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By slowlrnr
March 18, 2005

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My kids are thinking I'm crazy for dancing around the kitchen today, but it has been a long time coming. I finally joined the Fool.

Our family has four kidlets which we homeschool. We had moved into a larger house after the birth of number four and our credit card bills were piling slowly up. I had paid off my credit cards 3-5 times before, always with a self righteous "never again!" only to charge it back up for repairs, Christmas and that all important dinner out (what a great reason to whip out the credit card). You know, all the responsible reasons. Well, I figured, everyone carries credit card debt, so no big deal.

Then I saw my parents and in-laws looking toward retirement. Last March, I looked at our family's financials. Four kids with educational expenses, no emergency fund and nothing going to retirement. Hmmmm. Maybe this isn't a smart idea. We were one emergency away from financial disaster, and I knew it.

So after a lot of blaming the credit card companies, my husband for spending too much or my kidlets for wanting too much (of course MY spending was always NECESSARY), I did a Google search on debt and came across the Fool. I did the free trial and learned more about money in 30 days than I had throughout my entire adult life. Budget? There are actually people who follow one? Snowballing? Living Below Your Means?!!? Who are these Fools and why do I want to become one?!!?

I became obsessed and read, read, read as many posts as I could. My 30 days were up, but I thought, "you know what? We can do this." I tracked our expenses and looked at interest rates. Working with numbers has always been difficult for me, so this was really a chore. I had a LONG talk with DH about money, had an even longer talk with the kids about needs and wants. I promised myself I would join the Fool once the debt was gone and sent the $30 I would have paid for a Fool subscription to my credit cards as an homage to you Fools. Here we go.

We reduced the amount we were withholding on taxes, applied any windfall to the debt, refinanced the house, started shopping at Aldi's, cut down on entertainment expenses, got a part time job, did balance transfers and lowered the insurance on our cars to liability only. With that, I had almost $600/month extra to pay off our debt.

So, our debt in 3/2004:

BOA Visa $7010 @ 19%......now 0
Citi Master $3495 @ 16%......now 0
School Loan $927 @ 5%......now 0
School Loan $5310 @ 4.25%....now 0-posted today
Efund $500......now $2300
IRA $0.......now $2900



YEEEEHAW! I think I finally got it! Although this isn't as big as a debt payoff as many of you wonderful Fools have accomplished, it's a HUGE deal to me. I no longer hate money. I no longer feel like our bills and expenses dictate our life. I love LBMM! And I'm not nearly as big of a bi*** when it's "bill day". It took some work and a lot of self education, but I finally feel in control of our money.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, you wonderful Fools. Now, on to getting that Efund bigger......

Dancing with a butt-wiggle...
slwlrnr


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