Paying off Debt - Menifee,CA

Updated on December 24, 2010
S.G. asks from Menifee, CA
23 answers

I am just curious if others here are in CC Debt? What has worked for you to pay it down, especially if your living paycheck to paycheck. How much debt aprox have you accumulated and paid off using your "system". I am looking for some words of wisdom :-)

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So What Happened?

Which kit should I buy on his website, there are so many, lol!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Definitely Dave Ramsey. The man is a financial GENIUS. Follow his system (easy to understand, hard to DO) and you'll be debt-free in no time!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Get his book for free from the library, and listen to his show for free on the internet (same web site from 2-5 pm est, or google "Dave Ramsey internet radio" for other times on regular radio stations around the nation).

I just paid off my student loan from grad school (10 years) and paid off & closed three credit card accounts.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dave Ramsay, Dave Ramsay, Dave Ramsay, !!! Get a book.

We paid off ALL our credit card debt AND paid off our house. The amount is not important.

First and foremost:
CUT UP ALL CARDS!!! If you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it.
Minimize all monthly expenses (phones, cel phones, cable, paper delivery, eating out, groceries, etc.)
Start with saving a "baby" emergency fund of $1000. (for unexpected, necessary expenses.)
Pay minimums on all cards until O. is paid off (this will be the smallest O.), then add THAT payment to the next largest bill, etc. etc. That is the debt snowball. Continue until all cards are paid off.
Save 3 to 6 months of living expenses for your emergency fund.
NO CAR PAYMENTS. Eliminate your car payments by selling the vehicles and buying cash cars. OR pay off your cars ASAP. Car payments are a HUGE drain on disposable income. Millionaires will NOT buy a new car. The depreciation is just too ridiculous!
You can do this. Basic concept: live on less than you make. Not hard. Save up for what you want.
I allowed my hubby to make an exception when he bought his Harley. We carry no other debt and save monthly for taxes, Christmas, etc.
The idea: Live like no O. else so you can live like no O. else!
Good luck. It can be done. We're proof. We were never hugely in credit card debt (maybe 10K) but the principles work for everyone.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Check out Dave Ramsey. His Debit Snow Ball is really a great thing and is working wonders for us.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I am not proud to say that at one point in my young adult life, I amassed cc debt in the vicinity of $30,000.00. I am proud to say, however, that I paid it off, myself, EVERY CENT.

Not knowing much about debt and paying it off in those days, I used a credit counseling agency that consolidated all my debt, and lowered the interest rates some, and paid one monthly payment for almost 4 years.

If I were doing it now, I'd most definitely follow Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover plan. He's a genius. He gives you an actual plan to follow that not only makes sense and gets you out of debt, but it also helps you become financially responsible and stable. His plan involves hard work and taking a hard look at yourself and your spending. But it works.

I have to tell you that the day I made my last payment on my debt was, next to the day my son was born, the happiest day of my life. Wishing that same relief to you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know what your monthly bills are but when I was in debt I was living paycheck to paycheck. I took a hard look at where my money was going and discovered the reason I was in such debt was that I was living outside my means. I cut off the cable, got a prepaid phone card, bagged my lunches, rented movies instead of going to the theater, read a lot of books from the library instead of going to the mall, coupon clipped for groceries and cut all the luxury corners. All the money I saved from doing that I threw into my cards. It was tough but I was able to payoff everything in three years. Now I manage my money better and have been 100% debt free for 15 years. I never got cable again and put the money I would spend on that into a savings account. Over the years I saved enough to buy a nice used car last year!

oh, my debt was $15,000 when I started.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read the other answers, but spending money to learn how to get out of debt seems counterproductive.

We did the snowball technique. Instead of paying a little extra on each, we paid the minimum on everything but one bill (typically the smallest). That one we paid whatever we had been paying on it, plus the extra we'd been paying on the others. When that was paid off, we moved on to the next one. That technique along with applying my husband's overtime wages toward our debt allowed us to reduce our debt from $18K (including the balances on two cars) down to about $6K, as well as saving up enough money for a downpayment on a house in about 24 months.

