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Getting Out of Debt

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Consumer debt is at all time highs and the interest on carrying large amounts of debt is very expensive. Carrying less debt is something that every household should strive for. This guide is a guide about getting out of debt.


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February 2, 2018

I have been working hard on my credit score. I had bad vision up until yesterday when I got my glasses. I was able to read the fine print on some bills. I went to read the billing statements and found the interest rates horrible.

I went to Credit Karma and finally noticed the different options they have. I used the debt calculator which caused a breakdown. After calming down, I got on the phone to make some calls. I got the interest lowered for 6 months on one card. I am working on another. They asked for something in writing. It's faxed already as well. If at all you need help, use the options on Credit Karma for ease of mind. I am tired of doing all this.

I think I worked the budget 50 times today. I found a way to pay off one in full next month. I will pay off another in 4 months. My needs and wants will take a back seat for a while. I am making drastic changes this year. All to ease my stress.

Along with that I sat on the computer and searched sample sites. I have been blessed to get samples of thing I could not afford. It has truly helped me. I am living on very little to raise my credit score. I am hoping to find a cheaper place to live soon.

Thanks once again for reading.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 28, 2006

Friends and family have called me a tightwad or a cheapskate. I prefer to be called "frugal"! About 12 years ago, my husband and I came to the bright conclusion that we had too much debt (after only 3 years of marriage!) We also realized, given our current debt to income ratio, we would NEVER be out of debt. So, we got a consolidation loan to cure our problem. Our cure didn't work because, as a lot of people do, we continued to accrue debt. It was growing quickly! Our second problem was that I desperately wanted to quit work and stay at home with our baby daughter. My Frugal Life


By this point we were coming to the realization that we needed to do some things drastically different! So, we cut up all of our credit cards and tried to pay down our debts as much as we could (we started using Mary Hunt's Rapid Debt Repayment Plan). I was learning that paying down debt is like dieting: It's great to lose weight but if you don't CONTINUE your new healthy eating and exercising, the weight will come right back on (and usually twice as much!) It was at this time that I realized getting out of debt and STAYING debt free was more than a budget on paper but it was a heart issue; learning about contentment, thankfulness and frugality.

We were able to get completely debt free in about 3 years (with only my husband's income). We lived on A LOT less and learned to love it! During those 3 years, I read all of Mary Hunt's books, "The Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn, and "Living On Less and Liking It More" by Maxine Hancock. When someone has had a negative behavior, they can't just stop it and continue living like they had before. It helps to have something new, a new positive habit to replace the bad. That, my friends, is exactly what becoming frugal did for me!


At first, it was a game (How much money can I save with coupons this week). However, it quickly became a lifestyle. Since we have become debt free, we have built our own home in the country with acreage. We raise pigs, our own chickens, and we have our own orchard and garden. I've always loved to garden but recently I read "Growing Your Own Groceries" by Kimberley Eddy. This book was very encouraging and informative on how to grow and can enough food for your family for a year. We have 4 children, so saving on groceries is a constant challenge for me. Leaving the grocery store, knowing I've only spent $75, gives me a greater high than I ever received from charging stuff at the mall!

One major tip I have about being frugal is: Give away a portion of all that you make. When you give, it always comes back as a blessing! Don't confuse being frugal with being stingy or selfish. Instead, being frugal frees up money so you can give more away. Once you become a frugal minded person, there is no turning back. I know some people may roll their eyes, thinking one can go too far in being a tightwad. I agree with Maxine Hancock in "Living on Less and Liking it More", she says: "We sit in our living rooms and look into the unseeing eye of our TV sets and see not just individuals but entire cities and nations going bankrupt. And at the same time, we look into the empty eyes of swollen-bellied children of famine who are somehow, impossibly, still alive. And we know that somewhere, in some way, we are all personally responsible."


But just sitting around with vague guilt feelings haunting us is hardly a sufficient response. We need to seriously reevaluate our whole set of life goals and to ask ourselves, "Where are we now? And where are we going?" We must put to ourselves the question worded by World Vision director, W. Stanley Mooneyham, "Is my life style supporting a famine somewhere in the world today? If we are, indeed, people not content to sit back and wait in helplessness for the breakers of present and future shock to overwhelm us, we need to become actively involved in adjusting our goals, expanding our ethic, and moderating our life-style to meet the needs of this changing age."

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent 7 years at a Soviet prison camp; the world would be a better place if we would follow his advice. He says, "What about the main thing in life, all its riddles? If you want I'll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory- property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves, decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life - don't be afraid of misfortune and do not yearn after happiness. Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart - and prize above all else in the world those who love you and wish you well."


