I’ve been carrying debt for most of my adult life, but since the middle of the last decade it’s been a huge weight. It’s my own dumb fault, of course – my IT contract ended but I couldn’t let go of the lifestyle of a freewheeling consultant as it was at the end of the 90s, when they told us the IT world was paved with gold. Two long years of minimal employment gave me a reality check, and I kept afloat using credit cards and lines of credit. Combine that with long-term student loans and I have way too much debt for someone without a mortgage. I’ve since found stable employment with decent wages, but far too much of each cheque goes to various banks and institutions. I managed to get a consolidation loan last year for outstanding credit debt, but I’ve found it impossible to avoid new charges which carry an additional burden. I’ve staunched the bleeding, more or less, but it’s still slowly building. I remember well how bad it was just before I got this job, with the constant phone calls, juggling payments, etc. I’ve since repaired my credit rating to the point where I’m apparently one of the nation’s trusted, but I figure that’s because I’m an ideal debtor: I carry a huge balance but always make my monthly payments. I dread being laid off and returning to that life of call dodging and imminent bankruptcy, since I have no savings to speak of. I’m also 40 now, so retirement isn’t as distant as it used to be. Anyone out there in the same boat or been there before, and/or have any advice? I’ve read books like the Wealthy Barber, but I found that mostly a statement of the obvious. In a world of credit and easy virtual payments for just about everything, tying it all to a concrete plan of saving dollars and cents has been very hard for me to do.