This may have already been said, and may not even be helpful, but here goes anyway:
One thing I HAD to do when I started my debt pay-down extravaganza was to REALLY SCRUTINIZE where my money was going.
Back in March of 2008, I owed $20k+ in personal and CC debt. I have since added $2.5k to that debt to cover some legal fees.
I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, absolutely overwhelmed by the idea of paying down debt - feeling hopeless.
The first thing i did was track my spending IN DETAIL for one month. I called every single one of my regular bills (car insurance, cable/Internet provider, etc.) and asked them how THEY could lower my bills. That saved me over $100 a month in discounts and promotions I never would have figured out on my own.
I cut out many non-essentials - canceled Netflix, stopped paying for my dead-beat friend's cell phone bill, etc. Those measures saved me over $200 a month.
I looked at my spending CAREFULLY. I spent a lot more than I realized on NOTHING. A pop here, a FF meal there, taking the check when out to lunch with a friend, etc. I estimated how much I could live on in terms of pocket money so I didn't always FEEL broke.
These things seem simple - elementary even. The result? Since March 2008, even with adding $2.5k to CC debt - I've completely paid off personal debt, and my CC debt is down to $10k. That will be paid off by the end of 2008.
Deciding to be disciplined, knowing where I actually stand with my finances, asking my creditors to find me some cost savings, and paying my bills before I make any purchases has made a huge difference in how well I sleep at night.
problem with Quicken store all it does for you is show you where your money went after the fact, I use http://enjoy.finicity.com
smoothjk wrote: Wow, that's pretty inspiring man. I've definitely started keeping track of EVERYthing (thanks, Quicken software), and I'm gonna feel broke for a while...but it's totally worth it. Buying unnecessary stuff now comes with too much guilt to fully enjoy.