Debt Free News #25 – Scraps

Every debt free story submitted is special. I smile from ear to ear every time I read a new submission. I’m equally as excited about today’s Debt Free News because today’s story comes from someone who has followed Enemy of Debt since the beginning. ย It was readers like Scraps that kept me on the path to educating the world about debt and living a debt free life. Scraps is special to me because we have continued to chat over the years and we have often emailed back and forth about things she’s going through or just to chat about something I wrote. I’ve also enjoyed hearing whenever she has a great tip she wants to share that has helped her out on her journey. She really touched my heart when she sent the below message about how Enemy of Debt has helped her. It happened to be at a time when I questioned whether or not I wanted to continue blogging. (bloggers remorse is REAL!)

“It was the few scraps of money/change I had that made a difference – you showed me that. Plus, I have a great birthday each year – how, I don’t spend my change I accumulate each day – every day I put all my change for the day in a container and once a year I take all of it to the bank – when – a few days before my Birthday and that is the money I use to celebrate – it is amazing that bit of scraps(change) always nets me between $260.00 and $300.00 to have a fantastic birthday – debt free.

I also want to use it (EOD) because you continuously show people they don’t need to make a lot of money, win the lottery, pray for overtime – all they have to do is start with the scraps and watch them add up to a fantastic meal once a week, a suit credit card free, a dress credit card free, a vacation credit card free, a life credit card free.

As I told you before, your site has made a great difference in my life and even though I plan to bite the bullet and do all I can to be free of debt by the end of this year – I plan to still go to your site to remind me of my accomplishment and the blessings I can receive from it and to keep me encouraged to stay debt free.

May God continue to Bless you and Keep you in His Care.”

SCRAPS…CONGRATULATIONS!ย I’m better off for knowing you! You deserve debt freedom and I have been so excited to see you overcome the debt in your life! You should know that your journey has only just begun. Debt freedom is only the beginning and it gets better each and every day that you are no longer a financial slave to the many people willing and ready to take your money. Keep rocking it!! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Enemy of Debt Questionnaire – Congratulations to Scraps!

How much debt did you have and how long did it take you to pay it off?

At first it was $10,000 paid it off. Then thinking I had it together did it again. But, this time I didn’t stop until I hit $20,000.

How does becoming debt free actually feel? Does it feel better than you imagined it would?

Relief, relief, relief. When I paid the last bill I felt a weight come off me? They can’t take the house, the car, anything. It all belongs to me. I will never, never, never do it again. It aged me more than anyone will ever know.

What were some of the struggles that you had to deal with along the way? Was there ever a time where you almost gave up?

Me having to say, No. That is not easy for me. Everyone knew I was the one who would give my last penny, go without, sacrifice for my friends.

What would you consider to be the most important key to becoming debt free? What helped you the most?

Becoming selfish. Yes, I said selfish. I had to start telling myself, before you help people out who always get amnesia when it comes to paying you back ask yourself this, are they in trouble because of life or because of them. Asking myself who was going to take care of me if I lost my job and realizing the answer was sobering.

It seems a lot of people have bought into the idea that debt is essential in order to prosper, what do you have to say to those people?

Don’t do it. Save up for everything you want, no matter what it is. When you add everything up with the interest rate and years, I could have bought 2 houses and 5 cars.

What was the biggest sacrifice you would say you made in order to become debt free? What about you changed the most?

My social life changed and because of that so did most of my friends. I couldn`t travel, I couldn’t go out, I could no longer go on a $3,000.00 shopping spree in one day. I had to stop and say, “what is more important?” I realized less is best. I became a bargain shopper. I started asking, what do you need? Why do you need it? What would happen if you never get it? Can it wait? But, the most important question I now ask, is this really a need or a want you are telling yourself is a need?

Did your friends and family give you a hard time about your new mission to eliminate the debt from your life? If so how did you deal with it? Do you think you inspired others by your journey

Sometimes, they thought I was going overboard, when I would insist I didn’t have money for take out and I just got paid. They would tell me I was going overboard and I had lost it. I asked them, if I lose my job today, will you pay all my bills? About 3 of them are taking some of the tricks I used to help themselves now.

What is next for you? What financial goals do you plan to accomplish?

I now must work toward a 6 month emergency fund and catch up with retirement big time and save up from a family trip to Disney World or Hawaii-pid by cash only.

This story was submitted by Scraps — a LONG TIME READER of EOD. (one of the very first readers actually) ๐Ÿ˜€ย Scraps is now debt free and loving it, and really loving seeing her bank account go up instead of down.

photo credit

Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader Series

Click here to read any of the other great debt free stories in this popular series!

