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My Progress on Becoming Debt-Free

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This is where I will keep track my monthly progress on becoming debt-free by month. Please note that this is just my credit card & Prosper loan debt. We have more debt than that, but we decided to tackle the worst debt first. If you’d like to see all of it, feel free to check out my profile on NetWorthIQ.com

Feb 28 = $37,614

Mar 30 = $37,048

Apr 30 = $34,070

May 31 = $31,429

Jun 30 = $31,020

Jul 31 = $29,655

Aug 31 = $28,163

Sep 30 = $26,996

Oct 31 = $25,854

Nov 30 = $25,191

Dec 31 = $24,398

Jan 31 = $23,517

Feb 28 = $22,192

Mar 31 = $21,777

Apr 30 = $21,315


30 Comments

  • Matt |

    Great website….How many people have offered to pay off all of your debt. Has anyone offered you a prize after you pay off all of your debt. I just read millionaire next door, i thought it was a great book. have you read it? You spent alot of time on this. I am impressed.

  • Tricia |

    Matt – great questions. No one has offered to pay off my debt nor have they offered me a prize after my debt is paid off. I do not accept donations, so if someone offered I would politely decline. However, if they wanted to donate to an organization that I support, I would welcome that πŸ™‚

    I have read The Millionaire Next Door and it opened my eyes to many things. It was a great book and that’s why I am reading The Millionaire Mind right now. I just had to read more on the subject.

  • Mary |

    Tricia, I am currently fighting the battle also with a sophomore in college and a sophomore in high school. Currently I don’t even count the college debt because I want to remove the previous debt first. Eating the elephant one bite at a time, so to speak. The biggest pitfall I grapple with is eating out! I know we spend $$$$$ on restaurants/fast food, but I can’t seem to stop. I hate that weakness in me, and I notice that it comes in waves. Some weeks we eat at home a lot, but other times I have to dust my stove! You have inspired me to push on, though. Thanks for the example!

  • Tricia |

    Mary – that’s great to hear that I’ve inspired you! We have tough times as well. Last month we ate out A LOT. We just have to keep trying to improve and keep up with a positive attitude.

  • Gigi |

    Tricia: I’ve read many different ways to prioritize debt repayment. My main question is that they say to put the majority of your $$ to the debt you are paying off and pay the minimums on the other cards. Should you continue to pay a set minimum on the other cards say $200 or should it decrease as the balance goes down and put the extra towards the card you are trying to pay off first?

  • Tricia |

    Gigi – you are right, there are many different ways of doing things out there. What I have been doing is paying just the minimum on all of my cards. Any amount that the minimum has decreased is then put to the card that is my “target” to pay off first.

  • Laura |

    I just found my way here and I am bookmarking you! I started with $39,907 in July of 2005 — I guess $40,000 in debt scared me straight! I am down to $26,444 now. Good luck to us both!

  • InvestorBlogger |

    Just a few thoughts!
    1. You’ve reduced your debt by 12K in 10 months. That’s impressive.

    Actually, wealth building and debt reduction have one common factor. Starting out is far harder and the gains are far smaller than later on. Just be patient and PERSEVERE!

    2. You could earn a little extra money from http://payperpost.com by getting paid to blog. Do it a few times a month. A little extra would help get your DEBT down faster.

    Kenneth

  • Kelley |

    Tricia,

    Thank you so much for this site. I have a total credit card debt of just over $29,000, thanks to grad school and my own bad choices. I really want to get this paid off quickly, and in researching my options, came across an article on prosper.com in Consumer Report. I also found your blog in searching for reviews on person to person lending. Can you tell me more about your experience? In particular, do you feel this is a trustworthy site?

    Again, thank you for your courage!

  • Leigh |

    Googling websites and found yours- $12k in 10 months is fantastic- congratulations! My husband and I have found ourselves in $9600 worth of credit card debt and we too are paying it off! We have a goal of having it paid off by 11/07 w/ $5000 in our savings account. It feels good just to have everything prioritized!

    Good Luck to both of us!

  • Lyn |

    I have just discovered your site and am very glad that I did. I am lost in the morass of debt accumulated over 2 divorces, single-parenting, and poor planning over the last 15 years. I am struggling to get a handle on all of this and am determined to live the second half of my life differently, free from the mental strangle hold of money and money-panic. My question is, how do I get started? My situation is complicated by the fact that I own my own business, and can make good money some months and no money other months–i.e. my income is very unpredictable. when the money is flowing, it goes quickly in order to get caught-up so it seems as thought there is never a point at which I can breath easy and sock money away. ‘normal’ budgeting is not for me, since i never know how much i will have. any thoughts? and many thanks– Lyn

  • EMF |

    Great progress on debt reduction.

    I’m curious as to how you choose which credit card to pay off first.

    I can agree with Dave Ramsey’s approach of paying the smallest bill first, for the people who need the motivation of having shortened the list of creditors.

    But since you’re tracking your net worth, you already have the motivation and you’d do better targeting the one with the highest interest rate. Unless the smallest CC balance is only a couple of hundred dollars, in which case I’d pay it off first to save the cost of stamps and the added hassle.

