Mathematically, that much debt was stupid. Just plain stupid. Hell, I had my degree in Physics by then and yet the mathematics of interest and moving backwards financially wasn't enough to make a damn bit of difference in pulling out of the downward spiral.
What did it? We finally got mad. Damn mad. Mad at paying everyone lots of money for the privilege of using their money. Mad at not having enough self control to wait 6 months to buy that TV with cash in hand versus putting it on the credit card. Mad at having a decent paying job yet having hardly any money in the bank. Mad at myself. Just damn Mad.
It took us about 3 years to pull out. 3 long years. It was hard, but oh so worth it. Before it was cool, we had a big ceremony with each pay off and cut up our credit cards, one by one. We shredded them. We kept their eviscerated credit card bodies stored in a glass urn. We kept the urn on the table. We had a blast calling the credit card companies to cancel them!
If you are reading our blog and dreaming about doing what we are doing, but you are in massive debt, I wanted to share with you that all is not lost. We pulled out, and you can do. What you need is an emotional tug to help you out of the mess. All of the mathematics in the world will not do it for the same reason that the calorie counts don't divert most overweight people from feeding and the cancer warnings on cigarettes don't stop smokers from smoking. Money, and being in debt, is an emotional issue that can only be attacked in an emotional way. Human beings, for the most part, are not logical or rational, so using the language of logic and reason, mathematics, simply won't do.
Find some part of your debt that makes you mad, then harness that anger into getting your act together. For us, it wasn't the positive promise of financial health someday... it was the anger each and every day of giving our hard earned money away. Every day, the first 4 hours of working were spent to cover interest. That was BS. No more. Find your No More. Pull out. You can.