Not long after DH and I got married we got our first credit card together. A capital one card with a $300.00 limit. We already had bad credit because we lived together for a year first and dh is a compulsive gambler (he is now in recovery) The credit card came with a bunch of fees right of the bat. Then he charged a couple of things. Wham it was immediatley over the limit. We then struggled many years with his gambling issues and poor money management. We were procrastinators about paying bills, we would often spend our money first and then pay bills. Meanwhile this credit card continued to grow higher and higher because we were over the limit it had a 26% interest and a lot of time we wouldn't even open the envelope. I recently started snowflaking to this card and within 4 months took it from $1,400 + down to $277.00 I called them this morning when I came home from work and their automated machine told me. You have no available credit limit (I closed the account long ago)your balance is $277.00, and you do not owe a payment at this time! WOOOHOOO did I mention that it is now about 9 years since we originally opened this card?
Here is my tips, get support from people here that can be totally objective. Second get support from anyone else involved with the money that comes in and out of the house. 3rd and most importantly you have to earn more money than you spend each month, there is just no other way to get ahead. Last but not least, if you are a procastinator or bad money manager (meaning the money is there it's just not spent wisely)use your online bill pay through your bank. This was the life saver for me. I set most of my bills to come out automatically every 4 weeks. This way the come out on payday, if you do twice a month then the day can vary. By doing this I cannot spend my money before paying bills the bill money comes out close to when it goes in. Even savings is automatically transferred. Oh! and one more thing. Pay yourself, even if it's just a small amount, give yourself just a little bit of money for you, and your SO if there is one. Dh and I would be so broke that eventually we would snap and spend all kinds of money we didn't have because we just couldn't take being broke anymore. Now we have some money each month for just us. I have to admit I do get a "high" now from paying bills, caculating my budget and grocery shopping. It's amazing how much better you will start to feel when you can confront your financial woes and start seeing the balances going down instead of up.
I hope this helps someone!-Darcy