"Aggressively Paying Down Debt"

Getting Out of Debt Stories

A couple of years ago I had over $3000 in credit card debt, $2000 left on my car payments, and very little money in savings.

Every little setback I had, like if my dog needed to go to the vet, I needed new tires for my car, there was a problem with my gym membership and I was double-billed, etc. would be a huge thing that would be incredibly stressful for me.

Finally I had had enough.

I had wanted to save money for years and I promised every year I would, but it never happened. I had trouble setting a budget for groceries - I'd always go over. I loved shopping and it made me feel better. I liked to treat my boyfriend sometimes to a nice dinner out or baseball tickets.

But all that stopped. I stopped spending money on everything that was non-essential, and forced myself to use my paycheck only for bills, debt repayment, and basic living expenses.

It was really hard and I felt very deprived sometimes. I was only making $20,000 a year, and I felt like I couldn't afford any of the little luxuries I enjoyed so much.

But eventually I started making some headway, and I started seeing my savings increase. I got close to paying off my credit card, and I completely paid off my car loan. I started saving for things seriously, in differently labeled savings accounts: 'Future' 'Wedding' 'Vacations' 'Vet bills' 'Car replacement' (hopefully not for years, but I intend to pay for the next one in cash!)

I encouraged my boyfriend to save and pay off his debt as well, and we recently took money out of our savings to pay off $4000 of credit card debt he had left. Now we are debt free except for a few thousand dollars' worth of student loans between the two of us.

I still don't make much money, but because of aggressively paying down debt, and using my money for savings, and living frugally, I CAN afford little luxuries now (within moderation!) and we are saving for a house, a wedding, and a honeymoon among other things.

Contributed by Lara from Boston

USA Bankruptcy Guide : Getting Out of Debt Stories : Aggressively Paying Down Debt