Best wishes,

S. :+)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

First you need to make a budget. Track EVERYTHING you spend for one month. In addition to the usual bills (mortgage, cell, electric) I have a column for clothes, eating out, spending money, medical, etc. I kept track for a month then altered my budget accordingly. Each month I can't be sure how much I'll spend but I have an 'idea' of what I'll spend in each slot. Husband and I also get $20 a week to spend on whatever we want (eating out, cigarettes, beer, etc). Every month you should plan on spending EVERY dollar you have in one of the categories. First, see if you can cut anything out (netflix, lower your internet speed, phone bills, etc). Second, see how much you are spending in groceries and see if you can cut that back. Then take all that extra money and put it towards your LOWEST credit card (regardless of the APR). Get that paid off in full (pay the lowest amount due on all other credit cards until the lowest is paid off). When that is paid off, move to the next one and add all the money you used to put on the first credit card. Anytime you get extra money, put it towards a credit card payment, especially out of cycle because that goes directly to principal and not interest. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Our debt wasn't astronomic (about $5000) and we didn't use any system, just common sense. We didn't go out, didn't buy things that we could not afford and paid every single penny that we didn't spend on food or fixed costs towards our debt.
It wasn't easy, and it sucked that we couldn't afford all the nice new toys and cars and what not our friends had - but it didn't take terribly long to pay it off.
I think the biggest mistake people make is pay of some or all of their debt and immediately starting to accrue new debt - so you get into that neverending cycle.
I personally think you have to see it like a diet. If you go on a crash diet, all that weight that you loose is eventually going to come back and then some. Only if you make permanent changes to your spending habits and really change the view you have on owning/buying stuff you will evetually be able to get out of the rat race.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

DON'T BUY ANYTHING!! It doesn't make sense to spend money to try to get out of debt.

Go to the library and borrow Dave Ramsey's book for free. Take notes and go from there.

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answers from Kansas City on

we are doing Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover and I'm a stay at home mom of two and run a daycare so I don't make much but we have 19000 in cc debt and just paid off our first cc back in Sep. We do the envelope system for everything through out the year aka kids stuff and car tags, christmas etc. It really is common since but we tried I don't know how many times we tried our selves to do it but once we read his book and did his plan we stuck to it and are so happy we are going to his live event in March I can't wait

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I just purchased the starter kit so we shall see if it works. It was $50 total (that includes S&H). The only bad thing is that I really didn'thave the $50 and tried to put it on a cc (I know, I know), but you can't use a cc so I used my debit card and will just have to put something else on the cc for right now.

If you order this and want to do this together please let me know

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answers from Houston on

Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey. If you can find a church in your area offering his Financial Peace it! It will change your life. If you can't do that, get the Total Money Makeover book and start your debt snowball. You can do it! Good luck and best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had about $15,000 in credit card debt coming out of graduate school. This was CC debt, NOT student loans, and I was making $44k out of school, so I OWED 1/3 of my GROSS income. Ugh. The basics of getting out of debt are: Spend Less, and Replace things you spend your money on with debt payments. Earn more, and use at least 50% of your extra earnings toward debt payments. This was a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix for my spending problems.
For me, this meant really looking at what I truly NEEDED to survive - pare down to the basics (a ROOF over your head (not necessarily a fancy HOUSE or apartment in an amazing neightborhood, but a ROOF), utilities (this means the heating bill, NOT Cable TV), transportation (can you take the bus 1x/week, or downsize your car payment?). Pay for these things first, then pay whatever debt payment you've commited to. Do this every paycheck. Then create a budget for the rest of your money with what is left over, including as many of your predictable expenses as possible (clothes, food, entertainment, etc.)
1. I figured out where my money was being spent, and where I could save. If you're living truly paycheck-to-paycheck, you need to scale back your basic expenses. Decrease your rent, or get a roommate. Stop eating out. Strategize your grocery bill - when I was getting out of debt, I limited my weekly grocery bill to $40 for dry pasta, bread, oatmeal, milk, eggs, 4 basic veggies, and a "splurge item" like a special spice, cheese or meat. Cancel Cable (it makes you spend money comparing your lifestyle to unreal people on TV). Stop going to Starbucks (at $5/day that's $150/month or $1800!/year!).
2. I canceled ALL catalogs that were coming to my house. Any catalog you look at makes you want to buy things that are out of your budget if you are trying to get out of debt. And again, just like TV, you start comparing your life to pictures of people whose lifestyle is fake.
3. I stopped going shopping unless I absolutely needed something. NO BROWSING, NO MALLS. And I didn't "shop" when I needed something - I bought specific things I needed. (i.e. black heels under $60 vs. "shoe shopping")
4. This one was actually a lifestyle enhancement - I started having friends over for pot-luck evenings of pizza, wine, cards or movie night instead of going to restaurants. This was a 1x/week thing that was really fun. I spent $30 on pizza, and my friends brought wine. Totally fun entertainment.
5. I replaced a lot of entertainment things with free expense things - instead of going for brunch with friends, we met for hikes. Instead of going on a big vacation, we went to a National or State park. We started going to free museum days, etc.
6. I literally FROZE my credit card (put it in a zip lock bag in the freezer)! It meant I really had to think about making purchases that weren't in my slimmed-down budget, but if I had an emergency, I COULD get my card, thaw it out & get to it.
7. I switched to cash for most things. I put a "secret" $20 in my car in case I needed emergency gas, but otherwise, I had a weekly allowance that I had to stick to. My goal was to stay within my weekly allowance enough to have a "treat" on Saturday, like a glass of wine out with friends, or a Starbucks.
8. EARN MORE: this is harder, but for me, it meant signing up for overtime EVERY WEEKEND, EVERY HOLIDAY for a year. I had the kind of job that this really added up, and all this extra income went directly to debt payment. But also, I did things like worked at my Dad's store over holidays when I was actually supposed to be on vacation. It was a different activity than my real job, so it wasn't a burden.
9. Since you're on mamapedia, it might be tougher with kids, but I still think you can replace things that cost money with things that are free. LA Magazine has a great chart of free intitutions which have a lot of great kid-friendly options:
10. Enlist help from family & friends who will be supportive. In my case, it was surprising how many people were also going through the same thing. It also made it easier to adjust expectations around common activities once they new how important reducing my debt was. Be honest about where you stand financially, and make it a priority to improve your fiscal health.
11. Figure out a way to keep track of your debt reduction like on a spreadsheet. Celebrate (without a big financial hit) each month that you don't incur NEW debt, and when you reach key milestones, like 10% debt reduction, 25%, etc.

