Gwynneth pays off $55,000 in credit card debt
Gwynneth has spent much of her adult life battling various debts which added up to tens of thousands of dollars. In 2007, she decided enough was enough and turned to Consolidated Credit to help her escape her debt problems. Seven years later she is happier and more confident about her financial situation. This is her story in her own words –
She was just a teenager when her debt problems began…
“Debt became a problem for me for various reasons. I was living in an expensive city and supporting myself from the age of 19. I was also pursuing a post-secondary education which neither I, nor my parents, could afford.
“In the late 1990s, I put myself through a four year undergraduate degree in Toronto. I began using credit cards in my twenties and within several years I had about 5 credit cards. In my early thirties I returned to school for one year to complete a Bachelor of Education. I took out more loans with OSAP for teacher’s college. I was confident that with a teacher’s income I would be able to pay everything off. In retrospect, I was extremely fortunate to get a job teaching in the public school system upon graduating. But even with that stable income, it was more difficult than I realized to pay my debt.”
Juggling credit cards didn’t help…
“I lived with debt by managing my minimum credit card payments by using another credit card. When I found I couldn’t continue to borrow from one credit card to pay off another I went to my bank for help. I consolidated my credit card debt with a bank loan. This worked for a short period of time but did not help me pay down the debt.”
She finally turned to Consolidated Credit when she was over $55,000 in debt and credits our debt management program for her success…
“The most effective part of the service is the holistic approach. It is how these elements worked together and supported one another. Without one of the following elements I would likely have given up. I found paying of this debt very difficult emotionally, socially and financially. Consolidated Credit not only managed my finances so that I paid off a $55,000 debt in about 5 years, they were very supportive throughout the process. I felt that if I called them that I would connect with a friend who understood what I was going through.”
Consolidated Credit made paying her debt easier and more convenient…
“I was able to make one payment to Consolidated Credit who in turn would manage my debt payments to 5 or so creditors which reduced a lot of stress in my daily life. Consolidated Credit negotiated with creditors a reduced interest rate (some to 0%) and lengthened the payment period which also reduced stress. They could tell me the approximate date that the debt would be paid off which was very motivating.
“I could call at any time and adjust my payment date by a few days. I wasn’t afraid or ashamed of calling because everyone who received my calls was friendly and non-judgmental. I soon learned that they would help me make my payments, so that I wouldn’t experience any undue financial hardship. This way, I would be successful in paying off my debts in full. For example, if I was getting paid at the end of the week, I could post-pone the monthly payment that one time for a few days until my pay day.
“Finally, if I was feeling discouraged, I could call Consolidated Credit and someone would counsel me. They would help with budgeting issues I was having or encourage me to continue. This confirmed to me that I was doing the right thing by sticking with the program and paying off the debt. It was empowering.
Even after she finished the debt management program, she remembers the lessons she learned during that difficult time…
“I learned through the five years that I could live within my income. I lived frugally those five years and became uncomfortable with the concept of having debt and living cheque to cheque. The experience has changed the dynamic I have with money. I value money more and I cherish that I have the opportunity to support myself comfortably within my means. I fear the perils of debt.”
Life has changed for Gwynneth since she eliminated most of her debt…
“Now I am more relaxed and confident. I have more spending money and money to save. The debt seemed unreal to me. So unreal, abstract and untenable that sometimes I imagine that the debt is still there. Then when I tell myself that it isn’t, that I paid it off, I am relieved. I can go on with life now.”
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