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Debt-Free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and Your Life

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,003 ratings  ·  118 reviews
If you’re afraid to open your bills, if you’ve never added up how much you owe, if you can’t even imagine being debt-free, it’s time to join the thousands of people Gail Vaz-Oxlade has helped. Her straightforward approach to money management is based on self-control, hard work, and prioritizing what’s really important. Debt-Free Forever is Gail’s step-by-step guide, and sh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by The Experiment (first published 2009)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,003 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I trust Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I used to watch "Til Debt Do Us Part" whenever I could and I thought she just made a lot of sense. So, when it came time to start getting my own minimal debt under control, She was just the right person to turn to.

She doesn't BS you into believing there is some magic potion that can erase your debt and give you savings *just like that*. She just serves up reality with a heavy dose of encouragement and shows you that it is reasonable to get yourself out of consumer debt i
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
I have one word to describe Debt-free forever : take control of your money and your life by Gail Vaz-Oxlade: amazing! Gail is a Canadian financial guru. I wrote about her previously when I said that we were going to try her budget jars idea.

This book is really meant to be a step-by-step workbook about how to get your financials in order. If you have ever seen her show, this is what the couples go through, and includes the steps you don't see in the show.

I have read through it once, and my husban
Roni Laukkarinen
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book, money, self-help, debt
Amazing book about handling your money, quick read too. For a person that knows somewhat how to live responsibly, I was way over my head with things just lately. I survived debt and bankruptcy ten years ago, but as an adult when I got my credit rating back I started to use credit card and other types of line of credit. In Finland paying stuff in installment type of payment plans is very popular. After reading this book I realized how much stuff I have paid without actually having the means to pa ...more
Tara Witthun (Literaryadventuresofthetarabun)
Debt Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Review: As someone who accumulated a rather large student loan debt, I appreciate the knowledge I gained from this book. I already had a budget and timeline to pay off this whopping debt in less than ten years however, this book helped put everything into perspective and helped me tweak several goals I have. With the charts and calculations provided, it makes it easy to follow along as I'm horrible with numbers. My goal was to pay my loan and any credit card d
Tamara Taylor
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! It is a simple, straight forward system to climb out from under debt. I know that this is something we've struggled with since we were in college, and could never seem to get ahead. I love her no-nonsense approach and humour. This book helped us develop a budget, a debt repayment plan and developing "grown up" habits like opening a tax-free high interest savings account (I didn't even have a clue what that was before this book!) and retirement savings. I've always felt over ...more
Chelsey Cosh
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I think I have read one too many books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade this year. I have had more than my fair share of personal finance books in the last few months and I think this one may be my last for a while. While Debt-Free Forever has some terrific information on budgeting, including substantial appendices to assist those new to tracking their spending, I still feel that a great deal of what is written here is a rehash of what Gail has said in her other books. All of the information is valuable, but, ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So this is my first personal finance book, and that may have effected my rating. Being a fresh university grad and starting my first job this book provided the foundation I needed to start 'real life' with a solid financial plan. The information may not be riveting or new but being that I learned nothing of the sort in 12 years of public schooling and 4 years of university, it was very valuable. The book helps you do a spending analysis, uses that information to make a budget, gives tips on payi ...more
Quick, basic read on setting goals to reach a debt-free status in this lifetime. Is it possible? I guess. But the more you try to free yourself of the system, the more it limits you. I like Gail's show: she's tough as nails, realistic, but kind and a good leader. Does it translate to fancy book writing? Not quite. The tone is like nails on a chalkboard, and horribly condescending in parts. Insulting, too, if you're sensitive. I don't think I'm sensitive, just pointing it out for others who might ...more
Matthew Macmartin
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having recently come into a financial postion where I can deal with my accumulated debt, I found this book invaluable in creating a plan that is practical and realistic.

Her no nonsense approach, complete with not so gentle scolding at the generally dumb things people do with money, was exactly the tone and common sense needed to help deal with such a mess.

Highly recommend to anyone serious about taking on their mounting debt.
Sheila J
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good reference for getting out of debt and staying out of debt, although I totally disagree with her on the topic of life insurance. I know from talking to people who used to be in that line of work that companies push whole life policies because they make more off such policies. If you need life insurance, you can get a lot more insurance for a lot less money with a term life policy.
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A no nonsense, easy to understand, financial how to. Whether you want to get out of debt, pump up your savings or reign in your spending, this book has something for everyone. Plenty of info and tools necessary to achieve your financial goals.
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A great read for fans of her show or anyone who needs some help with financial woes. Gail's no nonsense, get real, life isn't easy approach comes through in her writing style. I wish she could come to my house and help me out!
Tanya Lemke
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Solid, simply-presented, common-sense advice. The friendly-yet-scolding tone often reminds the reader that's it's common-sense, (and therefore you should probably know it already) but I didn't let that put me off. Read once through to absorb, now to go back and implement some of the steps.
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
Great book with a lot of tools to control your debt, plan a budget. She shared a lot of tips that are usually not very well explained.

