Now that the holidays are well behind us, and the economy is still shaky, lots of folks are struggling to pay those credit card bills. Now I know that my suggestions are not for everyone. Some of you may not have the need to be so drastic, while others might find the need to be even more so. That’s okay, but finding what works for your family and what gets you where you want to be financially is what matters.

Several years ago, my husband and I found ourselves deeply in debt. It was so bad that we knew we had to make some changes. We got angry at our situation, and realized that we were to blame for it. We were the ones overspending, we were the ones buying things we didn’t need. Our first step was to get organized. We gathered all our bills in one place. Then we made a plan. We had to come to the decision that skimping for a while would allow us the freedom we wanted later.

Here are some of the things we did to find extra cash. We gave up sodas. It’s amazing how much those suckers cost! We cancelled our cable. This was hard at first, but after a month or so the kids and I didn’t even notice. We relied on Netflix and the library for any shows we wanted to watch. We went down to one car. This was a hard adjustment. However, not only did we save money on car expenses (insurance, gas, registration) but we were spending less money too. Having one car forced us to really plan our grocery shopping trips on my husbands day off. There was no more running to target, no window shopping at the mall. Turns out my window shopping was just shopping.

Even better than saving money, I’ve become more active. You are likely to see my and my kids walking and exploring our neighborhood now. We have even discovered new playgrounds. My kids now understand a little bit about money. My daughter has a working knowledge on how to buy things, and knows the difference between needs and wants. She is also starting to save her money. That is something I can be proud about. It’s been a few years now, and our credit cards are no more. Currently we are saving up to buy a second car with cash. Once our current car is payed off we will be completely debt free except for our house. And we have a plan for that too. We have been able to do all this on one average American income. We just had to make sacrifices. I hope you can find something that works for your family.

For more information on what we did and why visit

-Stephanie Wright

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