To "Brent T. Aurora CO" actually it doesn't mean taht they earned
an extra $20,000 after taxes. There are many things that you can cut out of
your life that could add up significantly.For example, if you joined
a carpool, that could save up to $300/month ($3600 yr). Dropping paid TV
services can save another $1800/yr. Cutting back on Cell Phone plans can save
$1200/yr or more. Cutting back on eating out can easily save $2400/yr, assuming
you eat out a lot. Those things right there can save you $9,000/yr. Like one
of the women in the article said, she couldn't afford to shop at thrift
stores, which means that instead of spending $100's per month on clothes,
she was saving that money for paying off debts.
Between 2007 and 2009 we took on $30k of credit card debt and $20k of medical
debt. We had built our dream house and were living way beyond our means. We
started to feel the squeeze in 2009 and decided we needed to make drastic
changes if we wanted to avoid bankruptcy. We sold our rental properties (which
were the cause of most of our CC debt) and with the help of an attorney we
settled the $30k in CC debt for about $18k. We set up a payment plan with the
hospital to pay off the medical debt and just made our last payment in Dec 2011.
We sold our dream house and moved into a smaller, older house. We are now debt
free (except for our house) and don't use credit cards, but it didn't
come without significant sacrifice and giving up on some luxuries that we
thought we deserved.
There is always extra ways to find money. From the stories above, it
didn't sound like they had a ton of money to work with where they had to
pick up extra jobs and at times couldn't afford thrift stores. When it
comes down to it, we live with a lot of luxuries that we don't need. We
can cut back on cell phones, high speed internet, cable/satellite tv. Maybe you
need to move into a smaller and older house. When it comes to it, we all can
live within our means. This is a great story of people that have fixed their
problems without bankruptcy. It took sacrifice, but often in finance we need to
make sure we are given a bit of a sacrifice to keep things in order.
What this article doesn't discuss is INCOME. Paying off $100,000 in 5
years means an extra $20,000 a year. There have been many years, in fact most
of our 30+ years of married life as well as this being the mean, where $20,000
was our total annual household income (2 adults, 4 children), and to be frank an
extra 20k would be hard to find even during the very few years when it
approached 60k. The article, however based on the foolishness or misfortune of
being 100k in debt, is insensitive to the fact that minimum wage, which many
people have to live on, is $7.25/hour or 15k a year. That even where both
adults work (not recommended and certainly self-defeating in terms of childcare)
that would be only 30k. The real world, which this article seems to ignore.
Congratulations to these families. How can I know where to start in finding a
real credit counselor? Some seem shady to me.