Paying off large credit card debts can be a treacherous experience, if you let it be that way. Especially, if you have four or more payments to make every month.

I had eight payments to make every month and rather going through any kind of headaches or added stress of negotiating with any of the creditors, I simply accepted that I had gotten myself into the credit debt mess and I was the only the one who was gonna get myself out. It was close to $14,000.00 in credit card debts alone. Plus I had my regular living expenses to meet also. My total debt was about half of my yearly net income. And yes, most of my debt came from me being very foolish as a young adult. Part of it came from having to cover emergencies that would have been easier to cover, if I hadn’t been foolish in the first place.

First, I cut and canceled all my credit cards accounts, except for one. It was not the one with lowest interest. It was the one with the highest balance available. I kept that card, but I cut it across the magnetic strip, so it was not usable and put it away into a safe place. Not my purse. I started paying off all the lowest balance cards first and had 2 of them completely gone within the first three to five months. During this five month period I only paid the minimums on the larger balances. After that, I started doubling the minimum payment on the 6 payments I had left. It really took major commitment, planning and vigilance.

It took me about 4 years to pay off the whole entire debt, on my own. I did a lot of very FRUGAL living during that time too. I learned some valuable lessons about the real costs of items.

Comparing what I “NEEDED” to what I “WANTED” There is a big difference, only when it comes to the COST. My consumer spending was cut by about 30%-40% by using all generic items and keeping major limits on that too. I lost weight because my food budget had to stay very fixed and as low as it could be. Instead of spending time “buying” things (we are addicted to that in our USA culture), I started enjoying free or already paid for activities. My expensive gym membership (that I neglected for about two years) became a great release. I started working out at least 5 times per week. I spent more time in the public library, doing more research on SAVING money in every way I could and also reading fun things.

Because I started eating healthier and less, working out and generally just using my time more productively without spending money, some of my recurring health problems, like major migraines, started to become less and less severe. Instead of getting three or four major migraines a month, I only got a really bad one, only once every 2-3 months.

Tragedy did pave my way three times during my payment plan. My car got stolen. I borrowed a car from my brother. With his car I got into a car accident, that was my fault. Then about two months later, I lost my job. I could not collect unemployment, because I was set up to be fired, so the company could afford a high priced piece of equipment, instead of paying me that year. DOO DOO happens!