How One Woman's 'Spending Fast' Helped Her Pay Off $23,000 in Debt

Savvy Denver-based blogger shares her debt-busting strategies.

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I would rent DVDs from the library, and we would go run around the park together, and play Frisbee. We would make food with stuff that we already had in the cupboards, just to use what we already had. Even though I could buy groceries, I'd try to do it as infrequently as possible, and I tried to always buy the cheapest version of whatever I needed.

You mentioned on your blog that you made some mistakes along the way. What were some of those?

I worked for the state and we moved to a new building with a humongous window, and there were no blinds, so I convinced myself that I needed some really good sunglasses. I bought a $200 pair of sunglasses, and then I wore them for a couple of days, and then I got the most horrible buyer's remorse you could ever imagine, [so] I went and returned them. I wasn't perfect and I always try to tell people, "If you're going to mess up, it's not about not messing up, it's about continuing on for the whole time."

What are your current goals?

We're trying to buy a house, and I'm trying to stay out of debt. I'm trying to just not get myself back into my old habits, and that's partly why I'm continuing the blog. And I really want to help other people use the spending fast method, because it was so effective for me.

It's really expensive here in Denver to buy a house, and there aren't many options because things are going so quickly. It's trying to find a balance of, "Do we both want all of our income to go to this house? Or do we want to buy a smaller place and then have a little bit more freedom?"

Any other tips you'd give to readers who are struggling with debt?

Know that there's hope that you don't have to have that debt forever. I thought I would always have the debt, and I didn't see any way out. The one thing with the spending fast I would recommend, if they decided to do it, is to set the time frame and really commit to it because it's a real strain, but it's very, very effective. I found that a lot of people have friends that are in the same situation as they are, and they just don't know it because they don't talk about their debt.

The biggest thing is putting a pause between you and the purchase. Is this item going to add to my life, or is this just going to be another thing that I have to take care of and look at? It really helped me reach the life I want to live.