Our Financial Journey
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  1. #1
    Registered User Marie78's Avatar
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    Our Financial Journey

    I wanted to start this thread for all of us to share our accomplishments (big or small) now that another year is coming to an end. I want to give thanks for this site and the encouragement it gave me and continues to give me to make better choices in my life. This is the first community I ever joined online and it's the only community I visit daily.

    I joined this site in January 2007: I was in debt and working hard at getting out. It felt hopeless and kept me up at nights, crunching the numbers and wondering what I was doing wrong. I had very little encouragement from the people in my life. Those in my life were/are so far in debt, they told me my debts were small and they would only get worse as I get older. I was unemployed and living with my Dh (fiance at the time) he gets a small stipend to live on through his Doctorate program (he has 3 more years before he finishes in 2011). Not enough for the both of us to live on. I was collecting a small amount of unemployment and in 2007 these were my numbers.:

    Car loan $3,000 left

    College loan $600 left

    CC #1 $7,500 (17.9% interest)

    CC #2 $ 1,500 (0% interest)

    Fast forward 2 years to today:

    I found a temp job in the spring of 2007 and slowly worked up to a good paying position with benefits by the fall 2007. I also paid off my car and college loan by the fall 2007. By always making payments on time and extra when I could I satisfied both loans within their time frames of 5 years each.

    Through helpful villagers I learned how to lower the interest on my credit cards, by calling and asking for a lower interest rate. I got up the courage to call every month and haggle with my credit card company. I learned to live on less to save more in an EF.

    I was paying down debt while collecting unemployment (which before finding frugal village would have seemed impossible). I didn't purchase new clothes for over a year, once I got a promotion I had to add to my wardrobe, but I shop at thrift stores to supplement it. I also mend my clothes to extend their life.

    I paid off all debt and currently only owe $1,500 at 0% interest on a credit card. This debt will be paid in full before the interest rate goes up in the spring 2009. My new number is $1,500 down from $12,600 (2 years ago). I was able to put $5,500 towards my debts each year for 2 years. I also have an EF (my savings) with 3 months of living expenses in it.

    I will be completely debt free in a few months. I have enjoyed the journey, I learned so much about myself along the way and I feel empowered. I make less than $25,000 before taxes (I am not wealthy, but I feel wealthy sometimes because I make good choices).

    I just wanted to give thanks for the help and the daily encouragement to live a frugal and simple life. I sleep soundly at night, and if I don't it's not over money worries. I learned 2 years ago that it doesn't matter how much or how little you are currently making, you have what it takes to turn your finances around. I started turning my financial life around while collecting unemployment and then working as a temp for several months. I am not worried about my ability to cope in tough times anymore. I thought I was hopeless and if I can do it I know anyone can do it .

    I want to hear your stories, so share them if you want to. I think we learn from each other and we make each other stronger with our victories.

  2. #2
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    What a wonderful success story. You've done so well. It's always so inspiring to read other's succes stories. I'm so glad you shared yours.

  3. #3
    Registered User cheapskate 49's Avatar
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    Wow....just a great story I'm so glad to hear you are doing so well,you showed your family and friends that it could be done.You have much to be proud of

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  5. #4
    Registered User Jeanna's Avatar
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    Way to go. I haven't done near that and my husband makes way more than that. You have a good head and have used it well. Good luck in the future. I know you will do well with a mind and will power like that.

  6. #5
    Registered User kittykatstrong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the story. Reading them helps keep me focused.

  7. #6

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    My husband and I have worked hard - really hard - to get ourselves out of debt. Now, other than our mortgage, we don't owe anyone a dime. Cars are paid off, the one credit card we had hanging over our head is gone after years of stress...

    We are working to fully fund our EF and savings as we live outside of Washington DC and we need at least $10K in each to last 4-6 months without a salary...we are starting to work on our 401Ks after really ignoring our retirement needs for too long...

    If you have debt, my only advice is to pay them off, one at a time and not accumulate more while paying down. The feeling of self satisfaction is immense - and blissful. I am beholden to no one. I buy what I need to buy. I save for things I want.

    You can do it.

  8. #7
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    Well, we of course have just begun (married October 17, 2008!), fresh out of college with less than 20k in student loans between the both of us, no credit card debt, one car that was paid off long ago, and pretty good job opportunities for both of us. We've got a pretty tight budget at the moment (and have waaay overspent on Christmas!), but we're focused on paying off our student loans before we take on another big project, such as house or car. We feel pretty good about where we're at, but we know that our (success?) story is only just beginning!

  9. #8
    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    You are both an example, and an excuse remover, to everyone here.

    Well done!!!

  10. #9
    Registered User mikandmari's Avatar
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    Wow, Marie! You are an inspiration! It's been great reading along through your successful journey. I need to learn a few things from your example... I could be doing a little better

  11. #10
    Registered User larabelle's Avatar
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    Great Job to both of you....Thanks for the stories they really inspire me to keep on going!!
    Last edited by larabelle; 12-18-2008 at 04:35 PM.

  12. #11

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    When I read your story, I was like "OMG this is ME!" My fiance is in a PhD program for Microbiology and he brings home at $1600 a month as a stipend from school. I am thankful to God for this because if anything happened to my income we could at least pay the rent. He won't be done with school until 2011/2012 depending on how his experiments go. It is so funny to me when I read your story, I thought I was the only girl out there with a fiance in a PhD program who is basically a full-time student, and me being essentially the breadwinner. You really inspired me a lot.

    I have a lot of my own debt that I am paying down before he gets out of school. He knows I have these debts but doesnt really know how much it is. It's caused some arguments but he's at a point in his life where he really can't help me much so I am doing this all on my own. My goal is to be rid of my consumer debt before he's done with school so we can finally get married one day.

    Thank you so much for your post.

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