14 Signs That Most Americans Are Flat Broke And Totally Unprepared For The Coming Economic Crisis

By Michael Snyder – Economic Collapse Blog

14-Signs-Americans-Are-Flat-Broke-300x300When the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks.  At this point, more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings.  One of the primary principles that any of these “financial experts” that you see on television will teach you is to have a cushion to fall back on.  At the very least, you never know when unexpected expenses like major car repairs or medical bills will come along.  And in the event of a major economic collapse, if you do not have any financial cushion at all you will be a sitting duck.

Yes, I know that there are millions upon millions of families out there that are just trying to scrape by from month to month at this point.  I hear from people that are deeply struggling in this economy all the time.

So I don’t blame them for not being able to save lots of money.  But if you are in a position to build up an emergency fund, you need to do so.  We have been experiencing an extended period of relative economic stability, but it will not last.

In fact, the time for getting prepared for the next great economic downturn is rapidly running out, and most Americans are not ready for it at all.  The following are 14 signs that most Americans are flat broke and totally unprepared for the coming economic crisis…

#1 According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.

#2 That same survey discovered that an additional 13 percent of all Americans do not have any credit card debt, but they do not have a single penny of emergency savings either.

#3 At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

#4 Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.

#5 More than half of all students in U.S. public schools come from families that are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.

#6 A study that was conducted last year found that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

#7 One survey discovered that 52 percent of all Americans really cannot even financially afford the homes that they are living in right now.

#8 According to research conducted by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now without borrowing it.

#9 That same study found that 60 percent of Americans could not say yes to the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

#10 A different study discovered that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#11 Today, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.

#12 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

#13 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#14 53 percent of all Americans do not even have a minimum three day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

Perhaps none of this concerns you.

Perhaps you think that this bubble economy can persist indefinitely.

Well, if you won’t listen to the more than 1200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse on my website, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.  The following is what he recently told one interviewer

We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”

In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.

He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.

And as I have stressed so frequently, the signs that the next crisis is almost here are all around us.

For example, the Baltic Dry Index has just plunged to a fresh record low, and things have already gotten so bad that some global shippers are now filing for bankruptcy

The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”

Perhaps you do see things coming.

Perhaps you do want to get prepared.

If you are new to all of this, and you don’t quite know how to get started preparing, please see my previous article entitled “89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression“.  It will give you some basic tips that you can start implementing right away.

And of course one of the most important things is something that I talked about at the top of this article.

If at all possible, you have got to have an emergency fund.  When the coming economic storm strikes, your family is going to need something to fall back on.

If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.


  1. I my world being broke is no money and no debt (#2). More dept than money is just a financial negative and will, IMO, bite us one way or the other. Either when our incomes drop off to practically zero or when someone dies and we are left to clean up the mess.

    I’ve been in #2 5 or 6 times. It felt good for a moment, then it became an issue (I think the longest we went was 3 months). You need to build up your reserves as you get out of debt, otherwise you’ll end up like I did, with no built in savings plan and just get back into debt with the 1st “emergency”.

    That being said, #2 is the best option/situation of the ones shown. I’m working my way back there now.

    • JP
      You are right about credit card debt. If you have CC debt and are paying it off over time, it is the same thing as paying 2 or 3 times as much for each purchase, so that great deal you got on sale, saved you nothing, and in actuality costs you more than saving money up and paying cash. This is the same principle but in reverse, of saving money over time for retirement with the benefit of compounding interest.
      Pro_22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

  2. I’m sorry but you remind me of that old preacher on top of a pulpit screaming at the congregation, You are all damned and going to hell if you don’t change your ways. You can’t change the way because it is the way the world works and the certain percentage is not going to change it. I don’t have any credit cards and my credit, according to many, is worse then those that have five of more credit cards and way in over their heads. So go figure. But you know what? I live within my means. I God I trust, all others pay cash. I would personally like to see some positive ideas and reinforcement in these blogs instead of the you are all damned and going to hell if you don’t do as I say.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Jeff just because it’s pointed out how few Americans don’t have any savings and a pile of debt doesn’t mean MD is posting negative things and offering no positive message or ideas.

      Do you spend any time actually reading this blog?

