No. of Recommendations: 175
"His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My Dearest Fools,

After decades of spending money I didn't have I began yet another quest for freedom from consumer debt in September 2005. Back then I was struggling under a mighty burden. It was not the first time I had done this to myself, but I was hoping it would be the last. It had to be the last, because I couldn't take living my life like this any longer (the stress and resulting depression had become too much to bear).

From my first post on TMF on January 1, 2006:

I've been a chronic overspender my entire life. I got my first credit card (Macy*s) in the mid-70s and abused it from day one! By 1987 my credit card debt was so overwhelming that with great reluctance and shame I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I made a promise to myself that I'd never rack up my credit card bills again. By 1993 when I got laid off from my job my debt was higher than it had been in 1987! I cashed in my 401(k) and paid off my cards. Again I made myself the same promise but didn't change my behaviour! Fool! In September 2005 I forced myself to sit down and add up my credit card debt again. This time the total was higher than the sum of the previous two times! September 2005 total: $44,123.10!

I treated the Credit Cards and Consumer Debt board as an online version of a 12 Step Program. "Attending" meetings every day (sometimes more than once a day). If it wasn't for the encouragement and support that I got from this board I would have given up. Everyone here (with the exception of a couple of trolls) has been quite wonderful. Folks who come immediately to mind are yeilBagheera, Windowseat, xraymd, DeltaOne81, BklynBorn, DrBooa, royalstl, LaughingRaven, DizChick, foolazis, dianakelt, regettagirl, cherieswamper (and many more). Equally important are those Fools who don't mince words: SeattlePioneer, Patzer, and xtn. *bowing low* And special thanks to DBAVelvet74, vkg, and aj485 for answering my many questions on the workings of credit card lenders.

Now, what have I learned some 1299 posts later (yes, I do talk a lot!)? When paying off debt, stop using the blasted cards, learn how to snowball your debt, don't be late with any payments, take advantage of BT offers, windfalls, cashback bonus checks, and overtime pay, pay off your BT offers one to two months early, trust that the cc lenders will do anything they can to try and trip you up, learn to do without, learn to be patient (if you aren't in the beginning -- fake it!), be honest with yourself (if you aren't, guess who you are hurting?), expect bumps in the road and boredom, and never, ever give up hope!

Now it is time to party! We have kegs of ale, and bottles of wine, apple and cranberry cider, root beer and cream soda. We have cakes and pies and tarts. And party hats and horns and streamers and fireworks! I'd be honored if you'd join me!


Print the post  


UGC Disclosure Notice Regarding Credit Card Posts
Community board discussions about credit cards are not provided or commissioned by banks who may have advertising relationships with The Motley Fool. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
TMF Credit Center
The Motley Fool Credit Center arms you with real tools and simple messages, that will help you in every credit situation.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.