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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
New to this board
6
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 12:54am
I've been reading all the posts and was motivated to see how deep I am in debt. I actually found the nerve to total it all up. The total is $22,317. Yikes, it's scary to even type that number. But, it does feel good to at least put it out there. I've been to scared and ashamed to face it. I've been ready to do something about it, but I think this is just the motivation I needed. Any advice for getting started?

Kelly
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 10:05am
Welcome kellyp1337! You have found a supportive group of people who have "been there and done that." Here at the DSG we offer lots of emotional support to one another as we struggle to get out of debt. Each person has found their own way of doing this and has much to share to help a newcomer. It sounds like you have an excellent start with tallying up the total and facing the facts. That is tough! You faced the facts and now you will devise your personal plan to be solvent. The websites I mention in the last paragraph have helped me. Other folks will share their experience and what helped them. Just read, study and follow what speaks to you and in time you will be debt-free.

We have a weekly check-in on Mondays. Try to be sure that you check-in then as well as posting often and becoming a part of our caring community. Please check out all the other Money boards as well. Many newbies find the Debt Questions and Answers Board to be an important source of information as they are starting out.

I urge you to visit http://www.quicken.com/planning/debt/ and use the Quicken Debt Reduction Planner to calculate how long it will take you to get out of debt with a reasonable payment plan. http://www.debtorsanonymous.org is a valuable website for understanding this affliction of compulsive debting. I have found http://www.flylady.net to be an important source of help for simplifying my life and dealing with the blues and a general sense of depression that I struggled with when deep in debt. And lastly I always ask people to check out http://www.cheapskatemonthly.com, Mary Hunt's website is a source of much helpful information and inspiration.

We are glad you joined our group! We welcome you with open arms and hope that you come back often.

cl-12by10

Avatar for mrslove2000
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 6:44pm
Welcome Kelly!! You have taken, in my opinion, the hardest and largest step to getting out of debt. I know exactly what you are going through. That first look at the total is really scary, however, now is the time to continue your progress. When I first started to get control of my debt, I made sure everyone in the family knew what the focus was going to be. It took a few months before DH understood how important this was to me and our family's future. Now he is just as excited about being debt free as me. Next, I started tracking our spending using Microsoft Money (some others prefer Quicken and I think budgetmap(?)) That really helped me figure out "where" all of our money went each week. It was surprising to see that we were spending nearly $400 for groceries and another $300 eating out each month (there is only 3 of us) Then, I started "snowflaking". Seeing the debt go down each month has been very motivating for me. Check out the web page link on the DSG home page. While on the Snowflaking page, check out the recommended reading link. A lot of the books give different tips to help take control of your debt. I also like the links on the previous post. I have found them to be really helpful, too. I recently checked out Flylady and that has helped me get organized, resulting in less late payments and missed payments which end up costing a fortune.

Best of luck to you. Please continue to post and keep us up to date on your progress!!

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 7:21pm
I really agree with Susan, you've got to take your time and figure out what you've been doing with your money and get your whole family in on it. We took a full year to track our expenses, cutting expenses here and there probably every other month, cutting credit cards up and cancelling them every other month too once we realized we didn't need them.

You've really got to have your spouse on board with you, or all your plans are for nothing and it won't work. It also won't work if you try to put every penny you can on your debt, you need to allow for some fun things for yourself and your family. Golden rule number one though is definitely 'no more debt', cut up those cards!

I really like the Mary Hunt book Debt Proof Living and cheapskatemonthly.com website, she teaches how to do all this tracking and expense cutting and how to create funds to fund odd expenses without having a sudden whopper amount of expenses ruin a month for you. You start paying the minimum payments on her plan, but you don't lower them when the bank lowers them, you keep paying that static amount, and your debt is paid much faster than if you paid minimums. (6 years versus 25 years in our situation!)

Good luck , there are alot of good books out there, now that you've realized what you want to do it's just a matter of finding the route that works best for you.

I also like the free software called Debt Relief available at www.debtanalyzer.com , you put your debt information in, play around with repayment scenarios to your hearts content. Mary Hunt's site also has alot of calculators, but you have to pay to use them.

Lorraine

Avatar for mymartes
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 9:40pm
Kelly,

welcome to the board. look forward to reading your posts. don't be ashamed of your debt. concentrate on reducing it and becoming debt free.

mym

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 11:07pm
Thanks for all your advice and support. I'm feeling really good about getting started. I looked at where all our money was going and I know there are several places I can reduce spending. My goal for this week has been to take my lunch to work. It is just out of laziness that I haven't in the past, which makes no sense because it is more time consuming to go out and buy something. Not to mention the fact that homemade lunches taste better than grabbing a quick bite of fast food. Also, I attempted to plan meals for the week and base my shopping list on the plan. I'm sure there are still many ways I can reduce our grocery spending. THere are only 2 of us and we seem to spend a lot on groceries by not planning ahead.

Everyone on this board is so supportive. It has really helped me to get started tackling this situation.

Thanks,

Kelly
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 8:26am
Congratulations on facing your fear, and adding up that total! The scariest part is over, it'll just take hard work from here.

My advice is to learn learn learn. Learn about debt reduction, causes of debt, ways to save, ways to earn. Take books out of the library, and post here often.

We can do it! Best of luck!

Lee Ann

Lee Ann

www.werenotafraid.com