Delurking with my success story (long m)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Delurking with my success story (long m)
4
Sun, 04-20-2003 - 6:52am
I thought maybe you would like to hear my story. I have been cc debt-free ($4000) for 7.5 years and student loan debt-free ($20K) for two years. I know this is small potatoes compared to what some people have now but to me it was a lot. I had 7 cc's (mostly high-interest dept. store cards) and used my student loans to pay my cc's and car pmt while I finished school. I never used my degree and earned in the 20-25K range until two years ago when I became a SAHM.

I have to say - it does feel good to not have debt to worry about - but trust me, there is always something weighing us down. We buy a lot of used things that break on us for instance.

I think the biggest secret to my getting out of debt was reading books about real-life people who lived far below their means (albeit some were extreme - Tightwad Gazette) I had spent my 18-25 years feeling like my worth was based on the label on my jeans or the designer purse I carried. I never said no to dinners out, trips, lattes, etc. The only way I would not have to worry about debt was to gain some self-confidence that those things were not important and I looked just as good in garage sale clothes.

For two years I never shopped except for essentials. My entire wardrobe came from garage sales, gifts also (it's amazing what you find with tags on). I cooked with black beans, rice, and always made sandwhiches for lunch. I earned very little but once I started saving $50 a month it made me realize how important it is to take charge of your finances. My wedding was done cheaply and people felt comfortable being at a wedding that was strictly for fun - not for show. DH and I still have fond memories of the times with our tv on a folding chair, spending Sat night window shopping, going to matinees at cheap theatres. Our friends all had elaborate furnishings and cars, but we enjoyed our used belongings and had fun fixing things up.

So basically the secret for me was to feel confident and comfortable with what you have and seeing even little bits of money accumulate in savings. I also think it's important to pass this on to my children and we all plan to live way below our means for a long time. I have friends with Pottery Barn this, and SUV that and I appreciate those things, but don't need them. I try not to be smug to friends about how we live, I just accepted my change in lifestyle a long time ago and it's a change for good. Now if I could change my eating habits for good :)


Good luck to everyone - it can be done and you can enjoy life while doing it!!

Ann

Avatar for mrslove2000
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-20-2003 - 1:11pm
Ann

Thanks for an uplifting story. I still dream of that day when I don't worry about cc debt and DH and I are debt free. I have realized it was very easy to get into debt, however it takes patience and time to get out. Thanks again for delurking and sharing your story.

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-20-2003 - 10:19am
Hi Ann,

I came here this morning feeling very blue. We are going through some tough

times and I really needed a boost. Thank you for sharing your success story.

Fondly Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sun, 04-20-2003 - 9:27am
I admire you so much. Your balances would have been sky high if you had not instituted such a sane and wonderful plan early on. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.

You and your dh have peace of mind and no thing ever gave any of us that.

cl-12by10

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Sun, 04-20-2003 - 7:11am
Forgot to add some specifics:

It took me two years to pay off cc debt, five years to pay off student loans (year five we had used car paid off and put $1000/mo on my loans for five mos - this was drastic but I wanted to quit working to stay home with dd). After college I earned $8/hr first year, $25K for about two years, switched jobsearning $18K and then $25K the last year.

We also managed to put over $50K in savings during those five years I was paying off loans and dh earned around $26-40K during that time.

It was very scary facing all that debt out of college and NO job offers (I temped mainly receptionist jobs for two years) and I read stories here and I felt I would never be without those loans - but it can happen!!

Ann