Jean Chatzky
There are a million strategies to get out of debt, but one of the latest is quite unexpected: blogging, or web logging. A lot of people are paying down their debts for all to read. The New York Times recently ran an article on the trend, and it caught Jean's interest enough to invite two such bloggers to the show. The first calls himself NCN. He says he started blogging with about $11,500 in debt. Now, he has completely paid off his loans and credit cards. Here's what he has to say about the experience:
  • He says there is a large community of personal finance bloggers out there.
  • NCN says it wasn't his blog that got him out of debt—it was his drive and determination. But the community on his blog motivated and supported him through the bumps along the way.
  • He paid off his debt in 10 months and then turned around to save $20,000 in his emergency fund. He has $4,000 in an education savings account for his daughter, and he and his wife are saving 20 percent of their income for retirement.
  • NCN says his lifestyle didn't change. The family budgets, uses coupons and makes conscious choices about how they are spending their money.
Leigh Ann is Jean's second guest blogger. Leigh Ann hosts seminars for a living to teach others how to get out of debt…so she knew what to do, she just wasn't doing it. Leigh Ann started her blog when she was about $19,000 in debt and managed to climb her way out in about a year. She tells Jean about her experience:
  • Leigh Ann said at the start of her blog she was spending $150 a day.
  • Leigh Ann managed to raise her credit score from the 500s to the 700s.
  • She upped her 401(k) contributions from 2 percent to 12 percent, and she is now focusing on building wealth.
  • Writing down her finances in a public way helped keep Leigh Ann accountable, and it motivated her to do more.
  • Soon, instead of just keep track of what she spent each day, she started blogging about how she made extra money and the bargains she found.
  • All of Leigh Ann's extra money went straight to her debt. She didn't wait until her bills were due—instead, she jumped online and made a payment whenever she had the money.
  • She says her blog now has about 100 loyal readers who check in every day.

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