I love my frugal life!

By Christy Brashers

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here:

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June 23, 20061 found this helpful

I am looking for ideas to get out of debt. I ran across a little plan to get out of debt that really works if you just stick to it.

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By 1 found this helpful
February 9, 2006

For every day I don't buy a scratch-off lottery ticket, I put the $2 I would have spent on it, and put it into an envelope and as it builds up I take it and apply it to a debt.

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January 19, 20181 found this helpful

Using this method of making larger payments on consumer debt and paying them off in sequence can work for many people. This is a guide about using snowball payments to get out of debt.

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
September 8, 2008

The average American credit card debt is over $5,100. While it may not seem like it, this balance is manageable.


Within three yeas it can easily be paid off provided that new charges are not added to the debt.

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August 10, 20111 found this helpful

Making only the minimum payment on your debt not only lengthens the time it will take to pay off but it also ensures that you pay more interest. Why give them more of you money than necessary.

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June 23, 20060 found this helpful

Ideas and tips to help you stay motivated and inspired to pay off debt. Post your ideas.

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June 11, 2007

I just found a great financial resource. We all have issues around money, and a place to take those issues is Debtors Anonymous (or DA for short).

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By 0 found this helpful
April 10, 2005

As a former Credit Analyst and Credit Counseler, I have to say this debt calculator is the best! You can see how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you only pay your minimum payments.


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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 31, 2005

We have over $22,000.00 in credit card debt, 2 car payments and can't get rid of them for we owe more than they are worth, a house payment and heloc loan we got when we purchased our home for the down payment, medical bills, and the utility bills.

We have an 18 y/o senior without a car but she works a part time job which is not enough to save for a car, she has a 3.86 grade point average but has not qualified for a college scholarship which she needs desperately.

Bottom line is that we have way more bills than income and are sinking fast. I am married and mother of two. I hardly know them anymore for I work all I can.

The bills are all paid on time so far but I know without a miracle, we will sink . Does anyone out there have an answer that will give us some hope? Your help is much appreciated.

My husband is out of work on medical leave in which doctor will not release him to work at this time. He still has insurance from his job but has used up his disabilty money which has left him with no income but his company is still providing the medical insurance.

I am a nurse and work hard. We are not lazy people but I know we have made bad choices. Thank you in advance for some good advice and your prayers most of all.



By Ronsan (Guest Post)
March 31, 20050 found this helpful

Have you checked with any local foodbanks or an organization in your area that can provide some relief for you on your grocery bills? Also, check with the same organization for heating assistance or any other type of help they can offer.

If you aren't already using a budget to get the maximum out of your financial resources, I would strongly recommend putting one into play. It will help immeasurably to see where the money is going and how you can use it to better advantage.

Call your local Extension office and see if they have any helpful booklets on budgeting, low cost meals, etc.

Surf the internet for all kinds of helpful advice on budgeting, consolidating debt, accerelated strategic debt reduction plans according to your debt load and based upon your current income.

Spend lots of time going through back issues of every thrify internet site there is because you will find a wealth of hints and tips for keeping more of your money in your pocketbook to be applied to those debts.

I wish you good luck! While getting out from under this kind of debt can be a challenge and at times will seem disheartening, it can be done!

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By Ang (Guest Post)
March 31, 20050 found this helpful

Approach all the foodbanks and also goodwills in your area, go through your whole house and garage and sort out anything that may be sold in a yard sale. Approach all of the agencies and people you owe money to and explain your situation to them fully and honestly. They will see that you are a woman of integrity and honor and in all likelihood will be open to an arrangement for payment that will be easier on your family. Seek budgeting advice from an agency that offers this service for free. Many church s do this.Never miss an opportunity to gather free food for your pantry or freezer. Become a hunter gatherer. Also, make do and mend as our grandmothers used to say. Keep your family together, and continue with your faith. You are in our prayers. All the very best for the future. Please let us know how you get on.


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By Debe1204 (Guest Post)
March 31, 20050 found this helpful

Have you checked out Consumer Credit Counseling?(or some similar non-profit organizations?)

My sister was in a similar situation and she contacted CCC and they helped her reduce her monthly expenses (on Credit Cards) by almost $400.00 month. This action saved her from filing Bankruptcy..which she did NOT want to do.

