I know that it is a difficult time for some people, especially families. Maintaining the lifestyle you used to live is no longer possible. It is a devastating blow to realize you can no longer enjoy the things in life, at least the ones that cost money.
Zach and I set out to reduce our debt back in January 2009. It has been a LONG journey, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In 2009, we had nearly $50,000 worth of debt. To us, that amount was astronomical. Huge. A number we had never wanted to see, unless it was in our checking ledger.
We were not sure how to go about reducing this number, so we brought all our numbers to my Dad. It was great to be accountable to someone, other than ourselves.
Shortly after chatting about out finances, we received out income tax return. We paid off 2 credit cards and a personal loan....eliminating nearly $6000.00 worth of debt.
We continued the next year, making at least the minimum payments on each debt while trying to pay more on one card (or debt) at a time. I didn't feel we made much progress....this is slow, and agonizing....boring. I am more of an instant gratification girl, lol.
Once we received our next return we paid off even more debt! We paid off about $5000.00 worth of debt. I love income tax return time. It lifts my spirits in so many ways.
At this point, we ran into some financial issues. My husband job was taking away $600 a month from his usual pay, and we were in a panic. We seriously considered filling for bankruptcy because we knew we could not continue with our current debt and survive on his meager pay check.
However, in March of 2010, we sold Zach's truck....eliminating about $17,000.00 worth of debt. Thank god. I will never miss that truck. Ever. I didn't even tell you the worst thing about the truck....it was costing us $663 a month, just in the loan payment. Include: registration, insurance, routine service. Seriously, ridiculous. We will never purchase a brand new vehicle again.
We continued making payments and reducing our debt, and I was finally getting excited.
Zach ended up getting a promotion in December 2010, thank goodness, and that really lifted our spirits and increased our bi-weekly paycheck. For the first time (as of Jan. 2011) we made more money than our expenses required.
We paid off this debt all while Zach was making only $13-$14.50/hour.....and I stayed home with Jack and Ady. So, ANYONE can reduce their debt.
Over the next few weeks I will be giving you some helpful tips on how to save money. Things that my family and I used to decrease our expenses, and therefore increasing our ability to pay down our debt.
It is a long process, and I sympathize with people who are currently working through it, but I promise. It does get easier, and it will make all the difference in the world once the debt is gone.
Disclaimer - No, Zach and I are not completely out of debt. We owe $355 in medical bills, and a student loan. But, we are certainly moving in the right direction.