~Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet
I suppose adding $14,200 to our total debt of $40,968 was our way of showing how imaginative we were and consequently, how out of touch with reality we had become.
It would have been easy to wallow in our obvious mistake, but we wouldn't have realized the joy of living debt free today. After all, failures are life's reminders that we're not listening to logic. Or at least that's how I feel about my financial blunders of '03.
I know that some are going to say that we lucked our way out of debt, but following that one mistake, we actively decided that we weren't going to live the "American Dream" like our friends, family or neighbors. We were going to live below our means and face our debt head on.
I am cautious in listing our guiding principles for two reasons: 1) the steps we took are very, very simple; 2) the steps we took cannot guarantee success for your situation. However, we feel that our list might give you some basics needed to begin rethinking your situation.
1) Understand our spending and no new credit card debt
2) Prioritize and snowball our payments
3) Grow our income and actively begin looking for a better job
4) Review our progress monthly and celebrate failures & successes
As stated earlier, these aren't new concepts, but if overlooked, you will never see the forest for the trees. There will be more to come with highlights of each step in our recovery.