April 6, 2011 Broken Chains
Nearly five years ago we were enslaved. Like many people, all seemed a loss because we felt we were never going to find a way out. We were enslaved by our debt.
Alan had been in school our entire married lives (which was over ten years at the time). Because of the type of schooling he was getting, school loans were not an option. We had to pay for the school by the semester. We had a lot of financial aid from family and scholarships. However, as a student you are limited to the type of job and income you can maintain. We had a habit of using credit to make-up for income, or lack there of. We weren’t habitual spenders. We used our cards to pay for things like groceries, tires, sometimes to pay for bills (and the occasional splurge on self). The sad thing, there was nothing to show of it. Maybe if I was an habitual shopper I would at least own cute shoes. (just kidding).
It is one of those things that I would be completely embarrassed to talk about, however, as of this month we will officially break off those bonds that held us captive for so long. I know you are dying to know how much debt we had, and I promise I will tell you, because I am no longer ashamed. I am free.
As of this month we have paid off $24, 000.
Twenty-four Thousand Dollars.
24 Thousand bucks.
Can you feel the burden that has been lifted? How’d we do it? Let me start with why. To be honest neither of realized how much money we actually owed. I am the “bill payer” in the family. I knew we owed more than we could afford. Sometimes I would use one credit card to pay on another. (REAL DUMB!!) There were many conversations with card companies about how much I needed to pay that was past due. After our fourth child was born, Alan was nearing graduation and we would be entering a new phase of our life. When you are starting a job you always start at the bottom of the pay scale, and we realized that we would never be able to move on because of the chains that were holding us down.
We researched several kinds of debt counseling options. We found one that helped us to lower the rate of interest on our cards so that we could manage a payment we could afford. (Before then we were paying over 20% on $24,000.)
The other thing we did was going to a cash only system. We were no longer going to pay for any thing unless we had the cash. This was hard, especially at first. The sacrifice was worth it.
The one thing we did that we shouldn’t have been was to turn a blind eye. When we stopped keeping track of how much we owed it became easier for the amount to pile up.
I know there are many people put there that are 1. enslaved by debt or 2. found a way to freedom. For those of you that have remained or become debt free what did you do? Please share to encourage those who don’t have that kind of freedom. If you are interested in the Counseling service we used click here to find out more. Sometimes it helps to know a company you can trust.