Is anyone out there actually debt free and if you are, how did you do it? If not

@writersedge (22579)
United States
September 21, 2010 6:35am CST
join the club. I paid off my car and my house. But it seems so much harder to get rid of these dang, blasted credit cards. Also thanks to taxes and maintenance,you're always paying off on your house and with maintenance and breakdowns, you're forever paying on your car, too. I was doing really well. But with my emplopyer in the hospital and no other work coming in for me and my husband on unemployment, I'm discouraged. We're going to try to finally have a rummage sale, but I don't have enough stuff to sell to pay 1/3 of the taxes. If I hadn't had to pay those cards, I would have. So if you're debt free, how did you do it? If you're discouraged, commiserate here. With half the bills, I only need half the income, but instead, I don't seem to be having any income all of a sudden. This is crazy. After this realization last night, I'm watching the news and they announce the recession is over. For whom? Is it over for you? Are things better, the same or worse for you?
1 person likes this
9 responses
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
21 Sep 10
We are in a very good place with our finances. We started out many years ago with nothing. I saved everything I could and we were on the right path. Life has been good to us. Thank goodness for investments and my husband choosing the right career. It's nice to be comfortable yet I know there are so many who aren't in the same situation and my heart goes out to them. It's a tough time right now.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
I'm hoping either my husband goes back to work or I get something soon. I clear out a bunch of debt, have a worry free summer, and now this. IT's crazy!
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
Glad you're doing well. I've gone through all but $200 worth of my savings/investments.
1 person likes this
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
21 Sep 10
I am so sorry. Just know you are not alone. This doesn't help pay your bills but so many people are out of work and in the same situation.
@celticeagle (116758)
• Boise, Idaho
21 Sep 10
To be honest I never remember seeing or feeling the recession. Everything stayed the same for me. I don't recall anything that changed that radically. Now or back a while. I don't pay taxes. I don't have any credit cards anymore. I have payed off two sets of credit cards in my life. I will never have another one. I think they are one of worst addictions you can get.
@celticeagle (116758)
• Boise, Idaho
22 Sep 10
I think you need to give yourself a break, use the credit card and be thankful you have it. You have to do what you have to do. Early retirement sure rings a nice bell. I got early retirement in 2004. Just out of the blue they offered it to me. I am so thankful. What a delight that was. I think you are doing very well. I will be 59(Shh!)in November. It is a struggle but keep your eyes on the prize.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
22 Sep 10
Thank you for the words of encouragement! I think all these weeks of not working are too much of a break as it is. My brother will be bringing home an application for me and a friend of mine found another lead for me. I'm working on a rummage sale. I won't make over 300 dollars, but I will make some so I won't have to put soooo much on my credit card. Maybe if I make 1/2, my husband can do the other half. Then I won't have to use my credit card. Mylot is making it so I will have 16$ toward my animal vet credit card. $15 payment and $1 left in the bank. Your birthday is coming! Don't swet that age. I'm amazed at how many people who have turned 60 lately don't look their are and/or are cute. Take care.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (116758)
• Boise, Idaho
23 Sep 10
Well, I met the break spiritually more than work wise. I think finding work is like a job itself. I was down at the Job Service every few days and online constantly looking locally for work. I was lucky to have run across a workshop and wasn't even going to go but found I was available and in the area so I did. I was asked to take a typing test and didn't feel I did very well because I was alittle nervous. I got the job and was there for five years before getting the early retirement and I have a lifetime small pension. I am pretty lucky. There were more recent workers that were walked out of the building and not even given notice. I think age can be a deterant but I think you will find work if you want it.
@peavey (16155)
• United States
21 Sep 10
I am debt free and have been for quite some time. It's not easy, because we have to change our mindset to make it happen. I learned to question everything I bought or thought I needed. Although I think I was born frugal, I still had some things to work through. For instance, my car is 14 years old and it just seems like it's time for a newer one... but if I get a newer one, my insurance will go up, license plates will go up, even if I pay cash for it. Will the saved repair bills make a big enough difference to pay for the insurance and taxes? I sat down with paper and pen and figured it up, and no. It's still cheaper for me to continue to drive the old car and wait until repair bills are much higher than they are. If it suddenly develops an expensive problem, I'll have to make a decision then. It's old enough that I won't get much on a trade in and right now it's more valuable to me as transportation than a trade in. That's just an example of how I've learned to make decisions and I don't always make the right ones by any means, but now I feel more in control and my finances show it. You can do it. Even though things look bleak right now, they won't always be that way. As soon as you have a chance, work hard to eliminate your debt and build an emergency savings account. Even a small emergency savings will save you money because you won't have to pay interest to a credit card when you need extra money.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
I had a 20 thousand dollar emergency fund. It's at $200 now. 1998 left a job and it's been over 10 years now. Every year, I get behind on bills and have to tap into it. I also got married in 2000 and paid for my own wedding. Wish I had done just justice of the peace. I would have had $ now. But I don't know if I would still make it the 2 1/2 years to get to retirement. It's been over 3 weeks since I've had work and my employer is still in the hospital. My husband is on unemployment so 1/2 his pay. I'm short for the taxes and unless there is some kind of miracle, I will have to use my credit cards to pay the house tax.