  • Tricia |

    Thank you everyone for stopping by and for the encouraging words πŸ™‚

    EMF – I don’t follow Dave Ramsey. I am way too much of an analytical person to deny the money saved by paying off the highest interest rates cards first. But, I do not follow that rule 100% either.

    Before I was able to do some balance transfers, I was paying off the highest interest rate card first. After the transfers, it’s now a matter of trying to pay off balances before the nice interest rates expire. I have one card that is at 5.9% for the life of the loan. That one, although one of the highest rates right now, will sit there because I do not have to worry about the rate ending and getting charged 15%+. My Prosper loan is at 9.9% and I will focus on paying that off once one of my other cards with a lower rate is paid off. I gave my lenders my word that I wouldn’t pay that off until I had another card paid off first.

    So, I am doing things in a weird fashion to try to keep the overall interest rates low. I don’t want to count on having a balance transfer offer available once one expires. Going back to interest rates 15%+ would be disheartening.

  • Dave |

    Hi Tricia – fantastic blog and congratulations on the progress with the debt. I’m in similar position to you (except I’m a guy and in the UK ;)) – I currently have around £13,000 ($26,000) worth of credit card debt, plus my bank overdraft and zilch of savings and investments and I’m hoping I can blog my way out of debt too. There are some great resources on this site I’ll be making use of – especially some of the calculators – but more than anything it’s just heartening to know that others in the same mess as me are pulling themselves back from the brink. Looking forward to reading more.

  • Mike |

    Tricia –

    You have made great progress. Keep at it!

    Your story is very inspiring.

    Mike

  • April |

    I read about your site in the local paper where i live. I am impressed. I have been working on my debt for about 18 months. Some days I feel empowered and other days i feel so helpless when it comes to money. I cannot share it with friends or family… but this blogging thing seems interesting… i think i will try it. Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the great work!

  • Jeanne |

    I read about your website in my area newspaper. I am glad I looked you up on the web. We have about $40,000 in debt. That doesn’t include car payments or a second mtg.
    My husband doesn’t know exactly how much in debt we are, if he knew the exact amount–he would be mad.
    I broke my leg about a year ago. and we haven’t got back on our feet yet. I will try they blogging and I am going to be more conservative with our spending. I really want to get out of debt. My husband is pushing 60 and wants to retire eventually.
    Thanks for the great website.

  • elaine |

    Also read of you in my local paper. Boy do I understand, I can’t talk about money to ANYBODY. Looking forward to being anonymous(sp). Thanks in advance for listening and allowing me to be part of your journey. I am not one to hurt alone. If someone is there who has been through what I am going through, maybe they can help be get through. Share experience, strength and hope. Don’t know how to blog but am willing to learn.

  • susan |

    tricia, the progress you’ve made is impressive. i found your blog through the NYT article like so many other people. reading your story and the comments is tremendously reassuring – there are so many people out there who are struggling with credit cards – like me.
    i don’t talk about my debt problems because i’m embarrased, also because i’m at an age where (i feel anyway) i should be much more financially stable (52). But here I am.

    At the end of a long relationship I hung onto the house we had owned jointly, but had to buy the other person out with my entire liquid savings plus an inheritance plus a home equity loan. i wasn’t earning very much and lived off credit cards for a while, plus made some bad money choices; in the blink of an eye i had about 24k in credit card debt plus the home equity loan.

    in the past three years i’ve paid the home equity down by 9k and the cards by 4k, but now also have 4k in new debt in the form a personal loan from a friend, which at least has a low interest rate. currently my debt load is 46k home equity, 20k credit cards and 4k personal = 70k

    i earn more now, can pay my basic living expenses without stretching, have saved a tiny emergency fund and pay more than the minimum on each card every month. still i just seem to be treading water with the credit cards. i know the problem is that i still use one card (it changes, i pay one down to zero, then figure i can use it as long as i pay the balance off monthly, then it gets out of hand, then i pay a different card down and the cycle starts again).

    i just don’t seem to be able to get rid of them entirely.

  • Frank |

    Another book that might inspire novice investors is “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. It might seem a bit silly, but the lessons it teaches are well worth learning.

  • Chris |

    Way to go Tricia!
    $15,422 in 12 months!

    And to think, it started out so small a year ago.

    Some information for Susan (and anyone else) would be to use 1 credit card only for items that will be charged, but will be paid in full when the bill arrives. That’s what we do, and we get 1% back on every purchase (or 3% on gas purchases). So gas, groceries, Cable TV, Phone/Cellphone, etc. all get charged onto one credit card. We just sent a request for a check back for $75 after almost 2 months).

  • Joseph Sangl |

    I LOVE how you are openly paying down your credit card debt!

    You are inspiring others to do the same!

    Thanks for helping others become motivated to do something about their tangled financial webs!

  • Emma |

    Congratulations on your progress so far! I am paying down by debt too. I have read The Millionaire Next Door, and found it to be a wonderful inspiring book which certainly opened my eyes! I am also a HUGE fan of Dave Ramsey, who’s radio shows keep me going when I want to give up!

    keep up the good work Trisha!!!
    Emma:)