I hope this helps! It's not easy, but you can do it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

There are many things you can do, I am not an expert and can not give you any legal advice, but I do have a degree in Economics am finishing up my law degree focusing on asset management (which includes financial planning, wills/trusts/estates/bankruptcy etc.).

First stop using all of your credit cards (take them out of your wallet and put them in a safe or other safe place so you will not be tempted to use them freely - but do NOT close the accounts once they are paid off, just stop using them), next make more than one payment a month, by paying more than once a month the way the interest is compounded is greatly reduced (depending on your exact terms etc. this can vary but two payments is almost always better than one - for anything you are paying interest on, including a mortgage or car payment). If you pay the minimum payment plus 10 percent a month you will pay your cards down faster and reduce the interest you will pay - all of this advice depends on a LOT of factors, such as how many cards you have and your total amount of debt, the interest rates and how the interest is applied. Those with more debt need more agressive plans then those with less debt. These are just a few things you can do to pay down your credit cards sooner.

I encourage you to read/watch Suze Orman, she is great and can really help you get out of debt soon (she has a cable show, i think on MSNBC, and has written a dozen or more books on this sort of thing and gives amazing advice).

It is important to note that in times of recession it is often more important to have a savings (i.e. pay off your debt slower, so you have some cash on hand in emergencies - this is because if you pay off all of your credit cards but have no cash, your credit cards may be closed (by the credit card company) and you would be left with no cash or credit).

I would also note, I do not know your situation but bankruptcy law can help many people who have a lot of debt and little income and can give you a fresh start (basically erasing your debt, and in many cases you keep your home, cars, personal possessions etc.) - I would only recommend it if you are really overwhelmed with debt and feel you can not pay the debt off in a reasonable period of time (a few years).

I hope this info gives you something to consider and helps at least a little. Good luck to you and congratulations on trying to pay off your debt and become more fiscally responsible. Fiscal responsibility is important not only for individuals but for our nation as a whole. We, as Americans, must learn to live within our means if we ever want to get out of our national economic crisis.



answers from Las Vegas on

I would suggest Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I know his books are on sale right now for $10 on his website, but you could also check them out from the library. We started listening to him on the radio and he has changed our lives and our marriage. For the first time in 12 years of marriage, we are finally debt free! Our last debt to pay off was our SUV, which was paid off in October.