You've probably seen her show on TV: Until debts put us apart or something
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Read Gail's blog everyday and have watched her shows - her no nonsense and simple approach is brilliant. Love her.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the money in the jar tip
K.S. Thompson
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You might be familiar with Gail Vaz-Oxlade's work. If you are not, she has hosted three different TV shows about the one thing we all seem to have but don't want to acknowledge. Debt. It doesn't matter what income tax bracket you're in, everyone seems to spend more than they make and that habit can lead to disaster. Especially if your financial situation changes dramatically. Thanks to the job market in Alberta tanking, followed by a global pandemic, many people are getting real about their fina ...more
Sara Budarz
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Is it okay to admit that I often turn to financial books as a calming bedtime reading? I realize this is weird, but these books are just so calming. They all seem so incredibly repetitive and predictable, but something about that also makes for easy reading to drift off to. So I recently downloaded this book to read. I had never heard of it or her before, but it met my need.

The verdict? Very much like Dave Ramsey in tone. She tells you to get your act together. She does the tough-love thing. Th
Ixby Wuff
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you're afraid to open your bills, if you've never added up how much you owe, if you can't even imagine being debt-free, it's time to join the thousands of people Gail Vaz-Oxlade has helped. Her straightforward approach to money management is based on self-control, hard work, and prioritizing what's really important. Debt-Free Forever is Gail's step-by-step guide, and she'll show you how to:

figure out how much you've actually been spending

- calculate how much you owe-and what it's costing you

Mary Pennington
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There was a lot of this book that I couldn’t relate to. I currently live in a campervan, so I don’t have a house so I don’t have a mortgage. I also don’t have any debt, but when I saw this book at the thrift store the other day I remembered the way Gail did budgeting in her TV show and wanted to learn some of the math behind that. She has some really cool ways of looking at finances. I loved the example of saving $7 on a $25 book by walking to a different store vs saving $7 on a $1200 laptop. In ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was a huge fan of her CNBC show "Til Debt Do Us Part". Her book is a good, maybe better, than the show. No nonsense financial information and tips to keep you on track. She is very blunt, which many of us need! Also her website is fantastic if you are planning on following her "jar system" (kind of like an envelope system) as it calculates weekly and monthly amounts for you. The only slight hiccup is a lot of her advice is for Canadian readers and follows their laws and rules. Overall a fantas ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
*edit to say this rating is for my own personal reference. If you are struggling financially this is a 5 star book, read it.*
This book was ok. It wasn’t practical to my life. It offered a lot of information on deep financial troubles, which I don’t have, but if you do, you may find useful. The most disappointing aspect was the fact that she references all of her worksheets, but you can no longer access them as her website is out of commission. Highly disappointing.
Shannon Cox
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first Canadian money management book I have come across. The information is a lot easier to digest when they are discussing RRSPs and GICs, instead of 401ks and IRAs. I like Gail's no BS attitude, cutting through all the excuses you may have come up with for your situation, and forcing you to take responsibility for your financial life.
J Crossley
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
By taking an honest assessment of your finances, you can get out of debt. After Vaz-Oxlade walks you through how to determine where you are with your debt, she goes on to explain how financial goals can help you accomplish what you want. She provides strategies to help reduce your debt. Throughout the book, she has “Gail’s Tips” which provides helpful tips and information.
Shelley Chastagner
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got 90% through the book before the library wanted it back. The advice is sound and practical. I love her mantra "Money management isn't rocket science, it's discipline." She not only deals with the numbers but the attitudes and motivations. Spelling out 'needs vs wants', the idea that 'I deserve X because..." It is well written, clear and easy to follow.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
Very well written in a sassy tone. I found it surprisingly entertaining yet with very practical advices. I also learnt quite a bit of financial tricks and technics, like how to read your Equifax credit score, how to improve it, etc...
Stephanie Bryant
Very honest and open writer, love her bluntness. Some terrific points and lots of excellent information. Perhaps this book should be mandatory for high school students BEFORE they get their first credit card!
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Watched her show and now have read the book. She does win for the most language in any financial book I've read. I found it a tad distracting but like her voice overall. The message is great and the direction is clear. In particular, I like her balanced financial life approach to finances.
Dam Ly
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a huge fan of the show. This book is an expanded version of an episode, what’s on screen and off. So having watched it for years, I didn’t necessarily learn anything new by reading, but I will say that the bulk of my personal finance knowledge came from Vaz-Oxlade.
Christine (KizzieReads)
I loved watching Til Debt Do Us Part, so when I saw this book I had to grab it. It saved me $13,000 with one bill, so it was the best money I ever spent! If you have the chance to read this, do it. Some of the info pertains to Canadians, but the basic ideas and info could be used by everyone!
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"Hello! I'm Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I'm a mother, step-mother, grand-mama, friend, confessor, writer, TV host, money maven, teacher, artist, and ex-wife. I'm loud, large and laugh a lot. I'm passionate about learning, committed to sharing and hell-bent on getting people to take control of their money and their lives.

I've written 13 books on personal finance, hundreds of articles for the financial media,

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