Interesting thread re DEBT FREEDOM

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by PsychDoc, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member

    AOL has an interesting discussion board regarding consumer credit and debt. If you have AOL, then you can use this AOL-only url to get there:


    Someone posted how badly they were in debt, how they didn't see how they could manage because everything was so expensive these days, etc. Someone named JJuuddee (in other words, posted the following response which I thought was good enough to share here. I also went ahead and posted the responses that followed as well...

    --------------------begin AOL thread--------------------

    Subject: Re: Help
    Date: Mon, Oct 15, 2001 12:44 PM
    From: JJuuddee

    You requested advice on where to begin.

    When my husband and I were having debt problems, we began by eliminating virtually ALL monthy bills. We turned off the heat (literally!) and bought quilts at a yard sale for our beds. We wore sweaters and socks to bed and cuddled with blankets on the couch at night.

    We cut out cable tv. We turned off the computer for over a full internet, no computer.

    We stopped the newspaper and every magazine.

    We cut down on the phone bill and got the minimum service. With no internet calls, we didn't need much. I wrote letters instead of calls. You can fit 5 pages into one envelope for a single stamp.

    We turned off every light in the house that wasn't absolutely required.

    We used the library for books and museum passes.

    The biggest change was selling my car. We went down to just one car for the family. We bought bikes, used the bus, or walked.

    I quit my job and took up a consulting job that was on the busline. I changed my working hours and eliminated childcare costs.

    We stopped going out to eat. We home cooked meals and ate only what was on sale.

    We stopped hotel bills by buying and learning to enjoy tent camping. We went on some great trips for a few bucks a night at state run campgrounds. We bought good sleeping bags and also used them for blankets on the kids beds for warmth.

    We stopped buying expensive gifts. I made presents for holidays and they seemed to be enjoyed just as much.

    We began saving 10% of every dollar we earned for retirement.

    We started an "emergency fund" with a few bucks. We started to repair (sometimes with help from friends) anything that broke, rather than purchase a new appliance/tv/radio/etc. We asked a friend to help with car repair and we paid him with "stuff" instead of cash, it worked well for both of us for quite awhile.

    We didn't buy ANY new clothing. We used up all the outfits stuffed into our closets. I couldn't believe how many shoes I owned. I shopped yard sales for the kids clothes (including shoes).

    We did "free" activities with the kids......picnics, playgrounds, walks around the neighborhood, library videos etc.

    We volunteered for our church instead of donating money. I volunteered at the school rather than donate to the PTO. They seemed plenty happy to have our "time".

    My husband got a second job. I worked on independent "projects" as a consultant whenever we had a large expense to pay.

    We did an "envelope" system to plan for expenses. For example, I knew how much property taxes would cost each quarter, so broke that down into weekly payments and paid it in smaller installments.

    That was years ago. We became debt free 10/99. We have not paid one dime to a bank in interest since that time. It was SO worthwhile! The freedom is incredible. We can now travel anywhere we please, make improvements to our house and buy whatever we want with cash. We continue the "emergency" fund, which now has nearly $10,000 cash. We also continue to save 10% of our income for retirement and depending on the stock market, have between
    $100,000 and have been as high as $120,000.

    We are committed to never having a loan again. We still don't have cable tv. We have loved tenting (although we have a beautiful trailer now) and still tent frequently. We still share a's been far easier than I ever imagined. We will be married 18 yrs next month and there is little stress to our relationship regarding $. I think being commited to a debt free existance has also helped our personal relationship!

    If we can do it, you can too. Our salaries have always been small. My husband never went to college. I work full-time only when I want to, and generally work just 4 days a week. There is freedom waiting for you! Just keep focused and you can make it!


    Living a debt free lifestyle since 10/99


    Subject: Re: Help
    Date: Mon, Oct 15, 2001 1:49 PM
    From: KarenL413

    Judy, you and your husband are perfect examples of "living within your means." Your post was one of the best I've read since I started semi-lurking on this board. Thank you for sharing.


