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People Who Have Tackled Debt

We have 30k, yes 30k of credit card debt. Didnt even know it was that high until we added it up and I cried. We bought Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" book and are going to faithfully follow his steps and become debt free (except our house) in a year. The task is obviously daunting though, so I was looking for tips or words of encouragement from others who have dug themselves out of silmilar situations. We have 3 kids so it is going to be tough but I know we can do it... We don't "need" the credit cards and are not relying on them for anything essential, although we DID do that for a long period of time while we were both in school so that was a large chunk of the debt. Please spare me the lectures about how we lived beyond our means or you will get a big "no sh*t Sherlock" in return. Lol... Already know where we went wrong so now I just need the positive thoughts and experiences to facilitate the process of turning things around quickly. Thanks!!

Eta... Even after keeping both of our cars, the cable and the gardener, we will be able to commit 3000 a month to tackling the debt so it is definitely attainable.... Just have to cut out all the "fluff" (and obviously there is a lot!!)

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Wow, then it sounds like it will be a piece of cake. So many people don't clear nearly 3000 per month to put towards their entire living. I only wish I had anything close to tackle my 50,000 worth of CC debt.

Just buckle down and do it. It sounds like you'd be just as well off to do it in 2 years and not even need to suffer.

3 moms found this helpful

Good luck! That's really all I have for you! My debt is student loans... will be paying them off probably until retirement age! Ugh!

3 moms found this helpful

It's definitely doable, especially with a partner! I didn't actually follow Dave Ramsey per se, but a friend who had read the books explained the basic plan and I pretty much stuck to that. I had about half as much debt as you (but I was a single parent) and managed to get it paid off in two and half years. The best part is that since I got used to living well within my means, I've been able to roll almost $20,000 in savings since the debts been paid off!

It feels SO good when that first card is paid off, so just stick with it.

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It took us about 15 months to pay off just about $40K in credit card debt....What did we do?

We cut up EVERY credit card (that was hard - because I loved to pull out my plastic!!)

We buckled down.
We made a list of expenditures - kept a log/journal of EVERY PENNY that any of us spent...gum balls, etc. for 60 days - maybe longer - this included our life, auto and home insurance, cable, electric, water, etc.

We cut up any and all credit cards - store cards, gas cards, AMEX, Discover, MC, Visa...all of them..
We set aside money each month for our savings account.

Any bonus my husband got was applied to the credit cards - we started with the lowest balance/highest interest rate...then just started tackling each and every one. On the higher ones - we talked to the credit card company and said "we need our interest rate lowered...if they wouldn't do that? we said - okay - close the card...what will you accept as a payment in full?" You will be surprised at what they will accept. Yeah - your credit MIGHT take a ding but if you aren't planning any big purchases - mortgage or a car - you won't need to worry about it...

YOU CAN DO IT!!! Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? YES!!!

DO NOT stop doing things - you can still do cheap date nights or family nights...you might find that you are a closer family because of changing this bad habit!! Make sure you have "fun" money. Whether it be $20 or $50 - since I don't know your income and expenditures...to PLAY...go to a movie, rent a movie, etc.

Another thing? Go through your house and declutter...have a yard sale - any of the proceeds go to the debt fund! Sell collectibles on ebay or craigslist...get more income in the door.

YOU GO GIRL!!

5 moms found this helpful

Hi A..

I am not proud at all to admit that in my younger adult years, I racked up about $26,000 of credit card debt... lots of bad choices, obviously... one $5000 cash withdrawal to a boyfriend to use as a downpayment on a car that he eventually defaulted on the payments and the car was repo'd. Nice, huh? I have no excuses for my stupidity of gargantuan proportions, other than exactly that, stupidity. But, I PAID IT ALL OFF. Myself.

It has been 10 years now since I started paying all that debt back... I was 28 when I started repaying it. I didn't know of Dave Ramsey at the time, but I used a debt consolidation company. I know now that there are good reasons not to go that route, but at the time, it was all I knew to do... that, or declare bankruptcy, which I was a signature away from, quite frankly. But with a last moment of clarity, I said no, and decided to go the debt consolidation route instead. It took me 4 years to pay it off, but it is one of my proudest accomplishments... paying it all off myself. I made the last payment just before my son was born, and what a WONDERFUL GIFT, to have that off my shoulders before he was born!

