A friend of mine is $15,000 in credit card debt. She explained that it doesn’t seem like that much because she makes $85,000 per year. Upon further investigation we determined that at her current lifestyle, she is only left with $400 per month after tax, mortgage/rent, food, insurance, phone, gas, entertainment, clothing, etc etc. When we considered that of that $400, $238 would be interest (19%x $15,000/12), leaving only $122 left to go to principal payments, she was only paying down approximately $1,500 of that credit card debt per year (not including the fees she probably pays to get that lower credit card rate).
That means that in reality, my friends $85k salary amounted to net savings ability of $1,500per year with credit card debt of $15k, it would take something close to 10 years to pay down the debt (a little less due to compounding). This was an eye opener for my friend as she had no idea how long it would actually take to kill her debt even with a relatively high salary. She believed that she earned enough to not have to worry about little expenses. She is going to pay more attention to her spending habits so that she can get out from underneath the debt.