Consumer Credit / Credit Cards
4 Years and $35,000

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By MrMicrophone
November 11, 2004

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Four years ago, I reached a financial rock bottom. I wasn't making enough money to meet the minimum payments on my credit cards. As a result, the rates skyrocketed and huge fees were added each month. My already high balances reached a total of $35,000. I wasn't living my financial life realistically. I never spent extravagantly, but I was living beyond my means. I kept thinking that something positive would happen to help get me out of this mess, but I didn't win the lottery and the hoped-for million-dollar inheritance check never came in the mail. I had to take action. I was forced to take action.

I contacted the credit card companies and arranged payment plans with each one. One of my accounts had already been forwarded to a collection agency; I paid that one off first because they agreed to 0% interest as long as I paid $530 a month. That one took me 18 months to pay off. During that time I made minimum payments on the other two.

It was hard. I had to live frugally. In some ways I am grateful for the experience. I have had a hard lesson in money management. I am proud of what I have accomplished.

I could have declared bankruptcy. It was a matter of personal pride, and a sense of obligation to pay back what I owed, that kept me from doing it.

It is now four years since I started on the path toward solvency and I made my last payment last week. A huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders, and I am walking a little taller these days.

- Mason

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