GOOD LUCK to you! YOU CAN DO THIS! And you will... I have faith! If I can do it, anyone can! In reality, one year goes by in a flash... and just keep your eyes on the prize. It's SOOOOO worth it!

5 moms found this helpful

No real advice, just wanted you to know you are not alone and I can relate!
We don't have ANY credit card debt but I did break my arm at the elbow REALLY BAD last January w/out being covered by any health insurance (only hubby and kids had it at the time) and I now have $58K, yes I said $58K worth of doctor bills!!! It sucks SO bad! I have no real way of EVER getting out from under this much debt, I will just be making small monthly payments until I DIE!

And I still have wires and pins that NEED to come out but I can NOT afford any more Dr. visits let alone procedures :(

Ugh! It gives me a stomach ache every time I think about it!

4 moms found this helpful

Well, I don't know your income or your expenses, but am assuming your projection of one year is attainable for you to commit to it.
Follow what Dave says. We're debt free including our house.
It CAN be done.
(Cut up those credit cards TODAY!)

4 moms found this helpful

Well gee A., what is a WANT and what is a NEED here? I mean PUHLEEZE, you should KNOW better ...... a plague on BOTH your houses ..... (I am being a total smartass here - I say these things totally in jest)

Seriously, I give you total props for tackling the debt issue. We have two small children and for a long while, were trying to get by on one income. It's tough. Your situation was tough as well. Kudos for furthering both your educations.

Since I am in your same boat, I don't know that I have any sparkling wisdom to share with you. I do, however, send you many, many props for doing what you're doing.

E.

4 moms found this helpful

good luck! we are starting Financial Peace University next week.

it's scary.

and empowering and exciting.

and i'm proud that we're doing it.

we're doing the class through our church, so it's only $100, instead of $200. you get to keep the tools and retake the class as many times as you want/need for free once you buy them. i would encourage you to look into it. many banks and places of employment are doing it as well.

good luck to both of us!

4 moms found this helpful

Wow, then it sounds like it will be a piece of cake. So many people don't clear nearly 3000 per month to put towards their entire living. I only wish I had anything close to tackle my 50,000 worth of CC debt.

Just buckle down and do it. It sounds like you'd be just as well off to do it in 2 years and not even need to suffer.

3 moms found this helpful

Good luck! That's really all I have for you! My debt is student loans... will be paying them off probably until retirement age! Ugh!

3 moms found this helpful

It is great you are going to tackle your debt. We have been debt free for 10 years and it is wonderful! However, if you are able to pay 3000.00 a month AND keep the cable the and the gardner AND it will all be paid off in a year - THEN YOU ARE TURNING THINGS AROUND QUICKLY. It doesn't sound like you are too bad off. There are folks in way, way, way worse positions than you are.....be thankful for that :)

3 moms found this helpful

My advice is this: once the debt is paid off, take that $3000/month that you were putting towards the debt and put it all into your savings. If you can live day to day without it for the next year, maintain that new lifestyle and live without it forever. Having a huge cushion in your savings will make you feel so much more secure and stress-free, plus it will enable you to splurge on things like a family vacation or cover unexpected expenses like major car repairs.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Congrats on tackling your debt and facing it head on!

I, too, gave up credit cards in my early 20s. I lived on them in college and made some poor decision. Like others have posted here, you are certainly not alone!

The route I took was American Credit Counseling Service. They were not scammers at all! The counseling service mediated on my behalf and worked out a lump payment, even on my post-college, meager salary, and distributed it to my three credit cards at the time. In return, I was forbidden to have any plastic.

It took me two years to pay off the debt but when I got my "Congratulations" notice from A.C.C.S. I was so happy. I hung it on my fridge like a parent hangs a kid's picture!

Since then I've had only one credit card and try to pay it in full every month. I snub department stores that try and hook, line and sink, you and shred all the offers I get in the mail.

