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How 2 families paid off $100,000 in debt in 5 years

Published: Tuesday, April 3 2012 11:58 a.m. MDT

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Debt can be an overwhelming burden on a family, but some have found ways of overcoming.

Two families shared how they were able to get rid of $100,000 in debt in a recent article in Forbes.

Kandy and Russel Hildebrandt managed to eliminate $123,000 in debt in less than five years. Most of the debt was spent on everyday things that added up for more than a decade.

Kandy Hildebrandt told Forbes that she wasn’t aware of how much they had accumulated because her husband handled the finances.

The couple sought advice from credit counselors who negotiated a lower interest rate but still left them with $2,300 in monthly payments.

“We did what we had to do. I remember making a lot of meals without meat. The only thing we bought fresh was bananas and apples. At one point I couldn’t even afford to shop at thrift stores,” Kandy Hildebrandt told Forbes.

Russell Hildebrandt took a job mopping floors at a grocery store to supplement his primary income as a chemist. He worked seven days a week for four years and had to sleep in his car at times to avoid commuting costs to his day job.

The Hildebrandts paid off their debt in 2009 and now only have one credit card with a $2,000 limit that they pay off monthly.

The Baileys, who are in their 60s, completed their debt management program in 2010, according to Forbes. They racked up $92,000 in debt for things like emergency home and car repairs.

Jerry Bailey told Forbes that a lack of budgeting and accountability between him and his wife were to blame for their debt burdens.

The couple also got a credit counselor and set out to pay off the debt in five years.

“We were able to modify payments with all but two creditors, it made our payments last longer, but we got through it,” Jerry Bailey, who took on a second jobs to pay off the debt, told Forbes.

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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