How we paid off $30,000 of debt

Posted on January 1, 2010. Filed under: 1 |

One morning just before Thanksgiving, with our 2-year-old playing with trucks on the living room floor, my husband got out the laptop, put on a rockin’ Talking Heads song, and . . .

We logged on to our bank account and sent the final payment for our !@#$% credit card!

Then we gave each other a big high-five.After five and a half years of marriage — plus a child, a relocation, the purchase of a new home and a career change — we finally had paid off nearly $30,000 worth of debt.

How’d we do it? I’d like to tell you there was one “holy cow” magic bullet that finally bailed us out.

You know, you become the Olympic budgeting champion overnight, or your husband sells that screenplay. Or the quilt from Aunt Ada turns out to be worth $100,000 because of its rare use of vintage materials from Kmart.

But none of that happened.

No fairy tales

If I had to pinpoint a key transition that paved the way to our debt freedom, it was when we both — silently — admitted there was no fairy tale ending to this stupid situation.  

We would have to tighten our belts, gird our loins, roll up our sleeves — pick your metaphor — and do it all. And we:

Fight the war on all fronts

The recipe for getting out of debt almost reads like a list of financial clichés to me now. (If you’re a faithful Women in Red reader, maybe it does to you, too.) 

But as I look back on the past nearly six years, I can see that each step played a role. And the whole get-out-of-debt process requires fighting a war on many fronts. 

When you win one battle, it leads to victory in another:
  • If we hadn’t adjusted our lifestyle expectations, we would not have been able to cut expenses. 
  • If we hadn’t cut expenses, we wouldn’t have been able to triple our payments. 
  • If we hadn’t overcome bad habits, our budget would have failed more often than it did. 
  • And if we hadn’t kept on top of our budget, we might not have conquered the bad habits.

It takes more than money

Spending money is what gets you into debt; saving money is what will get you out of it.  

I agree with that. But based on all the research I’ve read about how and why people spend, it’s also essential to change your habits — how you think, how you live, how you spend and how you eat. (See “Is debt your destiny?“)

You have to begin to live the debt-free life long before you’re debt-free. That’s what we finally mastered.

I had to give up not just the habit of careless shopping but the habit of letting myself want things. We learned to live below our means.

 

We slowly developed the ability to discuss money with each other — and with other people. A big milestone for me was telling friends what I could or couldn’t afford. It’s painful to tell a friend you don’t have the money to attend her birthday weekend at a fancy resort, but I did it.

We monitored our spending and worked on our budget all the time, and we still do. We cut extraneous expenses: cable TV, the gym, eating out. (See “How to quit the gym (or anything).”) Until our son was born, we made do with one cell phone.

Butdoisay comment>A very good article for those who do not want to discuss about money with their spouses but are always crying broke.Its always important to discuss about the cash flow in a family so that you can plan or have a good budget that will enable you to invest ,save money and get out of debt.

Article borrowed from MSN.

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