    Subject: Re: Help
    Date: Mon, Oct 15, 2001 10:16 PM
    From: ChazInv


    These are all excellent ideas, many of which I use myself. These are excellent examples to the folks who are in debt, but refuse to let the "trappings of life" go. A little sacrifice is all that is needed to get you out of your debt problems. I find it funny how some people consider things like cable TV, the internet, $7.00 movie tickets a necessity. Great Job!!!...and never go back to that lifestyle. I hope to be "debt free" soon, and I won't
    let nothing get in my way!!! In fact, I am enjoying this "life challenge", it takes ingenuity, creativity, self-reliance and sacrifice to get where you need to go. I wish the other folks on these boards would hear the "wake-up call". Many spout off about not making enough money, but it's not what you earn, but how you spend that really matters.



    Subject: Re: Help
    Date: Tue, Oct 16, 2001 12:21 PM


    That was a great post. It really does show that with enough determination you can make it out of debt. As someone else mentioned, it doesn't have to do with how much you make, but how much you spend.

    Too many people think they have cut back as far as they can. Then it comes out that they have the $60 cable bill, $40 - 50 cell phone bill, etc. They don't understand that those are optional. My toughest thing to get rid of would be AOL, but if it came down to it, I would do it.

    If you don't want to be bogged down in debt your whole life, sometimes you have to be creative in how you think. You have to evaluate EVERY expense, even your fixed expenses. You need to look at that house payment and decide could you really get by with a cheaper house? You look at those vehicles and decide do I really need to buy or LEASE a car that is way too expensive for what I can afford? The next time you absolutely have to purchase a new
    vehicle, does it have to be NEW? You look at your electric bill and figure out how to make it lower- turn down the thermastat, get your windows tinted, get a blanket for your hot water heater. There are many creative solutions if you just look for them. Some of these bills are not things you can change overnight, but they can be life long strategies that will help you change the future. Debt isn't a one time thing that you suddenly get out of and
    then are on easy street. You have to continue to make the decisions that keep you out of debt.

    The key is to be truly determined to SOLVE the problem vs. just looking for an easy way out that isn't going to be too painful so you can get back to your regularly scheduled spending!

    I can't tell you how much happier my DH and I are since we made the resolve to get rid of our debt. The credit card bills are gone. Now we have two student loans, a car loan and the house. I am paying off one of the student loans this week. The goal is to have the second loan paid by the end of next year. Then we accelerate payment on the car loan. Meanwhile, we continue to build our emergency fund and work on our retirement funds.

    You are a great inspiration Judy and hopefully others will see that it can be done!


    --------------------end AOL thread--------------------
  2. supershawn

    supershawn Well-Known Member

    Wow- that's a lot of dedication! I was curious as to how long they lived like that, so I did the math using their investment account a a baseline...

    She said they had modest salaries, I just interpolated that to aproximately 50k a year. (could be way off, I was just curious)

    If they saved 10% of every dollar, net before taxes, would be about $100 a week.

    If they achieved an average 6% return (like cd's), it would have taken them about 14.5 years.

    If they achieved an average 10% return (avg stock), it would have taken them about 12.5 years.

    If they achieved an average 12% return (good stock), it would have taken them about 10.5 years.

    Now THAT is dedication! Really- I am not being sarcastic.

    (my numbers were from averages...just because I was curious, please don't fault me on the amount of returns, etc...I am just sharing my quick research. This is all interpoloation, it could be way off)

    FYI- If they had used creditworks, it would have only taken about 7 years. They wouldn't have had to miss the second season of Seinfeld!

  3. leo728

    leo728 Well-Known Member

    I don't see it that way. You only live once. Before you know it, it's over.

    I applaud them for the dedication. But instead of not having cable, get basic service and get a descrambler.

    When going on vacation use or something like that to book hotels ( very cheap )

    Read online magazines. Burn your own cd's etc etc.

    there should be a middle of the road. I wonder how they got into the heavy debt in the first place?

