Debt Blogging – The Biggest Benefit of a Public Debt Blog

I began this debt blog, which I called Debt Reduction Formula, in September of 2007.

That happened to be the same month I sold my home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and moved into a rental home in Parker, Colorado.

At the time, I owed $75,286.38 in debt. I was really feeling the pressure of the debt I owed and felt I needed to do something proactive to get it under control.

So I started this blog.

I proceeded to pay down my debt consistently, reporting on my progress each month.

From September 2007 until May 2009, I reduced my debt by $45,192 — a 60% reduction in 18 months. In May 2009, I predicted that I might be out of debt by early 2010.

My prediction has not come true.

I’m still in debt, and the amount I owe today in September of 2011 is actually more than what I owed in May 2009. As of today, I owe $39,289.89 — about $9K more than I owed two years ago. (This figure includes my car debts. I still have no mortgage.)

This is a little bit embarrassing to admit because I really thought I would’ve done better. But I haven’t.

You see, in 2010, I shifted my focus from paying off debt to growing my business, raising my three kids, moving my family to another rental, and various other things. I stopped publishing my monthly debt update. In fact, I stopped tracking my debt altogether.

As a result, my debt has bounced up and down and ultimately increased.

Which brings me to the primary point of this article: Tracking and reporting how much you owe on a public debt blog keeps you focused on becoming debt free… and… actually helps to reduce debt. My results from September 2007 through May 2009 are proof of that.

But without the accountability that a debt blog provides, it’s quite easy to slip back into old habits. And even if you don’t slip back into old habits, it’s still easy to grow complacent and simply lose track of your debt.

When it comes to debt, a little bit here and a little bit there can add up to a whole lot.

Today, I finally updated my outstanding debt and was shocked to discover that I had not updated my spreadsheet in 13 months. And so I’ve realized that I need to continue updating this debt blog to continue my journey to become debt free.

And that’s what I plan to do.

By the way, here’s the latest spreadsheet with balances I’m carrying. My debt in August 2010 was $25,460.82. I bought a second vehicle in October 2010, which is why there is a substantial increase from then until now.

Outstanding Debt as of September 14, 2011
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7 thoughts on “Debt Blogging – The Biggest Benefit of a Public Debt Blog”

  1. Hi –
    Have you ever considered paying off your smallest debts first instead of your highest interest rates? Feeling the debts get paid and drop off of your spreadsheet would give you the motivation to see the wheels in motion and keep with it!

    1. Hi Paulette,

      Yes, that’s something I’ve done in the past… paid off high-interest small balances first.

      I’ve actually gotten to the point where I only had two larger outstanding debts… but then bounced back again.

      Some of the “bounce back” is due to paying taxes. Every year I end up owing the IRS a big chunk of money on January 15. (I pay taxes annually instead of quarterly.)

      I’m also in business for myself and 2010 was not the best year for me. I made some business investments that have begun to pay off this year — but did not pay off in 2010.

      This year has been quite good, and I’m feeling it’s important to re-focus on becoming debt free.

  2. Hi Ryan, tracking your debt and progress is an essential step towards clearing it. Not only will blogging help you but it will probably help others in a similar situation to take steps towards a better future. I hope you stay motivated and reach your goal.

  3. Hi! I read your blog and maybe, you should consider seeking advice from the people who knows really about Debt Reduction. Have a nice day!

    1. I sense a bit of condescension in your comment, debt free lady. Knowing about debt reduction… and doing the things necessary to reduce your debt… are two different things.

      And if you’re implying I should hire a debt reduction company that will settle my debts for me — then I disagree. My brother has been through that process. It’s not nearly as beneficial as it’s marketed to be.

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