Brandi from Kansas was in a situation so many of us have faced at one time or another. See how she dug herself out of debt.

"We had about $22,000 in debt originally, all consumer debt on credit cards. It was horrible. My husband and I both felt like we were owned by these companies, having to make these payments all the time. We felt like we just kept burying ourselves further and further. Now that we've paid it off, we feel like a weight has been lifted.

We had our second son, who came two months early and then so did the medical bills. They were streaming in, and I was unable to work because he had some issues and wasn't able to go to daycare. Everything kept piling up. We knew it wasn't going to work. We'd taken classes at church about finances and learned that you should never be in debt, but they never told us how to actually pay anything off—just that debt was bad. I was talking to a friend who told me that I needed to watch Oprah and try Oprah's Debt Diet. I tuned in a little bit late, then logged online and started reading. I tried to make sure that I would be online every day or I would try to watch Oprah so that I could hear other people's stories and have some positive motivation. For us, we did not have a Latte Factor©—we didn't have anything that we could pull money from at all. So my husband and I both took part-time jobs at a local pizza place, and all the money that we made each month there, every dime, went to paying off our debt. I was a waitress, and I would bundle up all my cash that I made and tuck it away. Once a month, we would get a money order and send the money off. We didn't use that pizza money for anything else. We wouldn't cash or deposit our checks—we would wait until the end of the month, total it up and then mail it off.

Getting part-time jobs was the turning point because we had nothing extra without additional income. We had eight credit cards. We paid off each bill one at a time, applying the money from each bill paid off to the next bill.

Real Women, Real Excuses continues...
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006, 2008 by Jean Chatzky.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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