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I have an insane amount of debt. Nothing to show for it. I decided in the summer of 2006 that I was going to sell everything I owned, charge up a bunch of credit cards and move to another city. Another country. I went to Thailand. I'll say it once and I'll say it again: I don't regret going, I just regret how I went.

And I'm still trying to get my life back on track. But now I can officially start, and here's my plan that you can follow too.

First, if you're anything like me, you need to know exactly who you owe and how much you owe. If you stop paying on your credit cards, like I did, or if you have floating utility bills, like I do, that you didn't make the last payment on, chances are the company you had those bills with has sold them off to collections agencies. They've probably accrued some amount of late fees, interest or collections fees. The easiest way to get all of this information is to obtain a credit report for all three credit unions. I say all three because some companies report on all three, only two or just one, so you want to be sure you've got all the information you need to start your financial recovery on the right foot.

Second, take a look at all the reports and make sure you can account for each purchase. You'd be surprised how many things sneak onto your credit report. If you search google for the company's name that is handling your debt, or you do an inquiry with the various credit companies, you can find their contact information. If you feel that there has been an error on an entry or entries on your report, dispute it. Even if you're wrong in the end, better to be safe than sorry.

Thirdly, don't feel overwhelmed. You knew you were in debt, this is just giving you a number to tell you how far into it you were. You can use this as a source of motivation to empower you to turn information into action. Visit to create a detailed list of your debts in an easy to read excel sheet. You can enable a payment calendar that will allow you to see what would happen if you put x amount of money towards each debt. Once one debt is paid off, the alloted money that was going towards that debt is now going towards another and so on and so forth.

Once you've selected what state you live in, created an account and arrived at the main screen, you can then enter in your debts. Include the company name, amount and interest rate. Save and the website will computer how long it would take you to pay off your debt:

This is what it should look like.

Now click on the "Payment Calendar" link above the debt information. This will take you to a second page. Select from a few options at the top, I recommend Highest Interest Rate First or Lowest Balance first.

Select calculate and scroll down to the bottom of the screen to view your projected calendar:

You will notice that when one bill is completely paid off that allotted amount is assigned to another bill until all bills are paid off. In just over a year and a half you can pay off almost $2500 in debt including interest! This website is truly a valuable resource.

And finally, take this information and roll with it. Its not going to be as easy as it was getting yourself into debt in the first place, but it will be worth it. If things get too tough, recalculate your powerpay plan. Its okay to stumble, just don't give up! Stick with it, stick with me and we'll make it together!
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I save, you save is brought to you in part by... me! Krystal! I'm 23 years old and I'm out to save some money. I'm participating in a savings challenge here in El Paso with a great credit union, GECU. If I manage to achieve or exceed my goals for the year 2009, I will win the grand prize of 10,000 dollars! So help me out, by posting tips, links to helpful websites and ideas to help me save money! :)

Money might not by happiness, but not having to stress about money problems will make you a happier person.
Peace, love and a handful of pennies.