      It is full of good sound positive advice on how to live a better life. If you can’t see it, you need to look with better eyes. Being debt free is talked about here all the time. And pointing out how most Americans are in debt and have no savings is important to state as it gives us an idea what type of people are out there and then gets us thinking about how to interact (and survive) with them when it hits the fan.

    • Jeff:

      Your “credit” score is actually a “I love debt” score. I got that from Dave Ramsey. If you look at what is involved in it, you find out it is all about how much you borrow, how you pay it back, and what your income is. It has nothing to do with how you manage your money/wealth.

      If you are handling your money right, it doesn’t even come into play.

      • JP,
        I understand the “I love debt” rationale, however, in order to get the best deals / interest rates buying a car or home the higher the score the better.
        I have zero CC debt because I pay off those bills each month, in fact I have finally been debt free for almost 2 years now and my score is 785 without debt, so it does not always equate to loving debt. Just saying.

        • Skydiver
          The key here is you are PARTICIPATING in the system, that is, you except credit, CC, house, car, etc., but then you pay it off or you make every payment ON time EVERY time. What kills a credit score is dropping out of the system, (no history to track, therefore no score) or participating but with a haphazard pay back record. If you have no commitment to a contract you sign or are just plain irresponsible, you should NOT ask for credit. Sure there are people who don’t have any money to pay the payment when it’s due, but there are also people who make no effort to pay on time even though they have the money. The kind of person who loses that bill or misplaced the mail. They are always late but somehow assume that “the lender will understand”. (They don’t!) Their whole existence is a mess and there is nothing consistent in any area of their life. Then there are people who divert bill money for a special treat for themselves, because they “deserve it”. The last bunch never pay anybody. The system allows for all of them to continue to receive credit but at a much higher interest rate and or down payment. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I speak from experience. I dealt with all of these personalities in a previous job.

    • Jeff,

      “I would personally like to see some positive ideas and reinforcement in these blogs instead of the you are all damned and going to hell if you don’t do as I say.”

      There are over 3,000 articles and blog post on this site, instead of bitching and moaning try reading some of them.

    • Jeff

      If you had spent any time at all reading this site you would see how wrong you really are !

    • I still want to know who gave him the 5 thumbs up . ?

  3. This article does a fine job of pointing out the financial problems of many Americans, but it would be better to offer some steps for people to take to reduce their debts & save an emergency fund, such as: Ways to reduce one’s expenses, so they can get out of debt.

    • RedC:

      The first problem, and I know this from personal and family experience, is changing the way you think. You will never get out of debt doing the same things that got you into it. You can never out earn your spending. I was much farther in debt when I added another $80,000 a year to our household debt than I am now.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      That’s simple, so simple that it should be ingrained thinking.

      Here is the answer to your question.

      First thing is you buy some gasoline and pour it on EVERY credit card you have and light it on fire.

      Second you NEVER buy anything on credit again.

      Third you spend less money then you take in.

      We can debate how to do each one of these things, but they are what you need to do.

      I would imagine I have an extremely low credit rating (don’t know or care) as a result of the wife walking out 20+ years ago and destroying it. I have bought everything with cans for the last 20+ years so don’t tell me it can’t be done. I will never use credit again, I spend less then I take in, I shop thrift stores and garage sales, I have so many preps, food and supplies I don’t know where to put all of it. And I have a very good life that is full of things to do, more things then I will ever be able to do. And all with no debt.

      • Chuck
        Why pour gas on a card and burn it? A credit card is a foem of payment just like cash,debit,check,pocket change or anything else you want to come up with. I use credit cards every day of my life. I also pay off the balance each month so Not only do I not pay interest I collect points and cash back to the tune of 6-700 a year. I just used the points on my American express to buy a new red dot sight for my AR. The problem is not the cards it is the fact that people use them and spend over their income. To use your example I would guess that fat people should pour gas on all their food and burn it so they don’t get any fatter. It is a matter of controlling your spending and changing your habits. If you can’t learn to do that then you are doomed whether you have credit cards or not.

        • “It is a matter of controlling your spending and changing your habits.”
          Well said. If you are capable of self control, you can use the system for your benefit. If you cannot…
          Don’t use it!

