Hi, my name is Kara and I’m in debt.

by Kara Fleck

Kara lives in a small town in Indiana. She is the editor of Simple Kids. You can also find her writing about creative living at K.Elizabeth Fleck.

“We’re debt free!” The words I long to be able to shout out loud. Hi, my name is Kara and I’m in debt.

Some of you know me as the editor of Simple Kids, but today I’m going to introduce myself to you as a person living in financial bondage. Or, to be less dramatic, I am a person trying to become debt free.

Our journey …

My family and I are in a significant amount of debt. Six figures significant, actually. That’s painful to write.

I won’t go into details, but we did some pretty dumb things with money in our 20’s, both as singles and as a young married couple.  We’re spending our 30’s trying to dig out of that debt.

That is how I came to know Tsh: I was inspired by her family’s debt free story.  Her straightforward money advice was helpful and relevant. That was pretty major at a time where my debt free resources were some library books on frugality that seemed out of touch with the current times and we didn’t know anyone in real life who was debt free.

Thanks to Tsh I discovered Dave Ramsey. I shared what I was reading and learning with my husband Christopher and we agreed there was some wisdom there, but we didn’t really do too much about it. Things sort of ho-hummed along for a while, with us throwing a little bit of cash at our debt here and there but certainly not taking things too seriously.

And then in 2009 we hit rock bottom.

You can read the full story on my Rockin’ Granola blog, but here’s the grim picture in a nutshell:

  • a sweltering summer day
  • it was 90 degrees INSIDE my house
  • two very little kids with the chicken pox
  • our air conditioning went out

We were hot, sticky, miserable, and sad.  Thanks to living (less than) pay check to pay check for far too long, we had nothing extra in the bank account. No money to fix the air conditioning, no money for extra fans, no money for a hotel room for a temporary respite from the heat, nothing.

Our family was miserable, our children were suffering, and it was a direct result of our terrible money decisions.

Something had to change, and it had to change radically.  That was the turning point for us, our rock bottom.  Since then, we’ve paid off over $90,000 in debt. But we’ve still got a long way to go.


2013 So Far …

That was 2009. What do things look like for my family in 2013?

Things are different: we have an emergency fund (so we sleep better at night), we’ve paid off several smaller debts, we now use a cash budget, and we’ve got our irregular income tamed.  Christopher works all of the overtime he can, I do my share by writing to earn extra income, and we both work to keep our spending down.

Things are the same: we still make financial mistakes, we still struggle, we still get discouraged. The debt we have remaining is our larger debt in the form of school loans and the mortgage. There aren’t as many celebrations the way there were when we first started to pay off our smaller debts.  Sometimes I feel like we’re going to be on Baby Step 2 forever.


So far 2013 has brought us a few successes:

  • We recently hopped back onto the cloth diapering bandwagon.
  • We have been able to do some home repairs ourselves.
  • Bringing the holidays down a few notches has been good for us on many levels.
  • We recently gave our oldest daughter a budget and let her do her own shoe shopping. I was pleased to see her scouting out the ads and comparing costs. I’m proud of her and what she’s learning from our debt free journey.


It isn’t all carnations and cloth diapers around here.

Recently, we have discovered that two of our family members have health issues which require a special diet. The entire family has adopted this way of eating (gluten free, for those who are curious). Our grocery budget had to be revamped and, with our zero based budget, we’ve had to wiggle other categories.

Speaking of wiggling the budget, our son is growing like a weed!  The clothes he just received for Christmas barely fit him.  With my daughters, this isn’t a problem as we have hand-me-downs, but my son is our only boy and I don’t think he’d be pleased wearing something from the bins of pink and purple in our kid clothes stockpile.  So, back to tinkering with the clothing budget I go, staying one step ahead of his growth spurts, which are coming more frequently than I had anticipated.  Thank goodness yard sale season is around the corner.

We recently were surprised with a major library fine, thanks in part to my disorganization. Luckily we’ve found some of the missing materials and our librarian took pity on us and is letting us pay in installments, but the library isn’t such a great “free” resource when I let things like that happen.

During our early Dave Ramsey days, our too-expensive-for-us-anyway vehicle went bye-bye and we’ve been driving a used vehicle, which isn’t pretty but gets us where we need to be. We started a sinking fund for a replacement vehicle. Now our current steed hasn’t been so trusty lately, so it is time to take that sinking fund and go car shopping, a potential financial temptation mine field.


Living with debt can be a scary, shameful thing.  I don’t have to tell you that. I bet some of you are right there in the trenches with me. My hope is that this column will give us a chance to encourage each other, one real person to another.

I’m thankful to Tsh for letting me share our journey as a real family struggling to become debt free. I hope I can inspire and encourage those of you currently struggling with debt the way that Tsh and her family have encouraged me.

I’ll be back in a few months to update you on our progress and our challenges.

What about you? What has your financial journey looked like? What successes have you had so far in 2013? What challenges?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.