    I'm just rambling along....... sorry.

    And btw. I think that the household income was problably about $50.000 total.
  4. supershawn

    supershawn Well-Known Member

    Oh, trust me, I could never do that.

    Call me silly, but I have this thing for electricity and hot water.

    I think it's great that they were able to pull it off, but I could never have done that. I get this picture if Little House on the Prarie when I think about them...

    I remember when I was trying to get myself out of debt- I really did try. But I couldn't. I wasn't doing anything fancy as far as trips or anything like that, but I also didn't eliminate my cable or internet.

    There methods might have been a little 'hardcore' for me, but I applaud the fact that they made a decision and stuck to it. That kind of dedication is very hard to come by.

  5. leo728

    leo728 Well-Known Member

    Amen to that!!

    Really, it kind of freaked me out a little just reading the post. Why study and make more money if I can't even enjoy my cable or internet.

    And what should I do with all the money saved??? Give it to my (future)children so that they can spend it when I die????? NO WAY.......

    Like I said there is always a middle ground.
  6. roni

    roni Well-Known Member


    You must supply a local referer to get URL '/users/7d362e08/bc/sharedfolder/osama.swf.swf?bcKS8H8AI9r6wpdI' from this server.


    Broken link Shawn so my butt's still here....

    Reminds me of some chick that I saw via TalkSoup who had been on Oprah.... She was making her "modest" living selling a "how-to" book... :(
  7. supershawn

    supershawn Well-Known Member


    Works from both of my machines when I click on it.

    That's strange....

    Anyone else having problems? It's even almost on topic.....

  8. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    I can't get it either. "forbidden" makes me want it real bad, hehe.
  9. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Hey, Doc, if you like the sound of that lifestyle, there are entire websites devoted to it. Not to mention TMF LBYM board.

    I would go crazy. I think some of these folks have a need to punish themselves. I mean really, do without heat??? Now, I don't have cable - I got fed up with that a long time ago. My long distance bill for 3 motnhs was $10.00. I use email instead. Don't turn the computer on? Ummmm I can get juno for free if I need it. I don't eat out much or spend money on movies, but that's just my taste, not frugality.

    I think there's a balance somewhere.....

    For people who have gone wayyyyyy deep into debt and think they can't get out, yes, I agree, drastic measures are necessary, but I still wouldn't go without heat. Maybe they live in FL????

    Oh well, to each his own.
  10. supershawn

    supershawn Well-Known Member

    I used to know a family that LOVED that lifestyle.

    Of course, they were Amish, so that might not count.

    In all seriousness, though, can you imagine what it was like for their kids? I am sure there is a good argument for less tv, but can you imagine none at all? Not having heat in the wintertime? For ten years?

    They are probably lucky no one turned them in for neglect, especially in today's society.

  11. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member

    Re: Interesting thread re DEBT FREE

    LOL, I'm not recommending what she posted, I said I thought it was "interesting." :) It really represents a point of view almost never embraced in our world of creature comforts, instant-on everything, and have-it-now-pay-later. (Believe me, I enjoy my creature comforts, instant-on everything, and in some cases paying later so I can have it now.) Assuming the kids weren't miserable (and I'll bet at least a portion of my Citibank LOC that this was the part of the story that was conveniently left out -- "MOM, ALL OUR FRIENDS HAVE HEAT FOR CHRIST'S SAKE"), these people really revolted against consumer culture. The world of credit, marketing, brand names, designer clothes, banks, car dealers, mortgage holders, etc., etc., etc., clearly turned nasty on these people (irrespective of whose fault it was), and instead of fighting they simply signed their own little personal declaration of independence.

    In one respect, it's hard not to admire the statement they made: "Look, creditors, we're just fine, so wait your turn. You'll get paid on our schedule, and you'll detect no worries here, because we don't care about credit. In fact, we don't care about cable TV, having two cars in the garage, expensive HDTV-DVD-CDRW-MEGAHERTZ, or any of the other crap your friends in the office next door are selling. Seeya, don't wanna be ya."

