Client Profile: Tanya
Even law enforcement officers struggle to tackle debt.
When Tanya, a law enforcement officer in a small city in Florida worked overtime, she was able to afford a little more than her basic needs – food, clothing, shelter, bills – including her credit card payments. But then a couple years ago, overtime slowed and Tanya realized just how much credit card debt she was also racking up – over $8,000 on 20 credit cards. To make matters worse, the drop in her income prompted an IRS audit and she had to pay back taxes. To pay down her debt Tanya, on occasion, sacrificed from what she ate to how often she ate.
“Sometimes when funds were low I would just eat fruit,” she says. “A couple of times my check couldn’t cover all my expenses so I postponed food shopping. Things happen and you know, you do what you have to do – you sacrifice.”
Low credit limits and low minimum payments masked how much she was really charging …
“My credit card limits were so low – $100, $200, $300 – and my payments were also so low that if my minimum payments were $15, I’d pay $25. Then another one would come in and if the minimum payment was $20, I’d pay $30.”
Then she had a wake-up call …
“Reality set in when overtime slowed,” she remembers. “It got to the point where about two years ago I spent $700 before Christmas and $800 after Christmas on gifts for my granddaughter. That’s what did it – that was a wake-up call.”
She sacrificed to pay down her debt. The bare essentials became luxuries…
“I was barely eating. I never got to go out. I had to rob Peter to pay Paul. I couldn’t buy anything because all my money was going to all those credit cards,” she says. “Something had to give. I got rid of stuff I didn’t really need. I cut my cable off, cut those credit cards down and consolidated them. If I could get rid of light bill I would’ve too. Taxes and insurance those were the basic needs.”
An ad changed everything…
“I was feeling crazy,” she says. “I was watching TV and your commercial came on. I picked up the phone and made that call. A wonderful lady put me at ease. It took a huge strain off me. And now by the end of the year I will be debt free!”
Consolidated Credit helped her regain control…
“Some of my interest rates were as high as 24 percent,” she says. “Consolidated Credit was able to lower them to about 8 percent. During the negotiation a couple of creditors refused to lower their rates so my counselor helped me arrange my debt management program to pay off those cards first.”
Her credit score got a boost…
“My credit score improved a little bit,” she rejoiced. “It was between 300 and 400 now it is about 572 and climbing. My counselor recommended that I hold off applying for anymore credit to give it some time and by the end of the year it should go even higher. “
The collector calls stopped and even her hair is starting to grow back…
“I’m so relieved! I have a much more positive outlook,” she says. “I was so thankful when the creditors accepted my accounts and Consolidated gave me one set payment. I will be totally honest with you – my hair stopped coming out. That’s how stressed I was. You guys took a big burden off my shoulders. I no longer have creditors constantly calling me or anything like that. I sacrificed to make the payments but by the end of the year I will be debt free and stress free.”
So what did the debt management program teach Tanya?
“Something I knew all along,” she says. “To be more conservative, to not buy stuff that I do not need. That I don’t need all those credit cards, just one – maybe.”
How will she celebrate her freedom from debt?
“Well, the money that I was sending to Consolidated I will send to the IRS – at least 3.5 more payments – and be done with them. Then I can really celebrate.”
The sacrifices of paying down debt
When Tanya made extra money in overtime she never realized how much credit she was really taking on because she could afford it. But the overtime slowed and she sometimes had to sacrifice the simple pleasures and cut off the bare necessities to keep up with her payments. Consolidated Credit helped Tanya regain control – the collection calls stopped, her credit score got a boost and soon she will be debt free. Tanya is so happy that she promises to tell everyone about her success on the debt management program.
If you’re at a point where the sacrifices to pay down your debt on own is too much to bear, it’s time to seek help. Like Tanya pick up the phone and make that call to find out if we can help you carry that load. Dial or take our free Debt Analysis online.