Going through college and living on my own, I accumulated over $30,000 in debt. I was convinced I would get a raise at work and be able to pay it off in no time… wow was I wrong!
That debt haunted me for ten years. After nine years of payments, I decided that enough was enough. At 29% interest, I felt like I was getting more behind every month.
I finally found Dave Ramsey, who showed me the light. His radio program is excellent, and his books on getting out of debt are down to earth and based on reality. After doing a budget on paper, showing my income and monthly expenses, what I came to realize was that I could not save enough each month to pay off the debt, so I had to increase my income. Yes, this means I got two new income streams. I began doing home health care on nights and weekends, and also began writing books.
It took me a whole year of working over 70 hours a week, every week… but I finally paid it all off. I have to be honest, it was the hardest I have ever worked in my life. However, it was absolutely worth it, and I hope to never have to work that hard again. The freedom from those monthly statements and that dreaded 29% interest gives me a great peace of mind.
My advice for anyone looking to get out of debt, be it over or under $30,000, is to sit down and get your budget on paper. It is much harder than it sounds, as it takes a great deal of honesty to fess up to what you are spending money on each month. Fast food, cable, cell phones, and clothing may surprise you in how much they are draining your monthly income.
There are two ways to tackle the debt – cut your monthly spending, and/or increase your income. It takes a lot of determination to get through the black shroud of debt, and you will likely have more than one trial on your path to becoming free of the debt. There are many people out there going through the exact same struggle, so take heart. Imagine what life will be like without that same 29% being taken away from you each and every month… it is money that actually stays in the bank. When your money stays in the bank, where it belongs, and out of the hands of creditors, you will have a whole new life in front of you. A much happier life indeed.