You can do this!

gave up credit cards in my 20s to tackle my own debt, I'd brag about it to make

2 moms found this helpful

We did it. Would you believe we were $75K in debt? (Including our cars, credit cards, loans, etc) It took us 3 years to pay it off. For us, we went into debt because my husband lost his job, and we (stupidly, in retrospect) did everything we could to hang onto our home. We had put a $100K down payment on our house, and did everything we could to save our house and our investment - even up to putting $50K on our credit cards in living expenses. Long story short, we lost our house and were $75K in debt. It was a lot to deal with. But, we tackled the highest-interest debt first, and worked our way to the lowest-interest debt. The day we paid it off was a wonderful day indeed. We have been living on cash for 4 years now, debt free for 1 year. It's a good feeling. You can do it! Just think of what you'll be able to do once all the debt is paid off!

My advice to help keep yourself on track is to allow a little room in your budget for some fun stuff. For instance, allow yourself to go to the movies once a month, or out to dinner. Giving yourself a little permission to do something you enjoy will help keep you from rebelling against the program. :)

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My advice is really simple! Follow Dave's advice as closely as humanly possible, and don't make the same mistakes twice! Getting and staying out of debt, is really a lifestyle change just like losing large amounts of weight. If a person who was once obese, but lost weight, begins to do the same old things...they will find themselves obese more quickly then they did before.

It's important to not just get out of debt, but stick to the changes you've made. If you do that, then you should do great!!

2 moms found this helpful

It's definitely doable, especially with a partner! I didn't actually follow Dave Ramsey per se, but a friend who had read the books explained the basic plan and I pretty much stuck to that. I had about half as much debt as you (but I was a single parent) and managed to get it paid off in two and half years. The best part is that since I got used to living well within my means, I've been able to roll almost $20,000 in savings since the debts been paid off!

It feels SO good when that first card is paid off, so just stick with it.

2 moms found this helpful

It took me ten years to pay off my student loans. I simply did not have the income to do it any sooner.

After I got debt free, I saved to pay cash for a car. I then married and we had a child. We had debt because I was not working and we were spending on medical treatment. My husband was miserable. We eliminated all eating out(unless it was paid for by someone else), stopped shopping, and quit traveling.

It was worth it. Friends grew apart because they could not believe we didn't have the money. His parents are rich and they all know it. If we had asked for x, they would have written the check. But it would have cost us more than money.

We are debt free now and I am so happy. My car broke down, but it was not a problem. I had a check and enough to cover anything. The same thing when I had my gallbladder nearly burst. We knew it would be ok.

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It is a tough adjustment. Really it is. BUT, if you are super diligent, the first month, you probably will only go a little over budget. :) Then by month 3, you should be clicking along on the budget you will have tweaked and getting pretty darn good at spending only cash, and knowing how much of that cash you will actually be spending each week BEFORE you spend it.

It can be real eye opening. For us, the most difficult part was what happens when you actually sit down together and discuss EXACTLY what to cut and when and how much... because you really have to face some "control" issues that most people don't usually discuss--which is how some of these things get so bad to start with. My husband makes pretty decent money. And we don't do "without" things. But we are not rolling in $ either. So it is a fine line for both of us... It is like dieting to me. It is easy bingeing, and it is fairly simple (not necessarily easy, but simple--not the same thing) to cut out almost all carbs or fast on alternate days or whatever the plan is. But what is next to impossible, is to ride the middle: to eat some junk, but only SOME junk, with a definitive limit as to how much---like eating 3 potato chips only. It's easier to eat as many as you want, a little less easy but simple to eat NONE. But OH SO HAAAAARRRRRD to ONLY have three. It's totally the same concept.

You have a little disposable income, so it will be a real challenge to both of you and your commitment to your goals to stick to the budget you write out. Sit down together and both of you write out a budget, then swap them, read them, and compare. Then make some compromises to decide on one plan. Be sure you include some "blow" money for each of you. Or you will blow the plan instead.
Good luck! It gets easier... but you can get too comfortable too, and slip back into bad habits when you start thinking you are doing well. So keep a thermometer or something visible to keep track of your progress, AND how much further until you reach your goal. I suggest the bathroom mirror, not the refrigerator, as a place to post this where you will see it every day.

