Study abroad leaves Lauren with credit card debt

Client Profile: Studying abroad in London caused Lauren to nearly lose her financial freedom before it began

From the moment Lauren began her freshman year at University of New Hampshire, she was bombarded with credit card offers too appealing to resist. She started off with two cards. But soon they became maxed out. To stay financially afloat, she began taking advantage of the offer letters that she was receiving in the mail. Lauren soon found herself in a cycle. She would max out a credit card, apply for another one, get approved, max the new card out, and start all over again.

“I signed up for everything. Every card that I got approved for,” Lauren remembers. “In my head that meant I had more money available to spend. I spent as much as I wanted and only paid the minimum amount due on the cards each month.”

But the six credit cards she acquired during her freshman and sophomore years weren’t enough. Lauren decided to take out one more credit card which she lived off of for her entire junior year at Regent’s College in London.

“This was when I took my credit card debt from a 5 to a 10. I lived in London for a whole year just taking college courses and enjoying life. I relied only on credit cards to pay for everything that I needed for the entire year.”

By the time she graduated, all of her credit cards were either maxed out or close to their cap?

“I remember coming home every day and looking at my bills. I was living paycheck to paycheck and was barely able to keep my head above water,” Lauren recalls. “Even with paying the bare minimum due on each card, the interest rates were so high that my payments never really lowered the overall balances due on the accounts. I was lost and had no idea what to do next.”

She did make an effort to pay more than the minimum due on her Target cards?

“I would pay $100 towards my Target card on my pay week, but by the next week, I was broke and hungry, so I would find myself going back to Target to use my card to purchase $100 worth of groceries.”

One day she had enough of living paycheck to paycheck and putting money towards credit card balances that were not going down. She began searching the Internet for help on getting her credit card debt under control?

“I came across a few credit counseling companies who all gave the same promise of helping to get my debt under control,” she says. “But what stood out to me were the client reviews and their seemingly high level of satisfaction with the program. So I picked up the phone and dialed the number on my computer screen to see what this Consolidated Credit counseling program was all about.”

At first, Lauren was skeptical and nervous. But her credit counselor reviewed her concerns and put her more at ease…

“I received the information quickly and was elated to know that everything the credit counselor had gone over with me on the phone was sitting in front of me in black and white,” Lauren says. “So I decided to call back. The rep I spoke to was so encouraging and made the entire registration process easier for me. She walked me through everything and never once made me feel bad about the terrible financial decisions I had made in my past.”

Over the next three years, Lauren made on-time payments and she saw the total balances on her account begin to dwindle?

“I was so happy that I was finally getting my finances back on track. I was excited because I kept thinking that I was almost done,” she says. “I remember pulling out my paper work to go over everything when I noticed that something was wrong. I wrote down the wrong end date and had been looking at that paperwork the whole time instead of the paperwork that they sent me. So I immediately called Consolidated to see what was what.”

At one point, Lauren lost track of how long she had left on the program. She thought she had only three months to go ? but it was really a year and three months?

“I was so distraught, all I could do was cry because I felt like I had so much farther to go,” Lauren remembers. “The representative let me cry and was more than encouraging and nurturing to me. She didn’t rush me off the phone, nor did she become impatient with me. She gave up about 20 minutes of her day to ensure that I was OK. Then she reminded me of how far I had come and how much I had paid off so far.”

The rep reminded Lauren that all she needed to do was stay on track and begin planning for her life after debt?

“I now have only four months left until I am completely debt free,” exclaims Lauren. “Since I enrolled in the program, Consolidated Credit has taught me how to save, pay my bills on time, and pay off my debts. I am now looking towards the future and I plan on being able to make a down payment on my first home within the next ten months without using credit.”

Lauren is truly appreciative of everything that Consolidated Credit did for her and wants the world to know?

“When I’m done,” says Lauren, “everyone will know it. I’m calling my parents. I will have it posted on all over my Facebook page. My boyfriend and I will finally be able to go out to eat, enjoy some drinks, and sit back knowing that we can now move forward to the next phase of our lives. Without Consolidated Credit, none of this would be possible.”

We can help you gain freedom again

Credit cards are notorious for getting people into financial trouble. If credit card debt has a stronghold on your financial life, our certified credit counselors can help you break the chains to gain freedom. Do what Lauren did and get help creating a unique financial plan to get back on the right financial path. Call Consolidated Credit for free at or get started online with a request for a free Debt & Budget Analysis.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

All Consolidated Credit counselors are certified personal financial counselors (CFC) We've helped 5 million people get out of debt! Call us today and see what we can do for you.

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Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

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Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

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