I am working on taking over the bills in our house, and we are in SERIOUS debt. We do not own a home, and I am just trying to find out where to begin. We mostly have credit card debt. We have almost 18,000 in credit card debt from when my husband and I first got married (we are 26 now) and “charged everything”. We were young and thought that we would “pay it off” we did…but kept spending. Now that I am taking over the finances because my husband has gone on deployment I really want to make an impact by paying some bills off but I just do not know where to start.

If your husband is being deployed to a combat zone (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan), he will receive combat pay (which is an increase over what he normally gets) and since he is out of the country, there is no tax on that income. Therefore, if you are not having trouble right now making ends meet with your regular bills, i.e., rent, utility bills, etc., I would take the whatever is increased salary is and put that toward your credit cards. I did that for my son when he was deployed overseas and while he didn’t have credit card debt, he did have an outstanding car payment which I paid off for him in 6 months’ time.

I even started a savings account for him while he was overseas and that way when he got back home and with all his bills paid, he had a nice little cushion to come home to. It is said that when GIs come home after their deployment, they like to treat themselves, i.e., cars or trucks, whatever their fancy is, and with the cushion that my son had when he got back to the States, he was able to keep adding to the little nest egg, so to say. Just remember to also have all your papers in order, all the POA (power of attorney) papers in order, that gives you the right to make changes or handle all his financial affairs.

For my debts I went with choosing the biggest one with the highest interest rate and the smallest. The smallest is paid off first and the good feeling it gave me helped keep me working on the bigger one. Then when you start feeling like you can’t get ahead you can pull out a file folder showing debts that you’ve gained victory over. (I write the word VICTORY in a colored marker or pen in extra large letters so that I can see it.) Each debt paid is a victory no matter how much was owed. Good Luck.

My hubby are military too… well hubby is … anyways he is currently deployed also… what we are doing is paying off our smallest dept and working our way up. i’m still paying extra on our other debt. In the past 2 months I have paid off 2 cards. we are 10 months into this deployment and i wanted to pay more off than i did but i’m still proud of what i have done. just take it a card at a time and cut out what you don’t need:) You’ll do just fine.

You might want to list out each debt by name, amount due and interest rate. Generally, you would be wise to pay the minimum amount on everything but the debt with the highest interest rate – try to pay as much extra as you can each month on the debt with the highest rate. By doing it this way you will pay the least amount overall. Once the high rate debt is eliminated, then start paying extra toward the next highest rate account and then the next until each one is paid down in turn.

A way to give yourself some warm fuzzies is to pick the account with the smallest total amount due and pay it off first. This can give you a confidence boost and allows you to scratch one off of the list, even though it might not happen to be the account with the higher rates.

Good Luck to you and your husband!