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Author: ClimbingOut One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308475  
Subject: Re: Ashamed to Admit Debt Amount Date: 9/15/2005 1:48 PM
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Don't be ashamed. Be empowered. I've never been in a real 12-step program, but everyone knows the drill. The hardest part is admitting that you have a problem and commiting to a solution.

You CAN conquer this debt. As everyone has said, it's not the largest that has been overcome. It's going to take discipline and commitment but it's not a monster as long as you stop paying by their rules. Take this month to get your house in order, collect all your information and come up with a plan. Then stick with it. Start asking for rate decreases. If you have a history of late payments or missed payments, they will probably decline the first few times you ask, but keep at it. I usually ask for a rate decrease on my non-balance transfer accounts at least once a quarter until they give in.

Budget. Yes, the B word. If you don't know where your money is going you have no way of getting out of debt. Come up with a REALISTIC budget and stick with it.

Get smart about your money. Know where it's going and how best to apply it to get out of debt. Spreadsheet the hell out of it and look at as many options as you can. I'm just recently learning the absolute value of this. I've made plenty of mistakes on my debt repayment. Realize that you are going to do the same and roll with it.

Snowball. If you can't come up with any initial snowball amount, which is doubtful if you've budgeted and gotten control of your expenses but hey we all get in over our heads at some point, then try to pay off an account as quickly as possible so that you will have a snowball amount.

Take a look at your budget again. Is it still reasonable? Is it possible for you to squeeze more out of it?

Take a look at due dates and your payroll cycles. Is it possible to schedule half of your minimum payments every payday? If you pay online, will the paycheck hit the account and fund before the bill comes due (be careful! Do NOT miss a payment)? If it is, then move to bi-monthly payments. You won't save as much as if you were able to pay every two weeks (26 times a year vs 24 times a year) but it's still a savings so long as you NEVER MISS A PAYMENT.

One final thing. There is different wisdom on this, but I am a full believer in making sure that I will not have to use the CCs again. Every payday I have an auto transfer to savings that funds a CD purchase and some savings bonds with a little left over to start an e-fund. It's not a lot, but having that cushion helps to lift a burden. Even if it's only 25 a month to a savings account that you force yourself not to touch it can help. Others say not to try to fund any savings until you are out of debt, and I realize the value of that statement (the money isn't really yours if you are in debt and no savings can come close to the interest rate on debts) but psychologically it helps.

I won't wish you good luck, because luck has nothing to do with getting out of debt. Be strong.
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