Every 4th of July, Independence Day is celebrated with pomp and parade, fireworks, light and barbecue in every corner of the country. Nowadays, however, many Americans feel as if they can’t completely celebrate independence with a financial albatross hanging around their necks.

Whether you feel like a character in Warner Bros. Television’s 2 Broke Girls (or not!), honey don’t let the anxiety over your financial state rain on your parade.

We’ve got some personal stories of others to inspire you to let go of the debt and find financial freedom on this day of independence.

I felt a rope with a rock tighten around my neck – Paige Hunter

Paige Hunter was in a state of hopelessness. She says, “My husband took out a 30-year mortgage”, and she could almost feel a rope with a rock tighten around her neck. They now enjoy “reaping some serious happy rewards” by re-designing their budget and uncompromisingly paying down their mortgage.

I paid off $50k before my wedding. – Christina Yumul, 33, public relations executive, Maui, Hawaii

Christina was living it up single when she moved to Hawaii. She had collected over $50k in debt from college loans and excessive spending on vacations and shopping with her girlfriends. She put a cap on her Las Vegas and Palm Spring weekend warrior ways, and instead went for a more affordable lifestyle available in Maui: Hiking, beach trips, and gatherings at friends’ houses, all provided her the same emotional satisfaction—without the cost!

Eventually she was able to pay off more than her minimum monthly debt payments. She was engaged and still had around $30k of debt she didn’t want to bring into her marriage. So, she cut down on her spending; she had her paycheck automatically transferred to her loans, shopped for essential daily groceries, and only brought her debit card with her. Now, she’s not only debt-free, she also runs her own company. Both she and her husband have enough money left for savings, (and a trip to New Zealand)!

From unemployment after 9/11, and working at a dead end job, to selling his own business in 5 years.

“On September 1, 2001, at the age of 24, I signed on to a project with Nextel (now Sprint) where I would manage the upgrade of all of their cell towers so that people would be able to send photos via their phones.”, says Bill Fish, 38, founder and president of Online Reputation Management, Cincinnati.

Then, September 11 happened. The company laid off over 450 people, including Bill. A few months later, he found himself working in a different field, bringing in only a third of his previous salary. That was around the time he began to brainstorm a business with his best friend. For a year, he’d spend weekends taking care of his business. After a year, he quit his job and his business was acquired by a company with a hefty payout. He muses, “I vividly remember going to dinner with my wife, thinking that we were now financially free.”

Share your stories with is and any tips for financial independence or personal experiences, leave a comment below!