of his financial future.
  4. Frugal Zeitgeist: The Frugal Zeitgeist used to be a broke grad student. Not wanting to relive that experience at a retirement age, this blogger has worked to get a positive financial future and is less than two years from paying off her home.
  5. Late Starters’ Journey to Financial Freedom: Yannick and Jacqui admit they are late in the game for getting serious about their finances. But that’s OK, they are making up for it. They are doing so well, in fact, that they are considering relieving Jacqui of her job.
  6. Running With Scissors: This blogger is a law student, but she didn’t quite manage to come up with enough money to get through before school started. This led to the realization that her simple lifestyle was still too much, and she’s working to get serious about her finances. She’s planning on staying frugal so that she can use her post-law school salary to pay off student loans, get a home and save for retirement. Even now, she’s well on her way to achieving her savings goal and eliminating current debt.
  7. Irregular Payments: This blogger used to read a lot of personal finance blogs and realized that his financial goals were lacking. He’s trying, like many others, to make up for a “misspent youth.”.
  8. In Acton: In Acton’s author started out with no money, but nonetheless a dream to buy a home in Massachusetts. Now, In Acton is in a house, even though it’s 50 miles away from where she wants to live.
  9. Money for Military: When the Money for Military blogger joined the Air Force, a Basic Military Instructor said, “If you came into the military to become rich, you chose the wrong path.” This blogger decided not to accept that fate, and decided to concentrate on personal finance, investing and taxes, then pass on advice to other military members.
  10. Obsessive Consumption: Kate has a love/hate relationship with consumerism. She’s working on it by hand-drawing her credit card statements until she gets them paid off.
  11. Consumerism Commentary: Flexo had “a rocky experience” with money, but now has a net worth nearing six figures.
  12. Debt Regret: Kellie’s boyfriend had some major medical issues that sparked a downward spiral of cut hours, bills and mounting credit card balances. She decided to straighten up and has, to date, paid off two of her credit cards.
  13. Beyond Broke: This blogger paid back $29,000 of debt in three years, and still plans to live below her means.

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