Me and DH started digging our selves into debt before we were even married. i would say it started almost exactly 3 years ago, so i guess its a good thing we learned quick. i had a credit card for a bit and paid it off every month. then i let the balance carry over once and i've had debt ever since. i got a CC on my account with DH's name and he maxed it out in a month. we lived off of CCs when DH was laid off one fall, and again in the spring. its been a parade of pay down a bit then rack it up again, and balance transfers ever since. We finally knew we were in too deep last summer and started cutting up the cards. i cut one up, got a new one in the mail when my account updated, and cut it up the day we got it, which was the turning point. slowly we cut them all up one at a time. first cut it in half and each of us hid a half in case of emergencies. then we lost one half and destroyed the other half.
if i need to use a credit card to buy it then clearly i dont need it! we have learned to live without milk for breakfast if tomorrow is payday. it took a lot of work to get to where we were at that point, but the most important part of it was buying things, brining them home and realizing i didnt need them and didnt have a place to put them! (living in a tiny apartment helped a lot) separating need from want. and sometimes you NEED to treat yourself, but dont do it when you arent in the mood to really enjoy it, then its just a waste.
in november i balanced my budget, then cut out a chunk of it and paid off a credit card. it was so liberating! i had transferred most of the balance to other cards 8 months ago, but the remaining 250 i had left on there, was mostly still there! i walked to college, walked to the store and refused to buy anything i didnt urgently need for more than a couple days. and i just didnt give DH any money if he wanted it.
since then, we have reduced our balance by 1000 dollars as of today. it used to be 3200, and now its 2200. i know that seems like only a little bit of debt but we were barely making the minimums for a while between our other debts. DH got a second job and almost all of that goes towards credit cards now. the best part is knowing that even though we had a baby in january we are so dedicated to not living outside our means that we arent blowing money on baby things that she will never know she had to live without! one more exceuse to spend was also the only reason i've ever had to successfully save money.
we still have a long way to go, but when its so easy to see the debt disappear its easier to do it. the lowest balance i have is 430 right now. i really want to see that at 200 or 0 by next month. i was 745 at the beginning of the month. we cut our cable package, and without heat to pay for since its spring, all the extra is going towards it as well. it feels so good to know that i will have one less bill to pay, to worry about, to get in the mail and clutter my files.
paying off a credit card is like climbing to the top of the rock wall and hitting the buzzer, i know my hard work has paid off and its so gratifying!