2 moms found this helpful

You can totally do it. We did.
Tip #1 Regularly socialize - We had lots of get togethers - at our home - but they were all pot lucks. Don't preface the invite with, we're trying to cut back, just start with saying, we are having a pot luck - would you like to come? Then divy it up by alphabet - A-L brings beverages, L-T brings main dish (casserole), you provide the salad, chips, cutlery, U-z brings dessert - like that.
Tip #2 Picnic at the park skip fast food comp;ete;y
Tip #3 Use up - use up all the food in the pantry, the shampoo, the body lotion, make-up, band aids, etc. Reduce, reuse, recycle!!
Tip #4 See if you can borrow before you purchase - thinking about some home reno we did with borrowed tools, we cancelled cable and were strictly library borrowers - DVDs, music, best selling books.
This is completely do able - just really think - "Starbucks? or $5 dollars to the debt?"
Then at the same time, for every $5 repaid, put $1 in saving for a very nice vacation to Hawaii - you deserve a treat after all your hard work!!
GOOD FOR YOU - You can do it!!

1 mom found this helpful

We, too, are trying to get debt free. The whole Recession/Depression phase our country is in finally woke my husband up to the fact that we really need to do this (even though I'd been telling him for a few years that we need to tackle our debt). Our student loans were paid, so that wasn't a problem, and we own a 2002 car and a 1995 truck that are paid for. My husband's job supplies him with a car (sales), so he has a new one to drive.

Our debt came because we bought a new house that was only half finished. It's small--1650 square feet--and we had to get the basement split level finished/second bathroom done as our daughter grew older.That money (which was all on credit card debt) went into a home equiline loan. I was NOT happy about taking out that loan, specifically because it did NOT curtail my husband's use of the credit card.

We took out some money from my life insurance policy to pay off my credit card debt ($5000), and my card is only used for absolutely essential Internet purchases (ours and our animals' supplements). We write down how much was put on the card and that amount is paid when the bill comes. Period. We paid that card off last fall.

My husband fell and broke his leg/had a tibea plateau reduction surgery the end of August 2011. While home recuperating for 2.5 months, he did some deep soulsearching and decided he was finally done living in fear and debt and paying someone else the interest. We had some money from his signing bonus with his new job, so we put that on one of his credit card bills and paid it off ($5500). That was in Aug 2011.

My husband still has one more credit card debt that needs to be paid off ($5000). We are looking at a fairly large tax return this spring, for a number of reasons, so that is the FIRST thing that will be paid off when we get our money back. Then I have to literally put a noose around my husband's neck so he quits using his credit card (and it's for dumb stuff; needing a snack at the gas station, had to get lunch, needed this or that at the hardware store. It's all small change stuff that he could take cash out of the bank for instead of putting it on a credit card. And I wouldn't mind him using the credit card--if he would just keep track of his purchases so that we have the money to pay the card off IN FULL when the statement comes. Sigh. Men).

Once we have the credit card debt paid off (and hopefully, the cards will STAY paid off--I think my husband is finally committed enough to actually try), we will only have our mortgage and our equiline loan left that we have as debt. And the equiline loan will be our next big target we'll be attacking.

Otherwise, our monthly bills include: heat/gas/electricity; phone/Internet/cell phone; life insurance and college fund; 2 gas cards for autos, of which only my car should be having gas put into it, because my hubby's work pays for everything for his work car. And both cards don't necessarily get used, it depends on what gas station is around to use; auto/home insurance; hubby's credit card; Equiline loan; Mortgage; and an extra Waste Management bill for garbage (over and above what we pay through our taxes, as we have more garbage than what we're allotted). We used to also pay for Dish Network but got rid of satellite ($20/month) and went with Netflix ($8/month) and bought a TV antennae so we can see the local HDTV channels. We run the Netflix off our Wii.

The only upcoming expenses we know we'll have coming up for sure is to have our sewer line repaired (the company that repaired it two years ago failed to glue one of the joints so that tree roots get in and we have to rotorouter every year; the company refuses to fix it or meet us halfway on the cost of fixing the problem. So we'll get hit with the entire bill; probably $3000 or more) and we'll have to replace our car, which will mean another monthly bill.

I wish we had as much available per month as you do to help us pay down debt even faster, but we don't. But we are happy to be in the situation we are in and can finally see the end in sight. It feels good to not have so much debt!

