The economy in today’s world is so topsy turvy. You can not expect anything to turn out how the professionals say it will. Who knows what country, state, company, or person will default on a bill? With money you can never expect anything. So what are we to do?
The average credit card debt in the USA is about $16,000. And with the economy and so many people loosing their jobs or receiving a pay deduction, the ability to handle the monthly bills much less the credit cards minimum payments is near impossible. There are so many different sources to help and give advice. Which ones should you follow? Which ones are really there to help you verse take your money to benefit them self? I could never understand why some one wanting to help others save money and get out from under the burden of debt would charge those in financial need.
To make things worse it seems that banks are trying to find ways to squeeze even more out of their customers. Many of us have dropped the credit card to turn to debit cards. The idea has always seem good. You still got to use a card and not carry cash, and yet did not have to worry about paying back the bill because it was automatically deducted out of your checking account. But with the Bank of America now going to charge debit card holders a monthly fee, and other raising their atm fees to near $5 a swipe, it seems like cash might becoming the new in thing. And why not?
Many of you who have been to Sarah’s class, might remember in the beginning she mentions how much debt I brought in to the marriage. It was a little over $10,000. In just about a year and a half we were able to get out of debt! How? Well we only made minimum wage and had to change our spending habits. We both made minimum wage. We ate cheap, very cheap. Our meals consisted of potatoes and at dinner would eat potatoes. Every now and then we added noodles or dumplings that were home made with flour and eggs when we had them. No it wasn’t fun, and no we didn’t enjoy weeks and years of potatoes. But the reward of being debt free out weighed the meals and thrifty life style.
How we managed to get out of debt so quick, on minimum wage was with a little note pad and a pen. Every day at my desk at work I would review and check my note pad. I set up my note pad with columns and and rows. Each row was designated a bill. I started on top with the most important. I wrote down the mortgage, then the car, the insurance, then utilities and on to the credit cards. With credit cards I figured out which ones had the highest interest rate and then figured out which had the highest balance. If the rates were similar I would write down which one had the lowest balance first. And the ones with the higher interest rate next. Each paycheck I divided out what little we made into to the columns on the note pad. As months went on I stapled them together and developed a little journal of our progress. As the columns and rows became smaller and smaller, we both began to realize how close we were to financial freedom.
That was over 10 years ago. Now a days with the internet and more and more information out there to help others, there are many ways online to accomplish a debt free life. One online resource we use in Mint.com. In line with my theory of not having to pay for things – Mint.com is FREE. In the next few days and weeks, we will review the steps to become debt free. Any questions you have on Mint.com feel free to comment here.
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