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Success Story: I Paid Off $18,000 in a Year

CNN Money posts about a woman who paid off $18,000 worth of debt in a year.

I ride the bus. A lot. Usually, twice a day. That has saved me approximately $1,400 over the past year.

In January 2010, I started what I called a spending fast. For a full year, the plan was that I would spend money on necessities only. No more eating out, no more movies, no more shopping, no more “wants”. I knew this was going to be intense, and I was also fully prepared for it to suck.

You see, I’m the type that buys what she wants when she wants because I work hard and I feel like I deserve it. I know plenty of people that have the same feelings as I do about work and money and spending and not spending.

But a funny thing happened: I also found myself in debt. $23,605.10 worth of debt, to be exact. I know that amount is not as much as some people’s debt, and I know it’s more than others. But the point is, it was bad enough for me. My debt was suddenly and horribly overwhelming.

I know why people don’t pay off debt. I know why it’s easier to pretend it’s not there. I know what it feels like to be completely convinced that the debt will never ever, ever get paid off, and that if it did it’d only be because I won some random game show or some Mega Lottery Jackpot that I don’t even play.

Debt is overwhelming. When the number gets to a certain point it’s kind of like, “Ah, screw it! I might as well enjoy myself because I’ll always have this debt.”

Lesson Learned:
People who avoiding keeping track of their daily expenses are usually in for quite a shock when they finally decide to. The amount of money spent on things accumulatively is astonishing.

My personal example? I used to get Schwann’s Food Delivery twice a month. I’d usually spend about $40 each time, so we’re looking at $80/month. That wasn’t a huge deal to me, but when I finally started keeping track of my expenses and saw my total spent on that food was $3,000 over time, I stopped right in my tracks with a wake-up call.

Little expenses add up. They can either add to your debt, or they can add to your savings. As Captain Planet would say, the choice…is yours.

About Crystal Groves, Google+

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast from the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She started Money Drain as a project to encourage people interested in fixing their financial situation to share their stories and learn from the stories of others. We all make mistakes, but in order to change we have to make changes.

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