Good Luck

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By Barbara Lewis (Guest Post)
March 31, 20050 found this helpful

Been there......not as deep in debt, but had the dh on disability.......immediately go online and apply for Social Security.......they may help till he is back to is a hassle, but worth it......apply for foodstamps, all utilities as they sometimes will lower your bill for the time, if you have AOL, call them and tell them your situation, they usually give a few free months-if not cancel and go on 'free' internet, apply for free lunch at school- ask if they have any help available re graduation expenses, all creditors as was said before and explain the only one car and try and take the insurance to minimum for the other car.....ASK relatives to help.......if all else fails, figure out what is important and pay all of that first........use libraries for entertainment....videos, CD's.......enjoy your family.......this will pass and you will probably learn what not to do next time.....and think how strong you will be then......good luck and keep intouch with the group.""

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March 31, 20050 found this helpful

The hardest thing to do is to take one day at a time and get through that day. Turn it all over to God and He will get you through each day. That is how I get along. You ask Him for help and He helps. I will pray each day for you.

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By Kathryn (Guest Post)
April 1, 20050 found this helpful

My heart goes out to you and your family.

We too have been ear deep in debt and are still somewhat clawing our way out of it. We have four kids who range in age from 9 to 24. It's scary not knowing how you'll make ends meet.

Fortunately we were introduced to the Dave Ramsey website ( ) and learned how to prioritize and budget our money. He has several books out and I'm sure some of them are available from the library.

Two of the best tips we got from him are: 1) name every dollar before you spend it; and 2) protect the "four walls of your house"

Name every dollar refers to his zero based budget idea. The idea is that you sit down with a piece of paper and list each check. From each check you deduct each expense you have before the month even starts. That way you know where your money is going. You direct your money rather than trying to chase it down and see where it went after the fact.

Also, as you pay your expenses, you pay them in a certain order which protects the "four walls" of your house. What are the four walls? The four walls are what every family needs in order to survive: food, shelter (rent, utilities, etc), transportation (gotta get to work), and
(reasonable) clothing. Credit cards and other revolving debt gets budgeted last.

He also has a three hour radio show he does M-F. If you don't have a local station that carries it, the broadcast is also available off his website for free.

I wish you and your family the best. God bless.


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By Suzie (Guest Post)
April 1, 20050 found this helpful

You should read "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Daczycin from cover to cover. It has excellent tips and it's very well written and not at all boring. I was able to save an incredible amount of money when my husband was laid off for two years. Another thing to think about is how you can reduce your expenses each month instead of how to make more money to pay off bills. You'd be surprised how much easier it is to get rid of things like cable, internet access for a fee, cell phones, voicemail, video rentals (use the library), magazine subscriptions, daily latte, prepared foods, expensive snacks, eating out...etc. The number one way to quickly reduce your "output" monthly is FOOD. A lot of people spend way too much on food each month and by tackling that first you'll save a lot. It all adds up. Good luck.

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By Suzie (Guest Post)
April 1, 20050 found this helpful

Go to and answer some questions and it will do a search and give you a list of "aid" that you qualify for. It's all free.

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April 1, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you all so much for your feed back. It lifts my spirits to know you took the time to give advice. I will get the tightwad gazette from the library and go to I already have a trial version of aol for a couple of months. Cell phones and direct tv are under contract. Any suggestions on how to get out of cell phone and satelite tv contracts? I really need to learn how to make nutritious meals on as little money a week as possible. My goal is 50 a week for our family of 4. I drive 72 miles one way to work and that makes gas at $30.00 every two days. I earn too much for food stamps as suggested in one of the feedbacks. If we didn't have so many bills my income would be great! I know it is all our fault but damage is done and I must deal with it. Thank you all again for taking time to help with your advice. I will keep looking for your post and will follow your advice and encouragement.
God Bless

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By Cindy (Guest Post)
April 2, 20050 found this helpful

I feel for you honey. A lot of wireless companies
will tell you what their cancellation fee is if you call
them and ask. Even if it is $125.00 it is still better
than paying $40.00 a month for another full year
of however long you contract is for. If its only for
a month or two then hang on and then cancel without
the fees.

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By Estella (Guest Post)
April 3, 20050 found this helpful

I have lived many years below the poverty line. I choose to make a living as a craftsperson and that means little money.

I buy all food on sale. Really. If you do, you will find that every meat goes on sale regularly, every fruit, etc. I know the best prices for most of the things I buy and do without until they are at that price.

I buy all clothes at a second hand store that has half price on certain color tags (rotating colors). Sometimes they are cheaper, on major sale, at department stores. I only buy what I need.

Before spending money I ask myself how passionately I want that I want it more than any other thing the world has to offer? Usually not.

