The following article is a guest post from Ben at Trees Full of Money. Ben has written a great series on his website sharing the personal details of how his family paid off over $90,000 of debt in less than two years.
When I started blogging about personal finance matters over two years ago, I knew I had to share the story of how my wife and I overcame $90,000 of consumer debt in less than two years. After all, the focus of my website was to help people get control of their finances and lead less stressful lives.
I had read many great debt free success stories myself and each one kept me motivated until we eventually achieved our goal of becoming debt free! Telling our story would allow me to “pay it forward”.
What I didn’t realize was how challenging it would be to write about our success. Several times I started our story, but each time I lost focus eventually hitting a road block. I wanted to “spill the beans” of exactly how we did it, but I was apprehensive about sharing such intimate details of my financial shortcomings with the world.
Fortunately, I got over myself and finished the series! What follows is a brief summary of the seven articles I wrote detailing exactly how we got into our financial mess and how we eventually dug ourselves out from it!
How We Accumulated $90,000 of Consumer Debt: As the title suggests, part #1 of the series details exactly how my wife and I were able to accumulate $90,000 of debt in only a few short years. From graduating college in 1999, to hitting our financial bottom by the end of 2003, this series explains every major financial decision we made leading up to our realization that we had to do something drastically different.
Starting Our Debt Snowball: My wife and I utilized the “debt snowball” technique for repaying our debt. Part #2 of the series explains how we cashed out some of our non-retirement savings to get our snowball started with a bang.
Starting a Family Budget: Part #3 of our story details how we tweaked our family budget and cut back expenses to maximize how much money we had available each month to pay off our debt.
Essential Debt Repayment Tools: In Part #4, I explain the debt snowball spreadsheet I created and how valuable it was in keeping me motivated. I discovered that if I sold my motorcycle and applied the proceeds to our debt, our debt free date would arrive months sooner! As a result, the motorcycle went bye bye!
Keeping Motivated to Repay Our Debt: With no more savings to cash out and no more personal property to sell, my wife and I had to focus hard on our “debt snowball payments” as we worked our way through a mountain of credit card debt. Part #5 of our story looks at how cutting expenses, sticking to our budget, and working tons of overtime, enabled us to pay off our credit card faster than we ever imagined!
Everybody Has a Car Payment. Right?: Part #6 explains why the debt snowball technique was the right debt repayment method for us and how we would probably “always” have a car payment if we hadn’t discovered the snowball concept.
Almost Debt Free, but We Get New House Fever!: Part #7 looks at how the “new house fever” nearly derailed the momentum we had built to become debt free! Fortunately, we came to our senses and paid off our two remaining debts (student loans) to complete our quest to become debt free!
Ben’s story is very inspiring and I’m glad he shared it with my readers. If you have written about your own debt reduction success and would like to share, contact me and let me know. Ben, you and your family, ROCK!