Home > Managing Debt > Debt Diet Challenge Week 17: Paying Down, Seeing Results

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This is our weekly installment of The Debt Diet Challenge, in which we follow the progress of participants selected to take Jean Chatzky’s Debt Diet as they work to get themselves out of debt and on track to a better financial future. Every week, the participants blog about their experiences with the program. Here are their latest dispatches…


So I have fallen off the blogging horse….but am back to give it a whirl again. I am still sticking with the Debt Diet and since July I am happy to report that as of November 1st we have paid off $13,829 in debt. That’s more than the $10 per day we were expecting but we have A LOT of debt so we needed to go hard core. I still wish every day a pot of money would fall from the sky and take care of this burden. Instead what I have learned is this is going to take a long, long time and the only way to get there is hard work and complete behavior change. My husband and I struggle with both of these but the longer you do it the more natural it becomes. I have had to change many things in my lifestyle, thought process and behaviors and still have many more to go. Having these changes take place slowly over time helps them to last.

[Related articles: The Debt Diet Challenge posts]

Over the past month we had a few challenges. I had a flat tire and found I needed to replace all four to the tune of $750. I have been obsessed with keeping a $1,000 emergency savings during this process and was able to use this instead of putting this amount on a credit card. That was huge! Two weeks later I built the $1,000 fund back up to have my husband’s car need a new headlight which turned into new tires as well at another $700. I just put the money back into the emergency fund and out it went again. In the end though it was a great feeling to not put $1,450 on a credit card, which is what I would have done in the past. I had to pay a little less toward my credit cards to accomplish this but they still went down so that was a huge success.

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I struggle with the emotional ups and downs of being on the Debt Diet and managing kids, husband, work, family and finding time to write everything down and do my blogs. The most difficult part of this whole process for me has been the tracking, but without this we don’t hold ourselves accountable. Jean has been incredibly helpful with more than just my money issues. She has given me wonderful advice for managing my time, my stress and the ever difficult balance of managing everything else in my life. I am truly grateful for the help and sleep so much better now knowing our debt is moving in the right direction.

Read Penny’s story »

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