1 mom found this helpful

A., I wouldn't close all your credit card accounts since it can negatively impact your credit score, but I would say to put them away and don't touch them unless you are going off and need to spend the night in a hotel or rent a car. Even buying plane tickets is a real reason to have a credit card.

After you pay off that $3000 a month down on your card, and in a year's time, the debt is paid, make sure that you always pay every penny of what you owe every month. I have never let a credit card balance go from month to month. I love getting my frequent flyer miles - I put my cable bill, my cell phone bill, my groceries, everything I can possibly pay onto my credit card just for the miles - but I pay it off every single month.

The credit card debt is not so bad. It's "timed payments". You obviously have the means to buy what you want. It is the interest that eats you alive and makes it so that you are paying WAY more than the items you bought are worth. So by paying every single month the total that is owed, you don't have any interest building up, compounding your way into the poor house.

Feel good about the adventure you are embarking on. Make it kind of a badge of honor, getting that debt off of your shoulders.

Good luck!
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Many years ago we had about 15K in credit card debt. We did have good credit. To get out of debt, I played the credit card balance transfer game. I would move the debt to one of those cards that you offer you 1% for 9 to 18 months. I also used a combination of paying off smaller amounts and high interest rates first. It took a few years, but we did it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., Most people do not live withing their means, My debt was high, I am down to 9 thounsand, I had creditors calling me, What I did was I tackeled the smallest one first, then the next smallest all the way down to the lst two I have walmart discover and Capital one, I ownm 2,00o on walmart discover and 7 thousand on capital one, ,y goal is to have walmart discovered paid off by August, see in paying all the smallest ons first and some were not so small, but smaller than capital one, I will be able to apply more to my capital one because now all those other payments won't be going out I can put them all together on capiatal one, My goal is to have capital one paid off by the end of 1013. J.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I have been debt free for about three years and it feels great! We to did the Dave Ramsey get out of debt but altered the program to fit us. We do use cash only, no debit cards for groceries, shopping, etc. The only time I use the debit card is for putting gas in my car. It is hard and took a few months to get used to but worth it. We do alter our cash monthly budget each month knowing when we might have things going on. For example, we have envelopes for Grocery, Liq/Leisure, Kids, Husband, Myself and Misc. That is it . . . again, we change the amount each month based on what we know we could get hit with. All bonus's, tax returns, etc go straight into the savings account.
It isn't easy to alter your lifestyle but it is worth it. We are about to have our third child and aren't as stressed financially as we would be if we would have had debt.
I will agree with one post to not forget about you and enjoy life. Yes you are trying to get out of debt but splurging on a movie or a few cocktails with girlfriends wont hurt anything. Again, budget this and use cash only. It will help control your spending.
Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

Good for you for taking charge of your life and your financial situation. My hubby and I about 6-7 years ago had to buckle down and pay off credit card debt & student loans. It was TOUGH but we did it! 2 years later we had also saved enough for a downpayment on a larger house. Our only debt now IS our mortgage. We have two cars, both paid for. In fact we wrote a check for our 2004 Tahoe a year ago. Such a great feeling to be practically debt free. It will take alot of sacrifice, yes you might not get to go out often, or buy that purse you have been eyeing, but in the long run it is worth the commitment! We still use a credit card, only for the fact that we earn reward points, and the balance is paid off COMPLETELY each month. Like a few others said..track your spending and see where you can cut out, you will be surprised the unnecessary things you buy. Good luck to you...it is hard but YOU CAN DO IT!

If you can, take the class!!! It is so much more inspirational, even though we didn't have any credit card debt just our mortgage & one car payment, which is now paid off. There is just so much great information,everyone should take the class, debt or no debt.

Also don't be embarrassed or try to hide it from friends and family. It's amazing how many people *fess up* when you tell them what you are doing.

You can do it, tackle it hard. So next January, I hope you post on here that you are DEBT FREE!

Congrats on getting your house in order. It will be a tough road ahead but your kids will see the payoff and find out how much better life can be. By the way I have 3 kids and no cable since 2007 and the kids play and have fun and are able to self entertain. Their friends come to our house and find that we have amazing adventures. Also look in all the places to save. Ignore those who say don't forget to treat yourself that money needs to be focused on the real treat of living a financially stress free life. That is a gift to your family and your health.

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