War on Debt: Comments, Questions, Concerns, Dreams for the future…?


In January, I declared war on our credit cards.  With over $11,000 dollars in credit card debt, I mapped out a basic plan to accomplish the goal of being free of credit cards by 2012.  And in the spirit of complete honesty, I’m going to share the nitty gritty details with all of you.  (*Names of creditors have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.)

It used to be that I dreaded the end of the month.  Because that’s when all the bills were due.   

But things are looking up these days and with an increased income from my new full-time position and our tax refund in the bank, I was able to pay all the bills today with plenty to spare.  It was exhilarating… 

But scary, too.  Because for so long I’ve had to track every dollar and pinch every penny to ensure there would be enough for the mortgage… utilities… food.  And I haven’t done that this month.  And I feel a little out of control.  And you know what that does to my OCD.

We are still adjusting to our new “budget.”  I say “budget” loosely because we really don’t have one.  We were in such a routine with our finances, I haven’t really had to follow a budget for awhile.  Our utilities were almost always the same each month.  We knew how much to allow for pharmacy costs.  Everytime I went to the grocery store, I spent about $40.  It was predictable. 

And even though our bills haven’t changed, something is different.  We’ve loosened our belt.  We’re buying things we have been putting off for over two years because we couldn’t afford them.  And I haven’t really sat down and organized those things yet.  So I feel like we’re bleeding money.  Especially after spending $100 for Matt and I to go out on a much needed date.  Who knew that dinner and a movie cost so much?

But to combat this spending anxiety, I’ve just opened up a couple new savings accounts so that I can limit the amount available in checking.  Because I know if I see money, I will spend money.  That’s the reason that I don’t carry cash.  Because I’m addicted to vending machines and I can’t be trusted to just say no to the Hostess cupcakes. 

However, on the positive side, we did manage was make a big dent in our credit cards this past month.  We paid a total of $1471.30 towards the debt, which caught us back up to our 12 month plan.   The best part was that I realized that in two short months, we have already reduced our credit card debt by nearly 16%.  One credit card is already paid off and another is well on it’s way.  Bye, bye, Dingo.  Back up off my baby.

February $79.97 $803.82 $48.00 $539.51

What are your tips for creating/managing your budget?

Next post in the War on Debt: Stop the Bleeding

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9 Responses to War on Debt: Comments, Questions, Concerns, Dreams for the future…?

  1. Shirley says:

    I hope next you strangle Chinchilla. We have recently started paying someone to do this for us. We pay her $70/month and she pays all of our bills and gives us an allowance and a spread sheet every month showing us everything we have paid and saved. Sure we could do it ourselves and save the $70 but budgets have always been a source of contention in our house and we feel so much relief that it is taken care of by someone else.

  2. thelittlebig says:

    Your struggles have completely parralled my own. We have been through some rocky financial times (see: our whole marriage), and we're just now paying off some debt and getting things in order. It's all because of Anthony's new job.

    We're also buying the things we lived without for so long. It's a little scary to spend money after not spending it for so long. It feels like I'm getting away with a crime.

  3. Sleppery says:

    Following from the blog hop. Please follow back :)

  4. SJT says:

    It is expensive to go out but necessary. Did you get the livingsocial movie deal? $9 for 2 tickets!! Check my link on fb or swagbucks has a deal too if you buy through them you get 315 sb as well! :)

  5. The Naked Mother says:

    It's an awesome feeling to knock out a credit card and head to the next one!

  6. StirSpoon says:

    Now that things are getting more in order it is time to start thinking about putting some of that 'extra' cash in to 401 or Roth savings for retirement. A rule I learned long ago is that you should 'pay yourself first'. Get that savings set aside, you never know when that nest egg may be needed for a larger nest!

  7. Ryan and Kim says:

    We sit down EVERY month. And we write down how much we have after bills and where it is going to go that month. Who needs haircuts? Which car needs oil change? And we set all our money aside in each category til we get to zero. Which includes church, kids savings, our savings, home, car, gas, eat out, entertainment, hair cuts, walgreens, etc. Then we hang a chart on the fridge with each category and the amount we have to spend for the month. Then we change the amount with every receipt. I love having a plan for where the money goes. And if it's a month with a trip to STL or elsewhere the gas budget goes up and less money goes to a different area. I have learned setting a firm budget doesn't work. It needs to be adjusted every month.

  8. An Irish Italian Blessing says:

    I hate budgeting. Hate it! Hope you got some good tips!

    I installed Intense Debate for Comment Luv and deleted it after two days. Hope you have more luck than I did.

  9. StirSpoon says:

    Another 'expense' item to throw in the mix is your own allowance. That cash goes in your pocket at the beginning of the week, or 2 weeks whatever, and that is ALL you are allowed to have. This is for your lunches at work, snacks on the way home, smokes, that little indulgence that is a 'must have'. Is $20 to much or $50 not enough, had to tell. This is your personal mad money. Besides, you should always have a bit of cash in your pocket and limit yourself to that amount.