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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Emotional Debt - How We Annihilated $76,000 of CC debt

Just over 11 years ago, Val and I were in $76,000 worth of credit card debt, plus a mortgage, car payments, and the like. This was before people like Dave Ramsey were so popular. At the time, debt wasn't dumb, and cash certainly wasn't king. We were, however, being morally crushed. While we could service the debt, it was so draining. It was our fault we were in this situation .... we lived beyond what we were actually earning.

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.


  1. Good on ya! You are so correct about the emotional part of it, it's so draining to the spirit. We got mad about 10 years ago when we realized our oldest was about to graduate HS and we weren't ready for the college years. Now we have no CC debt, a sizable savings, which we actually enjoy putting money into and watching it grow, and we have learned we don't need a lot of the 'stuff' we thought we did. We adopted the attitude that once we leave the house, that almost everyone out there is trying to take our money from us in some way or fashion. We keep our guard up.

  2. @jomamma: "We adopted the attitude that once we leave the house, that almost everyone out there is trying to take our money from us in some way or fashion. We keep our guard up." Right On! That is exactly the attitude we took and still carry to this day. It is like war ..... with the prize being money. We are attacked every day for this bounty!

  3. So true... and sometimes your own kids can start preying on you. I couldn't believe how much money I started saving when Hubby told me to stop giving money to the teenagers and to tell them they had to go ask Dad first. He's known fondly as The Devil, The Pirate King and Evil Daddy when it comes to the booty. He can really put an end to it.

  4. The chains of debt shackle many of us. It's very hard to be free in this world, unless one achieves financial freedom, and I'm glad you were able to do it. When I think about whether owning a home is better than renting. Most people tell me you should buy, you're just wasting money paying rent. True. However, if I have a mortgage, buying a home doesn't really equate to owning it. Until, the mortgage is paid off, the bank owns it.

  5. P, we used to hear that too. The hubby would tell his parents "we are not throwing our money away, we are paying for the privilege of not living in our car." Just don't let them talk you into getting more house than you need. Check this site out http://tinyhouseblog.com/


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