It might be a blip - but it feels like the end of an era. For years we borrowed and borrowed, and we didn't think too hard about tomorrow.
But not any more. Last month British households paid back more debt than they took out, for the first time in at least 16 years.
After so long carping about all of us living beyond our means, you might think that economists would consider this good news. Not a bit of it.
You see, in economics - as in life - timing is everything. If all of us - government included - had borrowed less in the boom years, we'd now be very grateful for our restraint.
But there's borrowing less in a boom, and there's borrowing nothing at all in the middle of a bust. That's not welcome news at all - even if it may show we're moving to a different time.
To put things in perspective: British consumer debt now stands at just over £1.4 trillion - or just under £24,000 for everyone in the UK - nearly all of it in the form of mortgages.
We found out yesterday that number went down by £635m - a mere £10 per head. Which isn't much at all. But it is the first time it's happened since at least 1993 - when, I might add, personal debt was £1tn lower than it is today.
British companies spent July paying off their debt as well - the stock of mainstream corporate debt fell by a more impressive sounding £8.4bn - the biggest such decline since 1997.
That is bad news for the Bank of England - which wants companies, especially, to be helped by their policy of pumping billions into the economy.
The Bank prefers to look at the quarterly data than the more erratic changes month to month. But at the very least, these numbers suggest it has more to do.
And - where households are concerned - they show quite how drastically the mood of borrowers and lenders has changed in barely a year.
Even if we were a nation of worthy savers, you would expect net lending to individuals to keep going up - at least for mortgages.
As Kevin Daly at Goldman Sachs reminded me, the average house in Britain only changes hands every 8 years, meaning the people selling the house, on average, should have a smaller mortgage than the people buying it.
So - even if house prices have been falling for a year - you'd expect the buyer's new mortgage to be larger than the old mortgage being repaid.
Net lending would carry on rising, even if house prices were falling, and even if households were saving more.
After all, the figures don't tell you anything about the big wedge of cash for the people at the end of the chain, who even now, are probably selling their house for more than they paid for it, and aren't taking on any new debt.
In fact net mortgage lending did rise throughout the last recession in the early 90s, amid falling house prices and a sharp rise in saving.
So the fact that lending has actually fallen tell us these are truly exceptional times. The Bank of England won't want to see this happen month after month.
But if we're going to have more balanced growth in the future than we had in the past, you might well want borrowing to grow more slowly than the economy as whole - so the stock of debt relative to GDP starts to fall.
And you would certainly want households to start saving more. Last year households saved less than 2% of their income. In 1995 the figure was 10%.
You never know, that might make us a rather different nation than we are today.
If interest rates go up, we journalists might worry a bit less about the rising cost of a mortgage - and talk more about the return on savings going up.
(For what it's worth I think we're already giving savers more attention than they had before. And rightly so.) In that saver nirvana of the future, first prize in the church raffle might be a new ISA.
Who knows, if Britain stopped being a nation of big borrowers, foreign investors might even stop worrying that we would decide to inflate all our debts away.
Yes, there'd be everything to play for in savers' Britain. But Lord, please don't send us there quite yet.