How To Pay Off $35,000 In Consumer Debt In 3 Years

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly has made his final payment and is now free of consumer debt. He still has a mortgage, but has eliminated $35,000 of consumer debt that began with a $500-limit department store credit card.

Here’s a taste of how he did it:

Using the ideas I learned from personal finance books, I set out to eliminate my debt. I stumbled at first — I made plenty of mistakes. But eventually I developed a system that worked:

1. I set goals. I can’t stick to a budget to save my life, so I developed what I call a spending plan. Like a budget “lite”, this tool simply gives me a rough idea of my income and expenses so that I can determine where best to put my money. It’s like a roadmap to my money, and it has helped me reach my goals.
2. I read everything I could find. I continued to read personal finance books of all sorts. I learned that even the worst books generally contained a piece of advice I could use. I developed the ability to extract the stuff I could use from a book and to discard the rest. I subscribed to personal finance magazines. I read personal finance web sites.
3. I tracked every penny I spent. I never realized how easy it was for me to overspend simply because I didn’t keep track of my money. I’d kept rough records in Quicken before, but now I became precise. By paying close attention, I was able to spot weaknesses and correct them.

There’s lots more info at Get Rich Slowly. Congratulations, J.D.!

Have any Consumerists gotten themselves out of consumer debt? How did you do it? Share your strategy in the comments.

Free at Last! Saying Good-Bye to 20 Years of Debt [Get Rich Slowly]