I'm pretty sure I'm not alone (okay, I know I'm not alone) in what seems to be an overwhelming amount of student loan and credit card debt. More often than not, I'm pretty certain these monthly payments are a permanent fixture in my life.

Yes, I'm being dramatic. It's more like a permanent fixture for the next 30 years.

Over the years, starting in college, I began transferring credit card balances around so they could sit on cards with those interest free offers. I was smart enough not to make additional charges on those cards, but it basically freed up space on my "main" credit card. Oh yes . . . at age 19 I certainly treated this is as free money. Imagine my surprise when ten years later I'm still paying that debt.

But wait there's more . . . student loans!

There's no escaping these pesky payments and their interest rates. I try not to think about how little goes to my principal each month, but the reality is the majority of each payment goes to interest. As my student loan payments are fixed, I can easily, albeit begrudgingly, plan for these and I have them set to autopay from a bank account I don't use on a regular basis - that way I know the money will always be there for withdraw.

Even before beginning my DMP, I had stopped putting any new charges on my credit cards, so each payment I slowly but surely reduce my balance. When I began the DMP I had three cards - one for spending and the other two just had interest-free balances hanging around.  I have sine fully paid off one of those cards (yes, the one with the smallest balance) and I am now down to two credit card payments a month.

One wouldn't accept my DMP proposal, but the other did and now has a much lower interest rate, so more of my payment is applied toward the principal. I have this payment on autopay through my DMP, which helps keep me on track for paying it.

This leaves almost $200 a month on that third card, with the largest balance, and the highest interest rate.

I pay the minimum amount each month and I feel like the balance declines at a painfully slow rate, just like my student loans. The elimination of one monthly payment (even if it was only about $40 a month) and the reduction of another with the DMP gives me a little extra room to pay down these two larger debts.

Even more important than that, they are marks of progress that remind me I will eventually see the end of student loan and credit card debt.

I will slowly but surely continue to chip away at those. In the meantime, I can pride myself on not accruing any new credit card in a few years. 

Sarah Pack, Debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Sarah Pack

Sarah recently enrolled in the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Sarah currently lives in Virginia with her dachshund-beagle mix. In her blog, Sarah shares her experience as she just starts out on the DMP, managing her own expenses and spending, and working towards becoming a better saver. You can read more about Sarah's experience in the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.