David

How a Vancouver Island blues guitarist got out of debt

alumni David

For David, a 38-year-old Vancouver Island resident, the transition from waiting tables in a fine dining restaurant to working construction had pros and cons.

On the plus side, he no longer had to work at night, which helped to balance out his lifestyle. However, he had grown accustomed to always having wads of cash in his pocket from substantial tips. Although the cash burned holes in his pocket, and he was often quickly spent on nights out and entertainment, there was always more coming during his next shift.

“When you are a waiter, you have cash in your pocket and are tempted to just spend it all the time,” David explains.

Add to that, David is also a musician and was in a band at the time – which meant lots of late nights of eating out in restaurants and socializing in bars.

A major career change from hospitality to construction brought with it a major pay cut initially, not to mention the absence of a steady stream of cash on top of his paycheque. David quickly found that with his cash flow stemmed, his credit use quickly escalated – until he was maxed out.

Also, just prior to his career change, David had sunk a substantial sum into his musical aspirations, funding a recording that didn’t yield strong sales as he had hoped.

For David, his debt load appeared steadily and quietly, until it was too much to handle. He says, “I wasn’t spending outrageously, but what had happened was that my credit got to a point where I wasn’t paying it off fast enough…I had three credit cards, but was only making minimum payments on them, which wasn’t getting me anywhere.”

After some serious self-reflection – and a serendipitous moment hearing a Consolidated Credit commercial on the radio – David decided he was not where he wanted to be, financially speaking, and that it was time to change course.

“I was just over 30, and I didn’t feel like I was heading down the right route,” he recalls. “I felt like, ‘I’m making less money and doing less well.’ I was paying money every month, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I felt like I was treading water- and even worse, felt like I was going backwards.”

In addition to getting support from Consolidated Credit, David took some specific measures to reshape his spending and to reframe his thinking about debt with a set paycheque.

“I started really budgeting. When you have a paycheque without tips, you don’t have this fluid sense of money. You have an exact amount that you have to deal with for two weeks or a month. The change in careers forced me to realize that I have to put aside that exact amount for that bill, or that much for groceries.”

He started with small steps, like packing his lunch every day. He has extended that in his current life and has changed the way he approaches spending at all: “I try not to waste money. I look for savings at the grocery store- for furniture, oil car tires- anything I need. I try to budget more accurately and realistically.”

Fast forward a few years, David is married, a parent to a 3-year-old, and is debt free.

He’s still a musician, but is now part of a blues band that mostly plays cover tunes. “I actually make more money playing the cover tunes than I ever did playing my own stuff, which is ironic,” he jokes.

Have your circumstances placed you in a similar situation to David’s? Take heart, there is help available. Call Consolidated Credit at or get started now with a request for a Free Debt Analysis.

If you have a story you’d like to share about how you tackled your debt load, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at Counsellor@consolidatedCredit.ca to schedule an interview. It only takes a few minutes and it can help others like you make the decision to get the help they need.