Money is power and control, but only if you have it. Once you spend it it is dead, lost and gone forever. Make a game of saving, not spending. See yourself as a winner when you get what you want without spending.

I go to Europe every year, even in years when I made less than $10,000 because I am passionate about that and more than happy to eat eggs for dinner, drink water, and forego most restaurant meals.

You will be healthier, thinner, have more fun and feel more powerful when you learn that your happiness doesn't come from spending, and even moreso when you have enough to give some away.

Good luck. I'm pulling for you!

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By Becki in Indiana (Guest Post)
April 4, 20050 found this helpful

Your daughter and/or you should contact her guidance counselor and explain the change in financial circumstances and ask for their assistance regarding college education costs. Also go online and check out -- this is a website that lists hundreds of scholarships, some of them extremely obscure -- she should apply for as many as she remotely thinks she may qualify for.

You do not mention details about your husband's disability -- is he flat on his back in bed? Or is he able to do some things, but not 100% cleared to return to work? He should explain the financial situation to his doctor -- maybe he can be cleared to return part time, or to return to "light duty" to accomodate his temporary disability. Can hubby oversee a yard sale while you are at work? Can he clip coupons from the newspaper and match them to on-sale items in the grocery flyers, so that the shopping list is ready to go when you get home from work? Can he list items for sale on ebay or

Back when you had disposable income, you may have signed up for "extras" such as credit disability -- the sales pitch is that this coverage pays your credit card bills when a breadwinner is out of work due to a disability. Call your credit card companies and see if you have this coverage, and if so, how to activate it.

I didn't know until I went into "extreme broke mode" due to similar circumstances, that you can cancel magazine & newspaper subscriptions mid-stream, and request a refund of the unused portion of your subscription price. For me, that produced a little bit of "found money" to apply to grocery costs.

I have been there, and have survived. You will, too! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

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April 4, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Becki,
My husband is not flat of his back and is able to work and begged the doctor to release but the doc refuses to clear him. His job will not let him come back on light duty. He calls every week trying to get light duty but they refuse. We don't get a newspaper or magazines. I get coupons from old papers at work, shop the dent can store, and buy only sale items. I think I will call the satelite tv company and cell phone company to see if our circumstances will allow us to cancel but I doubt they will. I will go to fastweb to look for scholarships and have my daughter to help. Her school cancelor is new and should of let us know to apply for scholarships in my daughters junior year but she did not and that has a lot to do with the struggles of getting a scholarship this year but I will be sure to get a head start on next year and I will know what to do when my son gets in high school. I would put my husband to clipping coupons if I we had coupons to clip:-) I could find something to put on ebay and have him oversee it and see how that works. I let him gather stuff for a yard sale also. Thank you so much for your advice and taking the time to comment. Just a reminder that we are not lazy, I work two jobs , my daughter works a part-time job and goes to high school, my 12 y/o son tries not to ask for things.
Thanks again

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Read More Answers

September 19, 20070 found this helpful

I hope someone can help me with my problem. I am deep into debt and I would like to know if someone could guide me with a very basic easy way to get myself out of this ordeal. I have tried everything that i could and still I fall back. I am going to start this week when i get paid to get this monkey off my back. Could suggest a very simple and basic budget or using the envelope method what ever it takes. I don't want any thing that is to complicated right now.

I am looking at about seven thousand in total debt that includes miscellaneous items and credit card debt. I also owe the IRS. What should i do first? I get paid bi-weekly total of 679.86 monthly. Also, I have a second job in retail so that check is not always the same, It goes by the hours I work. Help me please someone.

Malmal from Boston

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By 0 found this helpful
April 13, 2014

Can anyone tell me if this is still true? If you owed someone money and they never collect on the debt for the 1st seven years then the debt is null and void (like you had filed bankruptcy against it,) and they can no longer collect money from you?

By Teresa W.

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October 28, 20120 found this helpful

Do I really need a credit card? I am a divorced mother of two and wanted to get rid of some debt. Does it make sense for me to have a credit card? I'm wanting to close my credit card and just put money into a savings account.

By Cheryl

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By 0 found this helpful
December 29, 2010

Would it be better to get my credit repaired by going down the list to pay off collections, charge offs, and other delinquent debts when I get my taxes, or shall I seek a credit counseling service, or a debt consolidating company, or should I wait til these reduced percentage choice offers come through the mail box? Please help me because I am truly suffering, I cannot get a loan. I am constantly rejected.

By crissie from Los Angeles

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By 0 found this helpful
May 25, 2012

How to become a debt free?

By Roager F

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