Three and a half years ago, my divorce from exh was final. I got left with a LOT of debt (about 10K on my car and another 8K or so on credit cards, or somewhere around there). Through these 3.5 years, I've had 5 job changes, 3 moves (two of them out of state), a new hubby, and LASIK (financed at 0% and paid off before the interest hit). After DH and I got married, we started putting a tiny bit into savings each month. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough so that we were able to pay cash for a computer when our old one died, and cash for some big car repairs when his car died, AND we were finally able to get a washer and dryer (and pay cash for it too). All this while still paying regularly on the debt and not accruing any more debt.
We did do snowball, but it took FOREVER for even the first card to be paid off. I didn't really have one that was significantly smaller than the others. What I did was pay about 5-10 extra on each card each month, as well as do the snowball whenever one of the cards was paid off. I had a total of about 5 or 6 debts, including the car. But THIS YEAR, since it was the last year and the snowballs got bigger, it seemed like I went through a time where each MONTH one more card got paid off.
Some of the little unexpected things that helped... getting the washer/dryer. We were spending about $35/month on quarters for the laundromat. I put that $$ towards the debt each month, and didn't really notice a significant increase in our utilities. I also got a Diva Cup at one point, and it didn't save a huge amount but every little bit helps. I went off the pill and we used FAM, so that was another $30 or so a month saved.
Another thing that helped... balance transfer offers! Some have fees and others don't, but I got enough offers in the mail that I could pick and choose them and not necessarily use ALL the ones that came to me. But I did have a card that had 0% balance transfer for 12 months, so I definitely took advantage of that!
Paying all this off was, however, with both of us working. This is my last month working outside the home... baby #1 is due next month.
We have been married for 2.5 years and wanted children much earlier than this, but waited until we would be in a position for me to stay home.
At the very beginning of paying this off, I felt like it would NEVER happen. Each month early on, the balances would go down by only about 60%-70% of what I was paying. It was discouraging seeing how much I was paying in interest, but I tried to look towards the bigger goal. It also helped me to keep track of what my balances were each month and instead of looking month to month, is to see what my balances were 5 months prior and compare THOSE to what I was paying now, so I could get a confidence boost by seeing a bigger picture.
Anyway I'm rambling. :P I haven't read the whole thread but just wanted to pop in w/ a success story.