Collecting cans and loose change, launching a get-out-of-debt fundraiser and taking on four part-time jobs are some of the creative strategies these six people have used to tackle their debt.
Worked five jobs at the same time
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Name: Joan Otto
Hometown: York, Pa.
At our worst, [my husband and I] had $90,000 in credit card debt and personal loans. I wish I could say we did something fun to run up all that debt, but it was probably a hundred little things and a lot of interest on stuff from 15 years ago like college costs and car repairs. So we sat down in 2011 and made big list of goals and said, 'We're done with this.'
We were salaried [employees at the local newspaper], so we didn't get any overtime and had been working 70-hour weeks. So I said, 'I'm going to do my best to work a regular full-time schedule [at the newspaper] and I'll use that extra time to take on part-time jobs.'
I started selling Mary Kay makeup on the side, and I became a Weight Watchers leader. I also did some freelance writing, and I designed websites -- anything I could do to get some extra money.
We first paid off the two loans we had taken out against our 401(k), so we were left with seven [credit cards and loans to pay off]. Our highest interest rate credit card is the one with the highest balance -- $40,000. Basically, we've been able take this card we hate and pay the minimum payments and then pay an extra $500 [per month] on it.
From our starting total of about $90,000, we have paid off almost $30,000. It's going to be a couple years until we're 100% debt-free, but we're almost a third of the way there.