We also attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, which was a 13 week course. Each week they discuss different topics and make learning about money, investing, insurance, etc. simple and easy.

We had accumulated approx $33,000 worth of debt (credit card and car loan) and busted our tails to pay it off within 5 months. We sold everything we could, worked OT, took side jobs.... anything and everything we could to make the extra money. We also stopped going to the store unless absolutely necessary - you wouldn't believe how much money that saved us!

Good luck! Dave Ramsey is a great man who helps millions of people - us included.



answers from Las Vegas on

When I met my husband almost 10 years ago, he had about $10,000 in CC debt, and a few thousand left on his car. We lived really cheap for a couple of years (I was in college and he made very little money), but we just lived off my meager income, and he put all of his toward his debt. If you are going to do it, you just have to work on saving as much money as possible to put into your credit card. I didn't buy any program, we just didn't do much that cost money and lived in a really cheap apartment. After we paid off his debt, we have not gone back in since. Now, we always pay cards off every month (I get cash back as well, so make money for using them), have one car that we share (saves a huge amount of money), and try to put money into our IRAs and savings before we use it for non essentials like vacations, extra stuff we don't need, etc. Our only debt is our mortgage, we even bought our current car with cash (would have let the last go until it died, but it was totaled).



answers from New York on

At one point we had about $8,000 in cc debt.

I paid it off by using common sense. We only purchased items we truly needed, not wanted. I would still occassionally use my cards in order to keep them active. I always paid at least double the minimum payment.

One huge question, do you have good or bad credit? We had good credit, just lots of debt.

I played the credit card transfer game. You know where you transfer your balance from one card to another to get the low introductory rate for 6 months. Then after 6 months you transfer it again. Keep in mind that during this time, your also making payments, the difference is since there's little or no interest the debt is getting paid down faster.

Also, if you have good credit and are paying high interest rates, you can write or call the cc company and request that your rates be lowered. Threaten to transfer to another company, they won't want to loose your business.

A few other things that helped....

Interest is calculated daily, so don't wait until the due date to pay. Make the payment as soon as you can. Consider making 2 or 3 smaller payments each month, rather than one large one.

Pay down the cards with the highest interest rate first.

Good luck.



answers from Visalia on

To answer your "what happened" question: You don't have to buy a kit, just a book. The Total Money Makeover book is the best in my opinion. Or, like others have said, check it out from the library. Then if you like what you're reading you could get your own copy.



answers from Milwaukee on

Crown Ministries--check them out. Absolutely wonderful.



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with everyone on here about researching Dave Ramsey's program. I kind of thought it was a sham, until I saw everyone CONSTANTLY talking about it on here. Many of the things make sense. I am currently working on snowball my debt pay off. I am making my last payment on my first card in January and will be adding the min. payment to my next lowest card (he is right you need to start with your LOWEST debts first and add them to your next lowest and etc. You see success MUCH sooner). So, now I'll be paying 40 each month on that card instead of 15. Then I'll take the 40 and add it to the next min. making that payment each month 65. So the cards start to pay off faster and faster. After I finish my credit card debt, I'm tackling my car debt (Unfortunately, I am not able to just sell and buy a new car, but I got a pretty reliable car so I'm hoping it will last me a while so that I can start building all my nest eggs and such and be able to buy them outright when I need a new one). I'm also hoping that the extra money I'm not spending each month on my car and my credit cards will start to cover my student loans, which I have quite a few of. I think it will take me a while, but from the math that i've done, once I get the cc paid off I will be bringing in an extra 350 a month and once I get the car, it will be an extra 620. I do like that the cc statements are starting to put the "if you pay this much, you'll pay it off in this many years" on the statements as it is giving me an idea of how long it will take me once I tack on more money.

It is difficult because I keep having something come up here and there that I have to cover while I'm trying to pay things off at the same time. For example, I'll have to be paying hospital bills come this next year. But, I've found you just have to focus on one pay off at a time or you become overwhelmed by the other stuff that might be adding on at the same time.



answers from Honolulu on

Personally I would find a library and get the total money makeover. it is a fast read and you don't really need to buy the book.

Actually any thing by Dave Ramsey is good to check out.



answers from Los Angeles on

I pay the minimum payments on all the cards but one. The lowest one. I try to double up or better on that one and pay it off. Then I go to the next lowest. The hardest part is not using the paid off one and restarting the process... =)
Good luck!

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