  1. avatar
    Mr.Giovanni says:

    Are you desperately in need of a loan help? Have you be denied of a loan
    from your bank or any financial firm? Do you need financial assistance? Do
    you need a loan to pay off your bills or buy a home? Do you want to have a
    business of your own and you need financial loan help? Contact us today
    for your financial loan help. We are willing to help you out on either
    business or personal loans offer are available and at affordable interest
    rate of 1.2%.interested persons should contact us via e- mail:..HallMarkFastLoan@qq.com

    We offer the following kinds of loans and many more;
    * personal loans ( unsecured loan)
    * business loans ( unsecured loan)
    * consolidation loan
    * combination loan
    * home improvement, and many more…

    contact us on our email: HallMarkFastLoan@qq.com
    Best regards,
    Mr. Giovanni Peters




  3. My Name Is Mrs Lettier Robenson, From USA, An X-Scam Victim and how i get back on my feet and be a personal business owner with cars and landed properties…. This is to announce to the general public about a legitimate lender online.


    I was in a critical search of a genuine loan lending company were i can obtain a loan of $85,000.00USD some lender’s that Came to me sheep clothing i never know they where fraud until i was given the terms of their loan and i agreed eventually i was scammed they scammed me of my hard earn money up to four lender’s that scammed me the sum of $32,000.00USD and i though that all is over that there can never be any other genuine lender until my Husband’s Friend Mr. Garrett Lugard the general manager of Cotsat and cotsat company told me that there is a genuine lender that he obtained a loan of 1.5 Million Dollars At 3% interest rate From that makes him own a private business and a house of his own he Referred me to a company Mr.David Shallow loan Company,Email david_shallowloanoffer007@yahoo.com Where he obtained the loan of($1.1 million Dollars) i told them how referred me to them i applied for a loan of $150,000.00USD after my application and i sent to them the useful information for them to process my loan after 4hours i received a notification From their company that my loan has been approved and processed in the next 4hours my loan of $85,000.00 Dollars was transferred into my account. And i promise them for coming to my rescue i am going to spreed the good news to the entire world ABOUT MR DAVID SHALLOW LOAN COMPANY IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD. And tell them, i Mrs Lettier Robenson,referred you to them and your wish will be fulfilled…

    Mrs Lettier Robenson

  4. See that he homepage yrnktdvwe [url=http://uk-electricity.co.uk]payday loans[/url] homepage http://jeffordcentre.co.uk a picnic party in the hills.

  5. avatar
    mr jeffery says:

    We offer lowest interest rate 3% and its fixed with best match loan including loans for applicants with impaired or bad credit, once you complete the application form below we will proceed with the approval of a suitable loan for you. Just think of what you could do with a significant boost to your bank account or cash reserves. Pay off existing debts -reduce your monthly outgoing by consolidating any existing personal loans and credit card debts.EMAIL US VIA: donovanloanfirm1.plc@gmail.com
    we give out home loans Auto Loans, Car loans, Mortgage loans, Business Loans, International Loans, Personal Loans.

  6. Appreciation for almost every other great report. The place in addition could everyone have that form of details in this a great means of crafting? I’ve a powerpoint presentation pursuing weeks time, and i’m with the hunt for such information.

  7. hello; i am Mr robert ; a private loan lender who; gives life time opportunity loans.; Do you need an urgent loan to; clear your debts or you need a; capital loan to improve your; business?; have you been rejected by; banks and other financial; agencies? Do you; need a consolidation loan or a; mortgage?; search no more as we are here; to make all your financial; problems a thing of the past.; We loan funds out to individuals; in need of financial assistance; that have a bad credit or in need; of money; to pay bills; to invest on; business at a; rate of 2%. I want to use this; medium to inform you; that we render reliable and; MR ROBERT (zobitoloanfirm@gmail.com)

  8. Just wondering…I’m in a significant amount of debt, myself. So much so that I can’t see my way out for at least 5 more years. How can I date with this baggage? It seems that all people talk about is money these days. Is there any chance for an in-debt girl to find love and happiness this side of the monetary chasm?

    • avatar
      Mrs Lupe says:

      We are lending company based in United State.We offer from $50,000 and above to the limit of $500 million.We are Cash Station Ltd in San Antonio Texas, and we can loan you within few hours. As the CEO/President of this Company, my personal contact for processing.

      Email: cashstationlupe2014@outlook.com
      Contact Phone: (+1)940-604-2762
      Mrs. Lupe
      Cash Station Ltd.

  9. For those interested in Dave Ramsey and on a budget, check your local library. If they don’t have it they can usually get it. Free!!!

    • avatar
      Mrs Lupe says:

      We are lending company based in United State.We offer from $50,000 and above to the limit of $500 million.We are Cash Station Ltd in San Antonio Texas, and we can loan you within few hours. As the CEO/President of this Company, my personal contact for processing.

      Email: cashstationlupe2014@outlook.com
      Contact Phone: (+1)940-604-2762
      Mrs. Lupe
      Cash Station Ltd.

  10. avatar
    Mrs Lupe says:

    We are lending company based in United State.We offer from $50,000 and above to the limit of $500 million.We are Cash Station Ltd in San Antonio Texas, and we can loan you within few hours. As the CEO/President of this Company, my personal contact for processing.

    Email: cashstationlupe2014@outlook.com
    Contact Phone: (+1)940-604-2762
    Mrs. Lupe
    Cash Station Ltd.

  11. This is worth reading. Love this!

Speak Your Mind