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Old 02-06-2016, 11:12 AM   #1
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Help us get this credit card bill paid off!

Some of you may remember I posted last year about paying off some debts owed to family. So, we got those resolved, but I didn't get serious about looking out for our total financial picture, didn't get serious about setting a budget and curbing in our spending, and while we were addressing those debts, we ran up a big credit card bill. I am ashamed to admit this, as we have a good income and are able to afford all our needs, so there's no reasonable justification for it. I just succumbed to too many wants vs. real needs. But for me, admitting publicly that we have this debt is part of holding myself accountable and turning things around.

My husband's approach to finances has been to sit back blissfully unaware and let me handle everything.

Doing taxes made us take stock of our situation. Based on prior years, we were anticipating a big refund and counting on that to help pay down the credit card bill. But the refund turned out to be a fraction of what we were expecting.

So we got serious about making a plan that will work. We agreed that we are making this plan together and are equally committed. We suspended retirement contributions and college savings. We have stopped using that card so that our progress in paying it off is clear, and we'll use our other card only for certain fixed monthly charges (YMCA membership, husband's Amtrak commuter pass, etc) that are predictable and don't risk going over our budget. We've set a strict budget for food/clothing/toiletries/entertainment and will pay for those things in cash to force us to stay within budget. We'll cut way back on meat (we're happy to be mostly vegetarian) and alcohol. We've set up a babysitting exchange with our neighbors so that we can still have a low-cost date once a month. I am going to shop only with a list, and will pay more attention to sales and coupons. I'll avoid Target if possible (my downfall for unplanned purchases that add up) and send hubby to do the Costco run because I can never control myself in the Costco clothing section ("but it's such a good deal!" I tell myself) Have committed to buying any clothes the kids need only at thrift/consignment, and to doing a spring sweep of the closets/basement for things that can be sold.

We are really motivated to get out from under this debt and, if we stick to our plan, the bill should be paid off by August. Then, if we keep our momentum going and snowball the credit card payment into our second car, that can be paid off by August 2017. It'll take serious discipline, but it is really exciting to imagine being free of both this credit card debt and the car loan.

Wish us luck! Send encouragement! Would love to hear any other tips that have helped you stick to a necessities-only budget.

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Old 02-06-2016, 12:22 PM   #2
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Re: Help us get this credit card bill paid off!

Good luck to you. You sound like you have all the drive to do this, and you can. I also don't go to stores that make me lose control of the goals I have set out to achieve in a budget plan.
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:30 PM   #3
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Re: Help us get this credit card bill paid off!

Great job on a plan and goal! For me, I can't completely shut off my spending side. I really only shop garage sales and thrift stores so we aren't talking huge dollars but every one counts! I have been most successful when I plan for a little bit of free spending. Now for me, I will generally take about $5-10 of my planned allowance and go crazy at goodwill! I would much rather sacrifice a little bit of my allowance than fall off the pay-off wagon! I also have posted a few in searches on my local groups with what I need and my budget. I usually get what I need within a week and under budget, I have even been able to barter a few things, it feels great!
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:06 PM   #4
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Re: Help us get this credit card bill paid off!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tshebby View Post
Great job on a plan and goal! For me, I can't completely shut off my spending side. I really only shop garage sales and thrift stores so we aren't talking huge dollars but every one counts! I have been most successful when I plan for a little bit of free spending. Now for me, I will generally take about $5-10 of my planned allowance and go crazy at goodwill! I would much rather sacrifice a little bit of my allowance than fall off the pay-off wagon! I also have posted a few in searches on my local groups with what I need and my budget. I usually get what I need within a week and under budget, I have even been able to barter a few things, it feels great!
That sounds like a really good strategy, thanks for sharing. I was thinking that if I can raise a little extra cash by selling off some items we no longer need, I could put that aside to reward myself with some occasional free spending.
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:24 PM   #5
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Re: Help us get this credit card bill paid off!

Don't forget your husband will need a bit of free spending money as well.
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