Climbing out of debt can be hard, but it is certainly possible. I initially started searching Personal Fianance Blogs a year ago to find a way to climb out of debt myself. RedCouch hosts a blog and isn’t so sure about them, but they’re thriving and helping now! There were not as many as there are now; which is nice because it gives people more view and choices on how to do it, but all the info is VERY spread out. I figured it would be helpful to put all the info in one place to best help folks climb out! This is my attempt at helping those folks that have been in my shoes, and SaveLeighAnn‘s shoes also who climbed out in just 1 year!
So almost 4 years ago on my climb, I moved into my first house, needed to buy first furniture, had a first kid (with one on the way), needed to get a first new car , first car seats, first diapers, the “FIRST” works! But kept my head about it all and this year started to blog a bit about it and prove that it CAN be done! It takes some frugality (which is NOT a dirty word) and planning, but CAN happen if you keep your priorities in order! The blogs out there now are prime examples of people trying to claw their way back into the black. I dug and looked through several in the past year and a few of my favorites were:
Several of the Personal Finance Blog folks have posted about the issue as well and I have gained a good chunk of knowledge from them. Free Money Finance, Get Rich Slowly, and JeffLindsay were a few I gandered at regularly, and the posts they offer are EXTREMELY helpful in digging through all the crap that people keep trying to stick you with when you are that low. It almost seems like companies TRY to kick you when you’re down (in debt) more often than when you climb out because they KNOW you’re trying to find a way out! That’s actually something I thought about also when I was that far in debt; people/companies will prey on you because they know your mentality.
I was watching ol’ Suze Orman last week (not advertising for her, but she does have some things I agree with, but some that I don’t), and someone called her up on her “Can I Afford It” section of her show. There was a guy on it that was asking if he could afford a $3,000 lawnmower. He was $88,000 dollars in debt and I thought to myself, “Is he SERIOUS????, There is NO WAY he could afford that! What would lead him to believe he can???”
Well his rational was that he was already $88,000 in debt and $3,000 more would just put him at $91,000 in debt which woul ONLY be a 3% increase on his debt, and if he was paying off that much anyway, that it would just be a “drop in the bucket”.
Well, as much as I didn’t agree with him, I guess I DID understand where he was coming from. As bad and wobbly of a point as it was, he still believed it. I think that is the mindset of someone in debt. It is like climbing a hill that you can’t even see the top yet. Tacking on another 300 yards at the top, you’re not even going to notice. It’s a bad mindset to be in, but I like to look at both sides of the coin, and yes, I can SEE that side of it, but I certainly don’t agree with it.
My mindset, on the otherhand, I scrimped on EVERYTHING when I was climbing out of debt, I would save $0.88 chili for the next day to only spend $0.44 a day on lunch. Without going into the details of everything I scrimped on, I was very cheap because I KNEW I had to pay off the debt first. Getting-Out-Of-Debt has some good info on saving and getting by cheaply. My path worked with frugality, and a properly goal in mind. Now I don’t have the debt, and pay my credit card off each month to avoid late payments, make all my others on time, because I KNOW I have to stay on top of the debt to stay out of its ugly path! Once the collection agencies start calling you, it is obvious you’re in some trouble. Some info about debt collection can be found @ CaliforniaDebt.
Furthermore, the person that was 88k in debt and didn’t see a reason NOT to go to 91k in debt couldn’t see it like some can. When I think about buying something costing $3,000, I think I’ll be $3,000 in debt, and from 0, that is a 3,000% increase in debt vs. the 3% increase for “lawnmower man”. I imagine that is how he was looking at it, but needed to clear the debt blockade first to realize it was a bad decision. Key point: DIG OUT OF DEBT FIRST!!! You’re most certainly paying the credit card companies to produce MORE credit cards to dig America FURTHER in debt! Stop the insanity!!! Here’s a debt consolidation calculator to help from DebtNation.
Everyone seems to be searching for “tips for getting out of debt”, and thankfully, there are debt-free folks that are out there and WILLING to help! DebtConsolidationStrategy, TheFinancialBlogger, MillionDollarJourney, TheMoneyBlog, DebtLowdown, ZenHabits, Blankenship, and TimeToBudget, all have very good posts that are willing and showing people the best strategies to take. Read them carefully and most importantly you need to THINK before you make that next big purchase because it is NOT the amount you’ll be in debt, but amount FURTHER you’ll be in debt if you don’t pay it off first! After that, it is an easy decision of just finding places to stash your money in your OWN pocket and building wealth!