Alexis: Before we got married I think we both understood that we had debt, especially me. But it wasn’t something that we felt we needed to go into details about. In our relationship I’m definitely the spender.
Eric: I think my strategy was to ignore it and it didn’t exist.
Greg: Alexis and Eric are aware of the problem and that’s really half of the battle right there. But these problems aren’t going to go away if you don’t address them.
Alexis: We knew that we should be saving. We’ve got 401(k)s, but they are pretty small. We had to get some emergency surgery for our cat. We didn’t have an emergency fund, so we had to use credit cards to pay for that.
Greg: Alexis has come up with some pretty creative and clever ways to try to fix the situation.
Alexis: I actually have a blog about all of the things that I want to buy online and by blogging about it I don’t feel like I need it in my home.
Greg: All they really need is a little guidance and they’ll be very successful.
Greg: How are you? Well, Alexis, first off, get in the habit of saving for emergencies so set up that direct-deposit from your paychecks. Now, in terms of your retirement savings, start off by making at least enough contribution to your 401(k) so that you can maximize any employer match. You want to make sure that you’re grabbing any free money there is. Now I’ve prepared a debt pay-down schedule for you using the calculators at Bankrate.com. This is your month-by-month guide on how to really tackle that credit card debt.
Start with the highest interest-rate card, make the minimum payment on all the others and put the most money towards the highest interest rate debt. When that gets paid off then that money rolls over to the next highest-rate debt card.
Greg: If you follow that schedule you’re going to have decades in front of you and then you’ll really be in a position to put about $900 per month into your emergency savings account once that credit card debt is paid off.
Alexis: Just looking at that end date for my credit card debt is amazing. It makes me feel so empowered and just to have someone guide me through it was super-great. If I follow these steps I’ve got this in the bag. Saying all these things out loud was my first step and that’s helped us so much and if that helps someone else, then great.