More to come…but only if I get some new submissions! ๐Ÿ˜€

About Brad Chaffee

11 Responses to “Debt Free News #25 – Scraps”

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  1. It is definitely a huge relief every time you get yourself off the hook of debt. Sometimes i had to sacrifice and cut with my necessary expenses just to be able to set aside the needed money to pay my debts.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Exactly Malcom. People just hover through life talking about how hard they work and how hard it is to make ends meet, yet most everyone is straddled with loads of minimum payments that are keeping them from using their hard earned money most efficiently. It’s why they call it the rat race. haha!

      And for the record, I would NEVER EVER EVER pay a debt before covering my four walls — food, shelter, utilities, and basic transportation. If someone is struggling to pay necessities the debts should be the last thing to get paid. Unfortunately, people worry too much about their credit score and make the mistake of pushing their debts to the top of what gets paid. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Malcolm@moneymouse says:

        Well, those four you said are like the laws i wouldn’t break for they will break me instead. Of course they are the top priorities of our lives. Thanks Brad for the reply, its great to have an exchange of words with an expert like yourself. YOU ROCK!

  2. Great story. I’d like to add my congratulations to Scraps!

  3. That’s so awesome — you can feel her enthusiasm!

  4. Congrats on becoming debt free! These stories are inspiring for me and I am working to pay off bills but I feel like I am mostly treading water and trying to get basic needs met, like paying for food and gas. I have never been in a position to go on a $3k shopping spree and it would be easier to get out of debt if I had expendable income like that. I feel discouraged sometimes though when I read stories of people getting out of 10 or 20k in debt in a year or two. I just don’t have that money to throw at my debts. Though I am trying to make some side money it’s only an extra hundred or so. How do you stay motivated when you don’t have the expendable income? I only wish it was easy to say, “ok, I will not go out to a nice restaurant and instead use that money for debts,” but I wouldn’t be able to afford the restaurant in the first place. As it is, I can’t afford an extra $3 at Starbucks. I guess that my tight financial situation is only temporary for the next few years while my husband is in school and we work to pay his tuition while he is focusing on school and not working, but is it possible to get out of debt even with a restricted budget?

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Alice you make some valid points. We got out of debt in 20 months (and we didn’t make all that much at the time. My wife was in Nursing school, and I delivered pizzas) but we were pretty radical with our approach. We sold EVERYTHING (and I do mean EVERYTHING we didn’t NEED) that we could get rid of and found every single way possible to earn extra money. My wife bought things at yard sales, auctions, and Goodwill and resold them on eBay sometimes making more than $500 per month depending on what she found. Anyone can sell on eBay, it’s really easy but it does take patience. We also got rid of our car payment which gave us an additional $300 a month to use to pay down our debt. If you’re not making enough money at your job ask yourself how you can make more. Can anyone get a second job even if it’s just making an extra $500 a month? Have a yard sale. Think about what you are good at and find a way to provide a service to others who could benefit from what you are providing. The key is to not take no for an answer and by that I mean if you aren’t making enough money look for another job. Maybe you’ll find something and maybe you won’t but if you don’t look then you’ll definitely not find one. (btw, I’m not saying you haven’t done or tried any of these things, just speaking in general.)

      When in debt you only have two choices.

      A.) Do EVERYTHING you can! Do it all. Some things will work and some things won’t. Repeat the things that work. Be willing to give up things you like. Make sacrifices. Never stop trying new things to earn money, cut the budget etc.
      B.) Wait for everything to fall into place.

      From the sounds of your comment things are pretty tight. My advice would be to NOT wait until your husband finishes school because that is two years away and in two years there will be another set of circumstances keeping you from being able to pay down debt. There’s always a reason NOT to do what you need to do so you may as well figure it out now.

      Good luck and just don’t give up! The second you give up and think you cannot get through this is the second it will be true. Stay positive and focus on what you want to create in your life (financial health) instead of focusing on what you don’t want (debt).

    • April says:

      Hi Alice,

      To make a dent in my debt I had to get an evening part time job. I worked 16 hours a week at a convenience store and put that money towards my debts. At first it is hard to get people to believe that a professional would want a part time job but eventually you can find something and you can throw that extra money towards your bills. I was a teacher and the stock boy I worked with just graduated with an engineering degree. I’ve known other professionals that still work their PT jobs at the grocery store and BK on the weekends. It will take a few evenings or weekends out of your month but in the end you will be so happy you get rid of those bills.

      I’ve never been in the position to have a $3,000 shopping spree either but over time things just get out of control. Really look at where your money is going. Cut off the cable and house phone. Cut cell phone down to just talk. No text or data. No more drive thru. You can do it!

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        GREAT COMMENT APRIL! Thank you so much for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜€

        GO ALICE! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Scraps says:

        I would like to say, yes it is easy to spend $3,000 when you are in your early $20’s and have your 1st real job – it is however, not wise.