          • also well said

            • Chuck Findlay says:

              why burn it? because for most people it’s a way to instantly be gratified with nothing more then writing your name down.

              Are there people that can control the use of a credit card? Yes there are, but they are the exception, not the rule.

              That is why I said to burn it.

              If you just have to have it now (whatever it is) you probably should not have a credit card.

              Living without credit is scary to many or even most Americans, but I see living with credit as scary as it turns you into a debt slave and takes away freedom.

              • “Are there people that can control the use of a credit card? Yes there are, but they are the exception, not the rule.”
                Actually, that’s not correct Chuck.

                Reporting firms show around 50 – 55% of credit card holders are what are known as “transactors”, folks who pay off their balances before any interest is accrued and this percentage of users has been steadily increasing since 2008. Another 10-15% of credit card holders have “dormant” accounts – they only use the card enough to keep it active “just in case” and never carry a balance.
                In contrast, the number of “revolvers” (folks who carry a balance from month to month) has steadily fallen from 44% in 2009 to 34% in 2014.

                So reality is that MOST people can and do control their credit card use.

        • I’m not pouring gas on my food.

        • Poorman

          Agree for sure. I use my Cabelas Visa and earn points to purchase ammo, guns, bowhunting stuff etc. But pay off every month so get the bennies. DW does the same with her Visa and gets cash back. Control is the key. most Americans can’t control and end up paying interest charges and cycle further into debt.

        • I remember last year some finaancual scum types were calling people who pay off there c cards every month a unkind term. I forget what the exact term was but, it made it sound like the responseble people were the problem.

      • Hey Chuck, I wish I could pay for everything with cans! I have lots of cans. But I suppose “cans” is what your auto correct made out of cash.

    • Red C
      JP mentioned Dave Ramsey. I listened to him on the radio out of Nashville 15 years ago. He is syndicated more than ever now, and has a plan to do exactly what you ask. I never bought a book, I just did what he recommended. It absolutely works. It does involve rethinking your life style and attitude about spending and money. He will sell you books and seminars but he will plainly tell you how to go about it on his radio program. You can listen to his radio programs by podcast or live on his website and you can find a radio station that carries his program live in your area. His website is: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/
      Anyone who is serious about getting out of debt can do it. ‘Get er done!’

    • RedC,

      “This article does a fine job of pointing out the financial problems of many Americans, but it would be better to offer some steps for people to take to reduce their debts & save an emergency fund, such as: Ways to reduce one’s expenses, so they can get out of debt.”

      Have you ever actually read this blog? I know that you have, because you’ve been on here for a while now, so I don’t know where your comment is coming from because you know that we have a truck load of articles about saving money, eating cheap, couponing, alternative housing, and getting out of debt.

    • The article’s author does point to many ways to solve one’s personal debt problems- you just have to read the article with a modicum of paying attention to see the nuggets he’s dropping.

  4. Chuck Findlay says:

    Here is something I started 10-years ago and it has don me well.

    I go out and do the work (most times it’s hard work) so I decided if I’m the one working my rear end off I should be the one that is first in line to get paid. I started taking 10% off the top and putting it away for my savings. It was slow, but over time I got quite a pile of cash built up.

    The strange thing is hat the bills still got paid, I still went out to eat, not as much, and this is good. But I still had the same lifestyle as before, only I had a growing pile of cash.

    Read “The Richest Man in Babylon” it will change your life.

  5. Chuck Findlay says:

    it has done me well.
    not it has don me well.

    I’m sitting on the floor and the computer is at an odd angle so I’m not hitting all the keys right.

    • Chucky….. I know you are an East Sider so …. stop using your toes! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 ….. ..

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        NO I’m NOT an east Sider, I live in Oregon, there is a difference…

        I tease a few friends about living on the East Side to rattle their cage.