@peavey (16155)
• United States
2 Oct 10
Thanks for "best response." I do hope things get better for you! It's tough all across the country right now, but there are jobs to be had here and there. Have you ever thought about writing on the internet? Most people don't make much, but every little bit helps. You're able to express yourself well, so if you haven't done so, think about it.
@peavey (16155)
• United States
2 Oct 10
Well, d'uh. You write for Helium, I knew that. :) Expand! There are other sites that may have different writing opportunities, too.
@puccagirl (7316)
• Israel
22 Sep 10
I am. It took a lot of work, and a lot of time, but I did it in the end. So I also recommend it to everyone!
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
22 Sep 10
Congrats and how did you do it?
@tammytwo (4305)
• United States
22 Sep 10
We definitely are not doing well right now. We have more debt than we can seem to pay and our utilities are going through the roof. Each month we pay at least $150 or more just on water, sewer and trash. This does not include electric, telephone or any other bills. We are slowly trying to get to a point where we can pay off the debt but it seems that something crazy is always happening.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
22 Sep 10
Oh I know! My husband had $500 ahead. Then his truck broke, my car broke and his truck broke again! There went the "ahead" money and part of his next unemployment check. My advice, get to a library and read any of the three or all of the three Tidwad Gazette Books. We're in the country, so we don't have water or sewer (unless the well needs drilling or the septic backs up). Tash is only $39 a month. Sometimes the electric company will come in and do an energy audit. Then give you some free stuff to cut down on your bill. I got $10 worth of stuff for free. My electric bill went down about $10 a month. I called the phone company and they cut out phone bill $5 a month. I called the garbage company and they cut that $5 a month. We bundled out tv and computer (I wanted to do away with the tv entirely) and that cut us a couple of dollars per month. $17 dollars later, a little less we have to come up with. My husband now walks more instead of driving his truck all the time. That cuts down in gas money. I have a window sill garden that I can get a salad out of every once in a while. Onions, radishes, leaf lettuce, and many herbs can be grown on a windowsill. If you have any country friends or relatives, they may be harvesting and have too much of something. This year was too many apples here, last year was too many squash. At pot lucks, people will often give me enough food to take home for another meal. So keep trying. I thought I'd never get the house and car paid off, they got paid off this summer. Keep checking the frugal discussions here. Research online how to make your own stuff like soap, shampoo, etc. You can spend pennies on the dollar. A gallon of vinegar will clean most things and the harder stuff with just some baking soda added. More macaroni and cheese dinners, more dried beans made into a meal (use the soak overnight method), more peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches for lunch, eggs or oatmeal, the big round boxes and add your own cinnamon into quick or old fashioned for breakfast. You can do it! Keep trying! Check out youtube for tips on reducing,reusing and recycing as well as your own homemade alternative power. My cousin let people know she loved candles, they bought her candles as gifts and she had one night a week with no electric lights. IT took her electric bill down. I have a friend who made his own windmill and ran one electric light with it (lots of ideas for that on youtube). Every little bit helps!
• United States
22 Sep 10
You can sacrifice your dignity and respect for money.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
22 Sep 10
What in the world is that comment all about?
@RossBoyy (161)
• United States
21 Sep 10
I am, but mind you I dont have any income as im still im college too so I suppose Im usless to this topic haha
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
Well, you're doing better than lots of college students, many are in debt before they leave college. So enjoy it while you can.
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
21 Sep 10
there is this great show on a station up here in canada that offers some great solutions to credit cards. Here is a link to the tv channel and some advice she gives. http://www.slice.ca/shows/showspage.aspx?title_id=93097 she advocates using cash only (no credit, no debit). the families live on cash and are forced to save.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
Well that's great, I'm not trying to use my credit cards,I'm trying to pay them down. If I don't get income soon, I'll have to use a credit card to pay my taxes.
@GardenGerty (95779)
• Marion, Kansas
21 Sep 10
No, not debt free, but managing okay right now. Definitely not rolling in dough, but sort of paying the bills. I have no vested retirement to look forward to, and it is nine years until I can take full Social Security. The good news is that i can probably draw on my first husband's income. At least that is what I am reading on the Social Security website. Maybe your substitute teaching will pick up pretty soon. I hear that it is around here.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Sep 10
Too many teachers were laid off. They go ahead of me on the subbing list. Obamah and Congress were too late with their school bail out. School started the following week. So I'm sure someone is getting subbing, just not me. Glad you're doing OK. 9 years is scary in this economy. I hope you both continue to do well. Thanks and take care.