        It is very easy to go on spending sprees and travel everywhere and do a lot of things when you are dumb enough to live with your head in the sand not realizing there are tomorrows.

        Then tomorrow comes –

        1st you lose that great job that allowed you to go on those shopping sprees and do all that travel – so this time you don’t have the funds to pay it off in 2 or 3 months

        So, what do you do – you end up in debt – a lot of debt – $10,000 worth of debt.

        You eat pork and beans on a daily basis and sometimes you add rice. Then finally you get another job – but, this time the bills are such you can’t do that pay off in 2 or 3 months

        Hmm, do I still think that $3,000.00 shopping spree and nonstop travel with no emergency fund was so grand now?

        But,

        You can only make the minimum payments why –

        2nd you get diagnosed with a brain tumor the type of which only 10% of the world has, so your insurance will not pay for all the test that need to be done to keep you alive

        You have just enough to pay your rent and the minimum on your credit cards while you are getting mri’s and other test done for monitoring this tumor and thank God that the type of tumor you have will not kill you – just cause you a tremendous amount of pain and sometimes may lead to other serious medical conditions if it is not controlled with what – medication that is not cheap.
        You finally get a consolidation loan and pay off the credit cards and then the loan and you are happy –

        But, wait throughout all of this you have no emergency fund – why, because you don’t think – that’s why

        so, what happens next

        3rd – you have a stroke and no one knows why because, as they continue to tell you – you are too young to have had a stroke

        So, you have outstanding medical bills that you already have to pay and now more medical bills added to it.

        So, you pray and God allows the doctors and the hospitals to put you on payment plans. He allows them to say, insurance will not pay it so, if you can give us hundreds of dollars immediately we will knock off a couple of hundred, he allows you to learn who your friends are “for real” for it is them that you borrow money from to save yourself hundreds of dollars.

        Yet. you still have to pay them back

        Hmm, do I still think that $3,000.00 shopping spree and nonstop travel with no emergency fund was so grand now?

        Finally, you get some sense and realize tomorrows do come and without a plan – you continue to lose.

        So, what do you do – you get a plan – you decide no matter whatr I am going to deposit 25.00 a month in some fund and at least you have a start.

        That goes on for a while, then you are fortunate enough to come across a site when you goggle debt help and you meet someone who is talking about their struggles and not trying to act like they are superior to you and you are plan “stupid”.

        This someone understands the struggles and finds challenging but reasonable solutions – things you can think about doing. So, you with the help of a financial planner who was reasonable at the time and this someone you start your journey with the few scraps you have $25.00 a month.

        You read this site on a daily basis and take every trick and thought to heart – any good idea becomes your duty to try it out and what happens.

        My Scraps added up more and more – how, because everytime I paid off a bill – I didn’t add that amount to another bill – I used it to put in a vacation account (so,I could dream), an emergency account (I had learned), a bill account (so, I could be ready) and a house account ( it will take time).

        It didn’t matter that sometimes all I had was $20 to split 4 ways I did it.

        Now, today I am a testimony to how scraps can add up.

        Don’t ever say – you can’t – because – yo ucan.

        Throughout all the challenges I had in life – I did it and how – I will not say that Brad is the all in this – what I can say is this. Brad geniuinely cares about helping people and from what I have read so does all the friends he has on this site. These are not people who make you feel like failures, These are people who are going through and have gone through the struggles and understand the victories as well as failures.

        Don’t be discouraged – look at Travis – he just let us know his parents were a lot wiser than him- look at Ashley – she struggles but, she goes on – look at all the people who have become a part of TEAM EOD – real people – not those who keep telling us what we need to do and have no idea of the struggles in getting there.

        This is the only site I have found with honest, real, genuine people – is anyone asking you for money, is anyone telling you to buy a book and it will set you free – no.

        Everyone is saying look I messed up and I am learning.

        Well Alice, I messed up and Enemy of Debt was the best site that helped me learn,

        I guarantee you this if you continue to listen to Brad, Travis, Clair, Ashley and the rest – you will get fantastic small trips to getting out of debt.

        When I say – the best team on the internet – I truly mean the best team on the ENTIRE INTERNET!!!!

        Yes, I am DEBT FREE – but, I was very stupid to spend $3,000.00 on a shopping spree, to travel all over the place and do all that I did with no emergency fund and no plan for life’s tomorrows – so, don’t say aww wish I could say – thank God I did not.

        SCRAPS

        • Thanks for all the encouragement. We’ve had crazy tuition and medical bills add up and i get so discouraged at only having $20 here and there to throw at them but it’s great to hear your stories of how doing just that eventually paid them off. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

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