You can get out of debt! We did it and so can you!

I knew it was time to do something when every single cent we made was going towards bills and living expenses. I felt like we were suffocating. We were always playing catch up. Always on payment plans. Using change for gas. Started receiving calls from bill collectors. I could go into more detail, but just know... it was bad!

No one wants things to spiral out of control and end up in a worse situation years from now. You don't want your loved ones to experience any hardships due to bad financial decisions.

Sometimes when you are living paycheck to paycheck, it is hard to come up with any extra money to even make a dent in what is owed. So where can you start?

First, Cut out anything that is not a necessity.

Get rid of cable t.v.- Actually, this is easier than anticipated. This frees up a good bit of money. Its ridiculous how much satellite/cable t.v. is. You can always buy a digital t.v. antenna from Wal-mart and mount it on the side of your house, and ta-da! Digital t.v.. You will receive a good amount of stations. Really, I can't believe what a rip off cable/satellite is. I know people who get all the normal local channels plus many more. No one is deprived of good shows to watch...from adults to children... but the best part is it's all FOR FREE!!!
Do away with your home phone service. Use cellphones. Does anyone use a home phone anymore?

Second, Search out the best deals for services you need.

Switch to the cheapest cell phone provider you can find. Here in our area that is Metro PCS. Don't judge by what others say. Some people say the coverage is bad, calls get dropped, etc... This simply is not true. I've personally never had any issues.

Check into smaller things like switching to a different trash service. If it's cheaper, do it! A lot of companys will give you from the 1st up to 3 months of service free, just for switching to their company. Have a super strict grocery budget. Lots of rice and beans. Making a weekly grocery list and planning your meals ahead of time is a great way to stay on budget! Use coupons and buy things on sale. You may even end up eating healthier and not waisting your money and health on fast food. Contact your insurance agent and make sure they are giving you the best rates on car and home insurance. Most of the time you can get them lowered!.

Third, Come up with a budget and other plans....

Get on a Debt Management Plan. Yes, I know you could file for bankruptcy but not if you are totally against it.

The debt management plan is great. They are able to get the collection calls stopped, and interest rates lowered. You pay one monthly fee and they distribute the amounts to the credit card companies. I think they charged $3 a month for this service.

Do away with your checks and pay everything in cash! I do mean everything!... daycare, electric, gas and water all with cash. There will be no false sense of having money. You can see it with your own eyes! No money, means there is really no money! No using your ATM/Debit/Credit cards for anything!

No eating out. Make breakfast and coffee at home. No stopping for coffee or a cappuccino on your way to work. Bring your lunch to work. Prepare and eat dinner at home.

Do not go shopping for clothes at the mall. Try to get by on what you have. I know that is easier said than done when you have growing kids. If you must, check out thrift stores or go to Walmart and buy cheap. Entertainment should be very limited. No movies, bowling, fairs, zoo, NADA. Lot's of trips to the park and to the dollar theatre are some fun ways to pass time and occasionally splurge.

During the four years it has taken us,

we survived a job change and a lay off. That did not stop us. We remained determined and paid off every last cent. If you are determined, you can do it.

Being supportive towards one another on this journey is imperative! You must be on the same page. Remember once you start there was no turning back!

I can not begin to describe the feeling of knowing besides our home, we are completely debt free! This was a hard lesson to learn. I know that after all the hard work we have put into getting out of debt, we will never make the same choices again when it comes to money.

Four years sounds like a long time but in reality it flew by. Goals are possible! Getting out of debt is a realistic goal. Paying off debt can fill like an uphill battle. It took 2 years before we even noticed a dent. It is possible though and I hope this information provides some encouragement for others out there.

Being debt free is a feeling like no other! I prefer to have this feeling over holding a designer bag ANYDAY!

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