        I was hemming a set of pants and sitting on the floor doing it, the computer was sitting on the bed while I was listening to some podcast. It was at the end of my reach

  6. Here’s a few suggestions to help you get out of debt. If you have more than one credit card, take the lowest amount owed, and add an extra $10-$20.00 to your payments & keep paying the minimum on the others. After than one is paid off, move on to the next lowest credit card debt. While some people may say “the largest balances” should be paid first, that’s possible, but that can end up making you feeling frustrated & hopeless. Make realistic financial goals for yourself, so you don’t give up. Meanwhile, ask yourselves “is this something I want or need.” If it’s something you want, save up until you can pay cash for it. DO NOT CHARGE ANYTHING! We didn’t realize how just getting rid of one credit card at a time, put cash into our pockets. When it comes to “storing” food, put an extra sale item in your cart, and set it aside. I love to read, but didn’t have money to spend on books, so I went to the library. I felt “rich” when I had enough money to buy books at the Goodwill for a $1-3.00. Next, I took those books to a used book store and got credit to buy more books for a couple of dollars. I bought my business suits at 2nd hand or consignment shops & looked professional without having to spend a fortune. Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but it can be done. Looking for a new home as a couple? Make sure you buy a home where the mortgage payment can be met should one of you lose your job. If you don’t drive your car long distances to work, sometimes your insurance company will lower your rates. I hope some of these ideas help someone who wants to learn how to get out of debt. It took us 10yrs to get completely out of debt, and save enough to make a good down payment on our home. It took another 12 years to pay our mortgage off. How’d we do it? We always paid more towards the principle, while continuing to save money by applying the same philosophy we developed years ago. We will use a credit card to keep our credit rating up, but we never charge more than we can pay it in full.

    • You are correct. The main way to save money and pay down debt is to decide what is a want and what is a need. You don’t NEED to smoke,you don’t NEED a new car,you don’t NEED cable t/v. You Need a roof over your head,you NEED food. If you break everything down to the basic’s it becomes simple. Granted not everyone can cut spending because some are at subsistence level already but I would say 90 percent can find some way to cut spending

    • junipers,
      that feeling of paying off one credit card gives you the inspiration to go on.
      then you add that payment money to the next credit card.
      it gathers momentum as you continue.
      by the time you get to the biggest credit card you have all the payment money from the payments on the paid off cards.
      not there yet.
      hoping three years will do it.
      barring emergencies.

  7. Owl Creek Observer says:

    It’s been a lot of years since we’ve had credit card debt. We gradually paid off each card and closed all but three. Actually we were down to one but after a computer glitch when that card was rejected, we opened two new accounts as backups.

    We still use those cards, only because it’s more convenient and it provides an itemized record of our spending every month, but we pay all cards off as soon as the bills come in. If we can’t pay for it when the bill comes in, we don’t buy it.

    I’m not saying all this to brag, because I was a poster child for indebtedness for much of my life. It took patience and determination but we made it and we’re not going back. After all, isn’t prepping all about learning to live simply?

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Have a motorcycle accident (make sure you break both legs, your shoulder in 3 spots and both arms) so you can’t work for almost a year, and have a wife walk out on you at the same time and take you to court for child support (did I mention not working?), and then have a job loss at the same time.

      If you live through it, you will be cured of and debt forever…

      • Jeez Chuck

        Nice wife, walks out on you when you are down. Now that is low. Glad to see your much better now. That is a bottom I don’t ever want to look up from for sure.

        • chuck,
          hope you have been able to connect with your offspring.
          excellent advice.

          • Chuck Findlay says:

            I talk to my son all the time, I just helped him move into his first home last weekend. It is a fixer-uper so we are going to see each other a lot. He is also building me a new computer and loading it up with a lot of pirated software. But for all his life (he’s 25) we have seen each other every week or so.

            I also talk to the x every few weeks and help her when needed. I see her about every 3-weeks or so.

  8. Secret Agent Man says:

    We were blessed to be able to pay off all of our debt about 15 years ago. Yes, we still use credit cards once and awhile, BUT WE PAY OFF THE BALLACE THE NEXT MONTH.

    Simple rule: Collect interest you win, pay interest you lose. Using a card and paying it off each month is like getting an interest free 30 day loan. Do this ONLY if you are certain that you can pay the balance off monthly.

    • Use the right card. Pay it off each month.Collect points and cash back and get PAID to use your credit card. Just got a new Red Dot scope with points

  9. Join a Credit Union! Get outta the “Banking” system.

  10. Join a Credit Union! Get outta the “Banking” system.

    Absolutely, CU”s over Bank of Unamerica any day!

