Operation: Get Out of Debt

When I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to be about more than just my wedding day. I knew that once the vows were spoken and the aisle was walked, that this blog would continue to evolve down the same path my life does — from married life to parenthood, to wherever else Michael and I would go from there.

And as you all know, life is about more than DIY projects and desserts (although I do love those). So in the spirit of being open and sharing the experiences of my life (good and bad), I’d like to tell you about a little journey Michael and I have just begun — the journey to the land of no debt.

To start, I should disclose that Michael and I are currently in a ridiculous amount of debt that provides us both tons of stress everyday. But it’s not the mortgage and the student loans that really both me. It’s the credit cards.

Credit card debt is a viscous cycle that Michael and I had the unfortunate experience of getting stuck in. Of course, a lot of factors played into that cycle — Michael loosing his job, us getting stuck with a car that keeps breaking down, our dog getting attacked and having to spend a week at the vet, etc., etc., etc. It’s a combination of bad luck and poor planning on our part, but that’s neither here nor there. Today, we have a vast amount of credit card debt, and at the rate we were at, it was going to take us about 10 years and $20,000 in interest to get out of it.

So in an attempt to lessen the stress and keep some of that crazy interest money in our bank account, I started to research debt management solutions. After all, I’d rather be proactive than reactive with this sort of thing. Tons of people file for bankruptcy and loose their homes in foreclosure everyday, and I wasn’t about to let that be Michael and I!

However, it’s easy to get discouraged when you start looking up debt management/consolidation solutions, because there are a LOT of horror stories out there involving less than reputable companies, unethical practices and insane fees. But I kept at it until I found CareOne Credit (in addition to a lot of blog posts, good reviews, and a great BBB rank to back it up).

And from there, it’s been pretty easy so far. I filled out an online form explaining our debt, and then they got in contact with us to schedule a phone consultation with a credit counselor. The call went well. Our counselor answered any and all questions and concerns we had and was completely open and honest with us about the process, how it will effect our credit, etc. Now, we’re on a plan to be credit card debt free within 5 years — and save $16,000 in interest in the process!

To be clear, our payments are NOT lower. In fact, they might be a tiny bit higher. However, our counselor worked out our entire monthly budget with us to find a plan we could surely afford. Where the savings actually come in is that CareOne calls all of our creditors and negotiates a lower interest rate to help us pay the debt off faster. And as time goes on, if we discover we can actually afford to pay more, we can pay down our balance faster and get out of debt sooner.

I can’t say for sure how it will turn out, but I can say that I feel like someone just took a huge weight off my shoulders. It’s nice to know that this debt isn’t a life sentence, and I’m excited to get started in the program so I can report on how it all works out.

How are you managing your debt? Do you have experience with CareOne or a similar company?

[Photo by Andres Rueda. Used under Creative Commons.]

About Nicole Denton

With a love of planning just about anything — from her own wedding, to bridal and baby showers, to dinner parties, and more – Nicole is the Plunge Project’s founder and former editor-in-chief. A New Jersey native, Nicole has called Chandler, Arizona home since 2013, where she currently lives with her husband Michael; two pit bulls, Shelby and Link; and cat, Kity Perry. A University of Tennessee graduate, Nicole has a bachelors in communications and a career at a rapidly-growing digital marketing firm.

3 Comments on Operation: Get Out of Debt

  1. Elizabeth
    November 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for being so honest about your situation :)

    I’m right there with you on all the debt. I basically lived on my credit cards during school, then kind of overspent on setting myself up in a new place when I moved away from Tennessee. I looked into credit counseling, but ultimately got a consolidation loan to pay off some things. It took care of two credit cards, a small student loan and some much-needed car repairs. I still have a third credit card (ugh) that I’m slowly getting rid of, but progress is progress!

    One thing I’ve started doing is keeping a separate “bills” calendar on my Google calendar. It helps me keep better track of what’s due when, but it also reminds me of what I need to put my money toward. Say, if everyone at work is ordering out for dinner, I can see that I have a big loan payment coming up and I ought to save my $15 for that. It’s a really small thing, but I’ve been surprised at the difference it’s made in terms of self-discipline.

    Like you, it’s those unexpected (but somehow always massive) expenses that get me. I hear people say “oh, well you should just save more!” But if I could afford to save a lot of money, I wouldn’t have needed my credit cards to begin with! So that’s what I’m interested to hear about from other people: How do you prepare/deal with surprise and/or emergency expenses?

    Reply
    • Nicole
      November 23, 2010 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

      Elizabeth,

      Thanks for sharing! I actually keep a bills calendar as well, so I’m never late on bills…I just ended up using credit cards for everything else lol…but now I’m on the path to get out of debt! Glad to hear you are as well!

      Re: emergency expenses — my parents always said to try and save 6 months worth of bills to have in case of emergency, lost job, etc…but of course, that’s easier said than done. I think when this year’s tax returns come back, Michael and I are going to put them right into a savings account to save for when we need the extra cash.

      Reply

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    February 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm (3 years ago)

    [...] LOVED going on dates all the time, but because of our current economic situation and our mission to get out of debt, dates have definitely been slightly fewer in recent [...]

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