Becoming Debt Free

I don't know about you, but I'm really tired of being bombarded by ads telling me I need something.  I am blessed.  I have everything I need, but can definitely be tempted to buy stuff anyway, especially if there's a discount involved.  First it was Black Friday.  Then there was Cyber Monday.  Next it will be Christmas.  Then inventory reduction sales.  It never ends.  I'm tempted to buy stuff that doesn't make me happy, even though I thought it would at the time.

Over the past couple of years, I've had a lot of fun.  I have done some amazing activities and enjoyed spending time traveling with friends and family.  It has hurt my credit card.  I am really in a mode where I'm ready to get rid of debt completely and have cash on hand.

I read about a woman, Anna, who did a spending fast.  She paid off credit card debt to the tune of $23,605 in 15 months!  You can read about her experiences at her blog, 'And then we saved'.  She gives details about creating a budget and how to survive without totally giving up fun.

First I think it's important to decide what are true needs- for us that's groceries, gas for the car, utilities, haircuts, school expenses, etc.  Most of my spending has been on charity giving because who doesn't love to help people out with a need?  And then there's entertainment like movies, eating out, coffee on the go, travel.  And don't forget gift giving.  If I cut all of that out, I'd have a real chunk of change every month to pay off credit card debt.

The first step is to get off these ad lists.  I am going through my e-mail and unsubscribing from all those places that want me to spend.  They don't make it easy.  You sometimes have to click on something at the bottom of the e-mail, go to their website, select subscriptions, decline a "really good offer", etc.  This should also free up some time that I normally use to delete unwanted e-mails.

Next stop- catalog sales.  They come in the mail and some of them I never even look at.  They go straight to the recycling bin.  We could all kill a few less trees by opting out of these mailings.  This is kind of tricky because in most cases, you will need to have the catalog on hand when you try to stop having it delivered.  So go to the recycling bin, or bathroom/living room basket where you stash this stuff and now log on to catalog choice where you can create an account, then list the publications you receive that you really want to stop receiving.  You can even stop the yellow pages from being delivered to your home this way.  I have to admit, they are no longer used here since we got a computer, so I opted out of receiving those too.

Now on to the credit card offers.  I have enough credit.  Even though I may be tempted by their 0% offers, I'd be better off to just pay off what I have and not even consider more credit.  There's a website run by the consumer credit report industry called opt out where you can go and stop receiving credit and insurance offers for up to 5 years just by completing some on-line information.

Now about spending and still having fun.  I found this frugal living blog with all sorts of ideas for spending less and keeping life interesting.  Check it out if you need some ideas.  I'm looking forward to becoming debt free!

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