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      My bank is my safe and almost all the money in it is made of metal.

      PS: a credit union is part of the banking system as it uses the same currency as banks do. And they are almost always involved with a union. And that alone is enough to make me not like them.

      • “And they are almost always involved with a union.”
        They are similar to a bank but the “union” you refer to is the members. CU’s are member owned. They have meetings with each member over the age of 16 allowed 1 vote. You can nominate and elect the Board of Directors, as well as conduct other business at the meetings. They are a self governing body made up of the members. They are non-profit in so far as they charge just enough interest on loans to pay the bills, with the remainder returned to members as more goods and services for less or no charge, higher interest on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans. (If you want one) They provide all the services of a bank without the arrogance. They are not perfect, but if you like the convenience of a checking account, auto bill pay, internet banking, etc., they are a great alternative to a bank.

    • thing is someday soon the system is gonna crash and non of it will matter.People will be throwing there gold into the streets the good book says.

  11. We did the Dave Ramsey thing a few years ago. Was the greatest thing we ever did financially. I am not perfect with the system, I don’t have 6 months of expenses, without pulling from a 401K, probably have 2-3 months. I do have enough food to last 6 months for my wife and I. Have other preps that will feed and protect if it goes that far. One credit card that she uses for work that we pay off monthly if we use it for other stuff. No debt except the house and a boat. I felt fairly good reading through the list. I feel I am in fair shape financially. Getting better every week.
    MD. Thanks for your hard work keeping this forum going. I enjoy the read, especially every Saturday’s “What have you done…” It is kind of like having online accountability partners
    Keep up the good work.

    Stay alert, Stay alive.

    Big Lou

  12. Chuck Findlay says:

    What is excessive debt? How does it happen? Most times it’s a slow build to distruction.

    Accidents do not happen by chance (by accident). They are constructed, slowly, over time. A little bit at a time things build till tension in the system gets to be too much, until at some point the system fails catastrophically and brings the whole thing down.

    People can’t get out of debt over night when it took a long time to get where they are. I went cold-turkey (job loss, wife loss and motorcycle accident described above) and I can tell you it was not the way to go. You get to the same place in the end, but it’s to say the least an unpleasant rough ride. While I don’t know much about the man the Dave Ramsey method many talk about sounds like a plan that works for most people with a commitment and a plan that allows slow withdrawal from the debt trap.

  13. mom of three says:

    We bank at a credit union, the only problem we have had is they won’t usually loan money, unless you have good credit, money in the bank, and your credit debt is little to none. But I do love our credit union. Credit can be a blessing and curse we are in the middle of getting rid of credit debt and it is a weight on our shoulder each month but the more you do add the faster tbe debt comes down.

  14. I constantly wonder at the reasoning behind articles such as this. Are they attempting to inform or are they simply trying to frighten. If the attempt is to inform, they do an extremely poor job as their statistics are always skewed to show in the worst possible light – if the reasoning is to frighten, then they need to point out some negative consequences to the statements other than just the recurring theme, “everything is terrible”.

    Talk of debt amounts per American and such is nonsensical without some framework. Saying (in a negative way) that the average American household is carrying $203,163 of debt tells you nothing other than the reporter isn’t quoting the report correctly. Total household debt was $11.83 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2014 and there are 115,000,000 + households, you do the math (yes, the report explains the incongruity if you’re interested but that doesn’t lead to such a great scare headline).
    – Of that $11.83 trillion, 70% is in property mortgages. Now I’ve always felt property value was an asset in addition to the mortgage being a debt and there’s the whole economy boost from increased home construction/sales to consider, but this article didn’t bother to figure in those factors because, well, I don’t know why.
    – Statistic show credit card owners know as “transactors” carry, on average, much higher balances than “revolvers” – but transactors will pay off that balance before any interest is accrued. Since the report is a snapshot of a specific moment though, those large transactor balances are shown along with the revolver balances as debts (which they are), but the picture ends up being skewed.
    – Are student loans simply a debt or eventually an asset? $1.13 trillion of that $11.83 trillion household debt are student loans. Now that report quoted also shows that education above high school equates to increased income, so debt or investment? Yes, both, but why not explain that instead of only presenting the negative?

