Turning debt reduction into a crazy game

I think that once you have been carrying around debt for quite some time, 10 years in my case, you get to a moment of crazy. Now hear me out on this and see if you don’t agree with me.

I got a credit card when I was 17 – I lived in a small town and banked at a small town one-branch bank that for some reason gave a 17 year old a credit card. Anyways, I started out responsible. I only charged what I could pay off. It was a good system until I went to college and had more expenses on my own and more free time to have fun, which means charge up fun things that I could not afford. That is when the domino effect started which has led me to where I am today, still carrying around a buttload of debt. I’ve been puttering along and paying the minimum payments, plus a little more when I could. Not that it mattered though because I was still using them!! Well, after getting this new job with a nice increase in salary I started to realize that if we were really good about the money we spent that we could pay off a big chunk of that debt in no time. How short of time is no time? Well, we could pay off all of our credit cards in four months when I ran the numbers yesterday. My first calculation was for seven months but that was allowing room for funny money and such. My girlfriend decided that she wanted to get aggressive and see if we could pay it off sooner. After getting aggressive we can pay off around $16,000 in about four months.

This is where the crazy comes in.

We were talking about how this debt has been with us for what seems like forever. And we were also discussing how everyone we know (including parents) are lugging around all of this debt and how we do not want to be “those people” any longer. Then we both said it at the same time, just in different words.

Her – “Wonder how fast we can really pay it off?”
Me – “I bet we can do it in less than 4 months if we try real hard.”

That was the moment that debt reduction became a crazy game. The game is how quickly can we do it? The objective is – each month we make a budget deciding how much we spend in allotted categories and then we strive to see how much under budget we can come in at! The extra money that is left over in each category goes toward debt and debt only, assuming there are no hospital visits, etc. Basically, we are trying out to do ourselves each month by living on less than the month before all in the pursuit to maximize how much can go towards credit card debt. And it doesn’t end there. I upped the ante by proclaiming that I can work 10 hours days at work for overtime pay! Then we cheered.