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Cath's Story: Building a debt free life...

by Cath

Hi - two years ago I was just about to get married and 20K in debt + 15K we borrowed to get married. Today - totally debt free. How did I do it? In lots of ways that delivered results.

1. Got a really good reality check - know where I stood and what was a priority to pay off

2. Increased my take home pay - got a better job with better conditions ( took 6 months but I got there)

3. Focused on one debt at a time, paid it off in big chunks after working out what I could live on to cover my expenses

4. Once I paid one thing off, moved to the next priority

5. Got rid of unnecessary expenses - gym memberships, subscriptions

6. Worked out the average cost of my bills for a year and then a month and set about making fortnightly payments in small increments - meaning I had the most available cash at anyone time - more money to direct towards debt

7. STOPPED SPENDING THOUGHTLESSLY - I would carry a budget card around in my wallet - every time I would want to buy something - I look at this and see the damage it would do to my situation today and on the flip side of the card had where I would be in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months if I stuck to my payment plan - therefore motivating me to make the connection between that shirt I bought today and the extra month of debt I would be living in in my life

8. Learned to cook more food at home, in a way that I could take it to work, use for snacks and be creative - my groceries bills may be a little high but I don't spend a cent during the week

9. Set a spending routine - do your groceries once a week with good planning, fill the car up once a week on the same day - take your receipts and pop them in a jar so you can see what you are spending each week - this saved me $$$

10. Think about the future - what kind of life do you want for your kids - stressed by debt? living in a false dream that's on credit rather than hard work - once you wrap your head around your philosophy with money you understand how managing money - not being a slave to it - can make you happy.

Finally, if I can say one thing, my Uncle is a great man - he's not showy, has a modest house in the suburbs, 5 kids, a great wife and he lives simply. They are the happiest family I have ever met and you know what - they are millionaires.

When Arthur Anderson collapsed, all the partners in my Uncle's firm were selling their houses to pay debts, breaking up with their wives/partners because the financial distress had ruined their relationships, pulling their kids out of private schools they couldn't afford.

A number of them turned to my Uncle and asked him why he wasn't falling apart and he said to them - because I lived my life honestly, I never borrowed beyond what I could afford, I never sought credit to fund a life that is not mine - I asked for happiness, health and security and nothing more and that is what I have got.

We make money too complicated and make it compensate for the things we think we need - if we just take a moment to think about what we REALLY need, then all that big house, that flash car, that jewelry, those clothes, that credit card debt - is not an honest life.

You might want those things but do you need them? I'm working to build a life debt-free with my husband that is about happiness, health and the security that comes with knowing there is money in the bank and a fulfilling honest life to be lived.

Comments for
Cath's Story: Building a debt free life...

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Aug 13, 2008
Living within your means is the key to a debt free, happy, life.
by: Cheryl

Well, your Uncle really knows his stuff! What's sad is that each and every one of us has the ability to become millionaires. Not by some great intervention or luck, but through hard work and good sense, just like your Uncle. What a great example you have to follow.

We earn millions in our lifetime. Most of us don't manage it properly and tend to keep very little of it. Even fewer of us know how to be happy with the life we have... As Mohandas Gandhi said...

"Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man's happiness really lies in contentment."

Aug 12, 2008
Excellent story!
by: Anonymous

Excellent Story Cath, very similar to mine, even your highest debt load was about equal to mine. My husband and I will be debt free Dec. 2008. We've spent two years paying off $40,000 in credit card debt. I can't imagine a life with out the financial weight on my shoulders, but I'm ready for it!

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