    I think I could do most of it (except turning down the heat, or doing without internet) if I absolutely had to. Free broadcast TV would be fine if I was really pinched. We could get along with one car if our feet were really held to the fire. I actually enjoy garage sales. Camping might be a problem, though... I like to hear a door close and lock before going to the bathroom. :)

  12. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    My brother didn't let his kids watch TV. Only on special occasions. Kept the TV up on the shelf in his closet.

    Then they home-schooled the kids. Guess what! Those kids are something else. They have attention spans that are somewhat longer than 30 minutes. They don't expect to be entertained. They can sit and play together for hours.

    Two are in college now - full scholarships. The 15 yr old is microsoft certified and runs the network for his dad's business. He's webmaster for several organizations. The youngest (he's 7) can sit and talk intelligently with a group of adults for an hour at a time.

    Now they have their own TV's in their rooms - they hardly ever turn it on.

    Going without TV is not abuse, LOL.

    Going without heat... I can't imagine.
  13. dlo64

    dlo64 Well-Known Member

    Yes taking a step back and looking at what is necessary and what is not is a good thing. I pretty much live the same type of life that Breeze does. I do have cable TV. Are you kidding, my husband would go nuts without it! LOL

    The heat thing. I don't think so. I live in the midwest and it goes below zero usually around January. Besides, I don't think the apartment complex management would take kindly to the water pipes freezing and bursting!
  14. supershawn

    supershawn Well-Known Member


    The family of one of my roomates in college got into the whole home-schooling thing. His brother and sister-in-law home schooled theirs.

    Whenever they would come over they would just kind of sit in the corner of the room- I think they were scared of people! They were incredibly smart, though!

    I think home schooling could be a good idea, but there are some important socialization skills I think you miss out on.

    I am sure there is a happy middle in there somewhere (I think that should have been the title of this thread).

    His family had some other issues too, though, I don't think you could blame the whole thing on home schooling.....

    Oh, well, to each his own....

  15. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    My brother belongs to a home-school association and they have all kinds of activities - social and otherwise. I know that's a big argument against home-schooling, but you should meet some of the other kids, LOL.

    The ones I know (not just my brother's) can get up and speak in public, converse with people of all ages and backgrounds - they're very outgoing. They play sports, play other schools, have cheerleaders, etc.
  16. godaddyo

    godaddyo Well-Known Member

    My five year old is home-schooled, and my wife spends a few hours a week planning and implementing his studies. He is currently doing 2nd grade work.. He is a very bright 5 year old, who enjoys the company of his siblings, his elders, his peers and anyone who can hold a conversation with him. He is polite and courteous and a pleasure to be around, unlike many of the other kids that live in our neighborhood and attend the public schools. I think that homeschooling really has advantages for young children. If you are a parent and you are capable of making it happen, it makes all the difference in the world. You will always here arguments against those programs that take away from the governments interaction.
  17. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Great!! I know it is difficult to do - I watch my sister-in-law and the work she puts in.

    Here in VA we have tried and tried to get legislation for education "vouchers" so those who homeschool and use private schools can get some of their tax money back and educate their kids the way they want. It almost passed last time around.

    I think the majority of the kids who are home-schooled come out so far ahead of the public schools in social skills!!

    My brother's youngest (7) is so cute when he's around my Mom - he holds her hand, and leads her around, LOL. When she's sitting down, he pats her hand and arm, and askes her if she needs anything. Sooo cute. And Mom just eats it up!!

    The 15 year old actually comes down and stays with her when I go out of town. He cooks and cleans, and does yard work.

    They are real little treasures.

  18. lbrown59

    lbrown59 Well-Known Member

    My niece was home schooled graduated with a 4.0 Avg.Today at 26 she is a physical therapist in N.Y. State.

    Her Sis.was home schooled also.She is studying in Toledo, become an interpreter for reading Ultra Sounds.Not bad for a 20 YR. Old.

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