    Although it might be fun to go through this article line by line and point out the other side of each statement, I’ll only mention one other point – #7.

    The statement says 52% of all Americans can’t financially afford the home they are currently living in – but what is meant by that? To me that means that over half of all Americans are going into debt every month just to keep a roof over their heads. That’s terrible!
    Well, the report that was taken from actually states that 52% “had to make at least one sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last 3 years.” Yeah, that’s A BIT different from “52% of all Americans can’t financially afford the home they are currently living in”.
    – Did your work hours get cut back and you had to get a second job to maintain your prior income in the last 3 years? Yep, you’re one of the 52%.
    – Did you find that things changed (less income or rent increase) so you decided to move to a less expensive home? Same there, you’re counted because you moved instead of going into debt to keep your old home.
    – Did you miss a few days work due to illness so you needed to put a bit less in your retirement account even once in the past 3 years? You’re one of those people who “can’t financially afford the home they are currently living in”.
    And I’m not making up these possible reasons for including you – these are just a few examples actually mentioned IN THE REPORT.

    Like so many other articles that attempt to show only how terrible things are, this one doesn’t give you a full picture. Do some research before you parrot any of these “facts” to your friends.

    • to be honest I don’t think it is designed to either inform or scare but to force people to THINK. While you can pick apart any statistics with what if’s there are valid points made. The main one being people need an emergency fund and you should not carry credit card debt.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      K. Fields I think articles like this are good. And yes they talk about bad things, there is a lot of good in learning how others manage to get out of or control debt. If this article saves one person from going down the excessive debt path it is a positive thing.

  15. Debt is a problem that sneaks up on you.

    I was heavily in debt for years, due to no medical insurance and a very sick child. We were on our own without any help, so I used the credit cards to pay her medical bills. I thought I would never get out of debt. Because of that debt, we had no savings, we lived paycheck to paycheck – it was disheartening to say the least.

    So I did what my parents did when I was small: They took one dollar from each paycheck and put it in a savings account (emergency fund); saved every coin they got in change or found on the ground in a jar (Christmas fund), and worked to get down to only credit card (back then, it was bank loans).

    I negotiated with the credit cards, put the higher-interest balances on the lowest-interest card, and began paying it off. It took years. But what helped us cope was each year, we would roll up the coins and spent them on Christmas. Whatever the total was from the jar, is what we bought in presents. It was amazing to watch my daughter find so many coins on the ground, the kid had radar and loved finding “treasure”.

    Now, I (like others have done here) put away a percentage in savings. I pay my credit card off each month if I buy something online.

    Debt is sometimes unavoidable, but I personally believe we are better off without it.

    • mom of three says:

      Rolling coin’s, is not only educational but exciting to see the money add up. I’m amazed at how much I can save in a short amount of time. Quarters add up faster then dimes, and nickels, and pennies so the gratification is slower but just as neat to see the rolls add up.

  16. Well, we still have some cc debt and a mortgage, but we are working on it. Have a little savings, have some food put away, trying to balance paying more on the cc debt while adding a little to the emergency fund and a little to our preps. Mostly, our preps are still to survive the most likely disaster — power outage/storms. Want to be ready for the job loss/medical expense next (ie, emergency fund and cc pay off). This type of article and the comments help me to see where I am in relation to the “average” American and how some of you have succeeded in paying of your debt. YOU pack members give me hope that one day our debt will be gone! It is slow going, and sometimes I need the encouragement. There is a place for articles such as this and especially the comments of “I did it and so can you.”

  17. Crazy Joe says:

    What’s up MD ! Enjoying the article and replies . As many have pointed out responsible behavior keeps one from being the negative statistic pointed out in the article . I have been on both sides of the fence in my life . My financial planning advice to many has benefited them when they stick to the plan . Again , it is responsible behavior . I teach credit cards , borrowing and such are a tool no different than a hammer or screw driver . Do not hit your thumb with the financial hammer . OUCH . The really BIG PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE is living with wants instead of needs . Materialism , consumerism , modern society syndrome . I own my flint and steel . Crazy Joe

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