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<Before browsing this board my wife and I were ashamed to admit our credit cards were out of control, to the point that we basically avoided discussing it because we thought we were weak individuals... We thought we were the only ones in America with close to $10K on CC's and it eventually bothered me to the point that I take anxiety medicine... But now we have faced the issue and have taken steps to get the job done, get consumer debt free by Christmas of 2004 and enjoy our peace of mind... Thanks for the help and letting us realize we aren't the only ones in this boat...>

I feel you, brother.

My first post -- my last day in debt.

September, 1999 -- Total income, $45K / Total consumer debt, $32K

That winter, we had gotten a consolidation loan for 23K from our bank. Thought we were home free. To celebrate, we charged another $9 grand in the next six months. Then I got fired. We were both sick and depressed. I was trying to be the MAN of the family - taking care of the finances, not giving my wife anything to worry about. I wanted her to think everything was going fine.

And she did.

Until the week (I swear, this actually happened) that our water, gas, and telephone were all shut off within 72 hours. Suddenly, I didn't feel so manly any more. We sat down together. We decided to stay married. We got into therapy - I got into recovery - we registered with Genus Credit management.

Today, the last auto-payment came out of our checking account.

Digging the hole nearly cost me my sanity, my home, and my marriage. Digging out has given my family a new sense of sobriety and security. We have worked hard to get to this place, many tears were shed, and many hard choices were made, but we are still together, still in love, and finally FREE!

Last week, I realized something. My Genus payment was actually a little larger than one of my twice-monthly paychecks. I just got a 55% raise!

Already have the auto-payments scheduled for the IRA, the 401k, and the e-fund. They all kick in next month. We also begin saving for a new car.

The credit counselling, the TMF books, the dicipline of the monthly auto-pay (I wish I had the will to do it without them, but my snowballs didn't have a chance in H-ll) - we've worked hard to educate ourselves to live within our means and to pay ourselves first. I just started lurking on this board a few weeks ago, but knowing that there's a community like this, where I can come and share and celebrate and grieve and gloat with people who have "been there-done that-got the tattoo" gives me such hope. I really feel like my wife and I are starting a new life, and we're doing it together, and we're doing it with the help and support of a bunch of people we don't even know on this board.

Jon, you and your wife have discovered the same first step that we found - you're telling each other (and yourselves) the truth about money, and your relationship to it. I can't say what will happen to you on your journey, but if you stay the course, you'll learn an awful lot about yourselves, about each other, and about a saner, more prosperous way to live.

God bless you, and God bless all who post here on this Foolish little board. We are saving money, saving ourselves, and helping to save each other just a little bit, every day.

Peace, y'all.
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