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2/02/2015 4:14 pm  #1

Journey to debt freedom

So one thing that some of you might not know about me is that in addition to the YDR, I also worked full-time and then part-time for some years writing for a now-defunct personal finance site about my then-husband and I's battle to pay off $90,000 in credit card debt. 

Yeah, you read that right. It wasn't pretty. 

You can get the background on that whole hotness over on Man Vs. Debt. The site has ceased publication and so the numbers there are old... plus I've recently gotten (very amicably) divorced and so now the finances are a bit different anyway.

BUT. One thing I miss is being accountable about my debt-payoff efforts. Having to make them public every month was a huge motivator to me to put more money aside throughout the month to hit as much above the minimum on my cards as I could. 

So I'm wondering if you guys would humor me in doing that here? You don't have to read it, but it would help me start my new financial paradigm to know I "have to" come clean and check in, you know? And maybe along the way more of us can talk and share stories about debt and that sort of thing?



I'm just here for the party.

2/02/2015 4:22 pm  #2

Re: Journey to debt freedom

I see no harm in keeping yourself accountable via this forum.

BTW last year we paid off the mortgage, used the "used to pay $" to pay off the car loan early, and for nearly nine months we have been totally debt free.

It is a tremendous feeling of liberation.

Life is an Orthros.

2/02/2015 4:26 pm  #3

Re: Journey to debt freedom

THAT IS THE FEELING I WANT. So, so, so, so, so, so bad. We had gotten pretty far toward it (at least comparatively), though the mortgage is its own beast, but things changed and it got farther away instead of closer.

One thing about being individually responsible for my finances - I can set my own priorities and goals. And for me, it's about that feeling of not "having to" do certain things because of the money I owe. I cannot wait to get there.

I'm just here for the party.
     Thread Starter

2/02/2015 6:19 pm  #4

Re: Journey to debt freedom

I have been where you are Joan.  When I was married my husband and I managed to rack up $70K in credit card debt.  The debt accumulated for a variety of reasons...medical expenses not covered through insurance (particularly fertility treatments), major household repairs (hot water heater being one of them), and even daily living expenses like groceries and clothes when my then-husband went through periods of unemployment.  Little did I know my ex was also spending money on the credit cards I knew nothing about...until I saw the statements arrive in the mail, or miscellaneous receipts lying around the house.  It was a vicious cycle that only continued to worsen over time, until we got to the point in 2010 we had to file bankruptcy.  

The debt was a major contributor to my divorce in 2012.  However, like yourself, I really like having the ability to set my own priorities and goals as far as finances are concerned.  I have no one else to answer to, and the responsibility lies solely on me. If I sink or swim, I have no one to point to but myself.  

I am a cash-only purchaser and have no credit cards anymore, and it's truly a very liberating feeling.  I budget very carefully, live within my means, and cut out spending on things that are simply not a priority for me.  A little bit of sacrifice is totally worth the ability to sleep comfortably at night, knowing I am no longer facing a mountain of debt.

Carpe Diem!

2/02/2015 6:50 pm  #5

Re: Journey to debt freedom

Need to add that I'd never had any credit card debt--yes, did have some deparment store cards but always paid them within the grace period because I never could stomach 25-30% interest (who ever, ever, got interest like that on any financial savings instrument?) and I had been raised by parens who believed in "saving up" for major purchases   Loans were for houses and vehicles, that's it.

Life is an Orthros.

2/02/2015 7:02 pm  #6

Re: Journey to debt freedom

Debt is a cruel master.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

2/02/2015 8:46 pm  #7

Re: Journey to debt freedom

I can honestly say I wish I didn't have credit card debt (and don't currently use credit), but I also can say that there were points in the past where those cards were the only thing keeping a roof over Sarah's and my head, so I'm grateful to them. And grateful that I CAN pay them off... we have been close to bankruptcy in the past but thankfully I have a job now where I can get them all paid off for good. 

Interestingly I have almost no "purchases" to show for my debt... most of it was medical bills from having a problematic pregnancy without health insurance, and then house repairs like the time our basement had to have mega mold remediation after water damage. The biggest tangible thing I have to show is our new heat pump.


So to put it out there, here's where I'm starting 2015 from, for the debts that are my responsibility

Discover card: $5,205.05 (Very Next Step: below $5,000)
Union Plus Mastercard: $5,958.76 (Very Next Step: below $5,800)
Citi Visa: $4,028.93 (Very Next Step: below $4,000, very doable!!!)

Plus my Honda Financial lease: $17,939.24

And, of course, there's the $194,000-some mortgage, but that's still a joint venture with my ex and, quite frankly, outside the purview of what I'm worried about at this point. My goal is to get all of the credit cards paid off in the two years and two months between now and when the car lease comes up for purchase, which is doable but pretty extremist (it's VERY likely I could have 2 of the 3 gone, not as likely the 3rd.)

My first goal is to tackle that Citi Visa... it's closed, locked at 12.74% APR, and small enough that I can get it gone fast and free up $100 or so a month that can go toward the next!

So that's where I start!

Last edited by jconcilio (2/02/2015 8:48 pm)

I'm just here for the party.
     Thread Starter

2/02/2015 9:09 pm  #8

Re: Journey to debt freedom

That is a very good plan.

Check in with us in about three months....and if we don't hear from you, be prepared for a deluge of questions.

Life is an Orthros.

2/02/2015 9:37 pm  #9

Re: Journey to debt freedom

Haha, I am going to have to post updates every month whether you like 'em or not. That's what keeps me accountable!

I'm just here for the party.
     Thread Starter

2/03/2015 2:35 am  #10

Re: Journey to debt freedom

I discovered a long time ago that I simply can't handle unsecured credit.

It was one hell of an up-hill battle resisting all the amazing offers I would receive (like they were doing me some kind of favor).

Unless there's something I can see or touch (a house, a car, something that I can lose if I default), I stay away from it.

I'm mostly a cash only kind of guy now and I intend to stay that way.

Just an aside, great to see you Joan!  

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again


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