Althea suffers from credit card dependence

Client Profile: Althea H.

“Material foolishness” leads to credit card debt.

When Althea needed to repair the floors in her home she whipped out a credit card and headed over to the home improvement store.  When she wanted shells to add to her beautification project, she whipped out a credit card and headed over to the dollar store. In a nutshell, Althea said she spent $20,000 in credit card debt on “material foolishness.”

She tried paying down the debt on her own but saw little to no progress. Then a potential lifeline appeared on her TV screen – a Consolidated Credit commercial. She made the call and the act of buying everything on credit came to a halt. The cycle of making payment after payment with no progress ended.

“I was making at least the minimum payment but most of it would go towards the interest and not the principal. So really I was just paying interest every month and not making any progress,” she remembers. “It got to the point where I said, “You know what, I’m tired of this. I’m tired of giving people my money’. That’s when I got a hold of you guys.”

Several factors factored into her debt woes…

From the buy now pay later and using credit to pay for everything, to getting caught up in the zero percent introductory rate credit card offerings, Althea found herself trapped in a cycle of relying on credit to achieve her goals.

“It was too many open lines of credit, too much unnecessary spending. Let me tell you how many times I’ve been to Home Depot. You know, just because you have the card you go in there and you just get stuff. The most expensive thing I did was renovate the living room and dining room floors which didn’t cost much at all.

 

“I used my card to get whatever I wanted – that meant I didn’t have to take cash out of my pocket. ‘Oh I have a little bit of credit on this card so let me use the card instead of using the cash. Or I might just go over here to the dollar store and get those shells and make it work,” she jokes. “Swipe now, pay later, no worries.”

The zero percent introductory interest rate got her too…

“It’s amazing how these credit card companies tell you no interest for six months or a year. But if you don’t pay off the balance in full within that period, you will have to pay back all the interest. It happened to me on one of my accounts,” she says. “They told me no interest until a certain period and me not being smart money-wise and thinking that I don’t have to pay interest in a couple years, I didn’t realize that if I didn’t pay I would have to pay back interest. That caught me by surprise.”

But Consolidated Credit lowered her interest rates. She saw a dent in the debt and a boost in credit score…

“My interest rates were too high – 16, 17, 18 percent. Consolidated Credit was able to lower it to a point where my payments now go toward the principal,” she recalls. “My credit score is also going up. It was around 650 before but now it’s close to 700.”

Althea sees progress and she’s relieved…

“I’m very pleased with the $400 payment I make to Consolidated Credit to disperse to my creditors – now that’s within my financial range.  My balances are going down and that means progress. It feels so good that the money is going towards the principal and not interest,” she rejoices. “I am so glad I made that financial decision to consolidate my debt. It does not take much effort on my part. I just have to make sure the money is in the bank when it’s time for Consolidated to take it out and that’s it. I don’t have to mail anything to anybody because Consolidated takes care of it for me.”

The debt management program taught her a lesson that she wants to pass on…

“Don’t open any accounts if you don’t need it,” she cautions. “It just seems like easy money, but it’s money that you have to pay back with interest. Money often used for making unnecessary purchases. For me it was things that I didn’t really need. It was just getting more material foolishness.”

She takes her own advice…

“Being on the debt management program has allowed me to have a little more cash in my pocket.  So I use cash more often now,” she testifies. “I’m now a little more mindful as to what I’m spending my money on and have curtailed all the unnecessary spending. I won’t get ridiculous and say just because I have a few more dollars let me go get that.”

Althea, now 50, has this view…

“I don’t want to be 60 and still paying for stuff, for a bunch of foolishness I bought on credit in my 30’s or 40’s,” she says. “That’s not going to work. That doesn’t make sense.”

To those who are afraid of seeking help or talking about their debt, Althea says…

“Fear is a hindrance and that’s in every aspect of life, we have to overcome that fear. For anyone looking to eliminate their debt and can’t do it on their own, or don’t have the discipline and need some guidance, Consolidated Credit is the best avenue to get things under control. Don’t worry about the fear, step out on faith. It’s working for me.”

Althea will celebrate her freedom from debt but certainly not on credit…

“I’d like to visit Africa and if I can’t make it there perhaps somewhere outside the U.S.,” she says. “I don’t travel at all. That could be something I do with my new found freedom. Put a few dollars on a side and treat myself. I don’t want to get myself into debt again.”

 Would Althea recommend Consolidated Credit?

“I sure would!” she exclaimed. “I’m pleased with the service so yes. The counselors and representatives are so knowledgeable and patient. No question is too hard or too stupid as it relates to your finances and I really appreciate that. The last representative I spoke to was so positive and knowledgeable and energetic. The energy level was wonderful and he sure is an asset to the company.”

Is fear keeping you from seeking freedom from debt? Break free now, call us …

Althea’s plight with credit cards aligns with the scenario of many  of our clients – making payments on their credit cards but see little to no progress or are getting caught up in the buy now pay later phenomenon or easy access to credit . If you can relate to any of these pitfalls of credit use, it’s time to seek help. Pick up the phone, dial for free to speak to a representative or to find out how much debt you’re in take our free Debt Analysis online.

"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.

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