CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "mdavis1964"

My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "mdavis1964"

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Introducing a new featured segment for the My Journey out of Debt blog; CareOne Community Member Spotlight! We are placing the spotlight on some of the familiar members you see engaging in the Community.

These members have graciously offered up their time to let me interview them about their personal stories, tips for success on the plans and more. We will begin our series interviewing Monica Davis; you would know her as mdavis1964.

Why did you decide to seek professional help with your debt?

In January 2009, I separated from my husband. I assumed all of the debt, with the exception of the two credit cards he had prior to our marriage. We split the savings, and I left taking very little with me. We continued to go to counseling-- trying to work on our marriage, but to no avail.

In March, I bought a car in my name, as the two vehicles we owned while married were in my husband's name. I asked for a divorce in June. I filled out the paperwork (no attorneys involved), he signed, and we filed together.

Monica (pictured on the right) and her daughter

In June 2009, my ex decided he no longer wanted to stay in the house. He had become unemployed and didn't want to use up his savings to keep the house. I knew I couldn't afford the house alone. I attempted to make the house work by asking my children to live with me, paying a small amount in rent. Even with the amount they were paying, I couldn't keep up with the utilities and mortgage.  That is when I really started using my credit cards. After the divorce was final, I started looking into debt consolidation programs online. My research began. I checked the BBB and CareOne is the one I chose.

What reservations did you have about joining a Debt Management Plan?

Although I started the paperwork online for CareOne in October, I was hesitant to truly join.  I had a good credit score and I was able to make my payments on time, but I was making the bare minimum monthly payments. I knew that I was using the credit cards to live on and that I was not making a dent in what I owed, with just the minimum payments. Finally in November, I knew I had to do something when I started to receive letters from my creditors stating they were going to up all my interest rates.  I joined CareOne in November and started making payments in December.

What kind of challenges did you face once you were on the Debt Management Plan?

I was also being seen medically for a neck injury that occurred in a car accident in 1996, but was getting worse with time. I went to see a surgeon in January and her recommendation was to have surgery ASAP. After the surgery, I was so overwhelmed and stressed that I just wanted to close my eyes and have everything work out. My first payment with CareOne went out and was distributed to my creditors. By the time I got home after my hospital stay, my CareOne payment had been applied to my creditors. I checked my statements online and discovered late fees, which caused one of my creditors to go over the limit. I could not understand; what did I do wrong? The payments weren't late, so why did I accrue late fees?

That is when I knew I needed to learn how to work with the Debt Management Plan in order to reap the benefits. I learned that my creditors charged me late fees on the difference from what CareOne paid them and what the creditors expected as a minimum payment, until they accept the CareOne proposal and applied benefits. This can take up to three months. While home from work after my surgery, I had the time to be on the CareOne site and to read the Community forums, ask questions, and learn about the Debt Management Plan. So, that is what I did. 

Unfortunately, that was not my only issue. I have also endured losing a hot water heater and had a large tree come down in a storm, which took out part of my fence! I had to figure out how to fix the hot water heater, pay somebody to chop up and remove the tree, and pay to fix the fence...all without credit cards!

What tips would you give to somebody just staring out on Debt Management?

My top five tips on getting this plan to work:

  1. Keep a positive attitude.  I am a firm believer that there is something positive to learn out of anything negative that happens in life.  Surround yourself with people who are happy and positive, as it will help you keep yourself in that mindset, too.  What we are doing is very difficult; we might as well make it as pleasant as we can.  Imagine the rewards when you are done.
  2. Pay extra when you can.  It does make a big difference in the amount of time until you become debt free.
  3. Educate Yourself.  Check your statements regularly and make sure the benefits are being applied.  Don't find yourself blindsided as I did my first month. 
  4. Read and share in the forums and groups.  I know that it helps me stay focused.  It also helps me to realize that I am not alone and people are struggling just as I am.  I find many great tips and advice through these forums and groups, which is one of the reasons I am so active in the Community.  I find a lot of personal satisfaction in being able to help support and encourage others through this difficult journey.
  5. Make connections.  I have people that I am connected with.  We don't send out private messages very often, but we all know that we can count on one another to help when we are feeling overwhelmed, but don't want to share with everyone else.  Some of us share tools (budgets, amortization schedule worksheets, etc...) and sometimes we share what is happening in our lives that we don't share with the rest of the Community.  I feel I have made some great friends who understand what I am going through.

What are your plans for the future and after you complete the plan?

The good news is that I am living by way of cash.  Had I not joined, I am almost positive I would have put everything on credit cards and been even further behind today than the debt I already have to pay.

I am just about to make my 8th month payment to CareOne.  Things are looking up.  My debt is coming down; my estimated time to become debt free is less then what CareOne estimated when I began this journey.  Yes, there were bumps on my journey and I have had to back down on paying the extra toward my debt, but it will be paid off in time.  I don't have to worry about being in debt for a lifetime anymore.  Life is good, and when my debt is paid in full it will be even better.  I honestly can't wait for the day that I can put my payment each month into savings to earn the interest, rather then pay it each month.

 

Suzanne Coblentz is a CareOne Community moderator and works in the Social Media department. If you are interested in being profiled or have some feedback about the CareOne Community please feel free to email her directly at scoblentz@CareOneCredit.com.

 

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  • Great Read! And Congratulations mdavis1964!!!

  • Great to put your face with your name, mdavis1964.  We've crossed paths out in the forums many times - and have nothing but the highest respect for the comments and advice you give our fellow DMP participants.  I wish you continued success in the program!

  • Really a great blog for me to read.... we just started with Care One and it is so good to hear such positive things.  I agree you NEED to stay positive through this.

  • jsantos2301~Thank you very much for your comment.  Wishing you the same success in your journey to become debt free!

    tpizel~You have always been an encouraging factor in my journey.  Your blogs are well put together and I love your attitude.  Thank you very much for your comments.  You too give a lot of good advice.  I always love to read what you post.

    adhorstman2000~Welcome to CareOne's debt management program.  I am glad that you found this post helpful.  The first few months can be stressful.  Keep your head up and really learn the program.  It truly does work.  Thank you for your comment!  

    Good luck to everyone on the journey to being debt free!!

  • Monica! You are a true inspiration to many on the forums! Your positive messages have helped me through many days!  Good Luck to you!

  • Thank you squade.  You too are an inspiration.  You truly are someone that helps me keep the positive attitude.  Thank you for that!!!  We will both make it through this journey.  Thank you for all of your support.  Wishing you all the best!

  • A very appropriate start to the community member spotlight! mdavis has been a great inspiration and dare I say mentor in my journey....I find myself looking forward to reading her posts!  I sure appreciate the kindness and comforting words she has offered in every one of her replies (and not just to me but to everyone!)...those simple kind comments have sometimes changed my day from a negative one to a positive.

  • Wow grumpypkg that was very nice of you to say.  I am very happy that I have been able to help support you and help ease your mind.  I have noticed that you too have been out there trying to help others that are just beginning ease their minds also.  I hope you will continue to post as you have helped others too.  Even when you are not sure how you are going to make it, you still have kept a positive attitude.  I truly believe that will get you far.  Thank you again and the best to you!!

  • Great words of advice for all of us.  I always read your posts when I joined CareOne and wondered how you got so smart!  You are down to earth and also very caring and that comes through in your posts.  Thanks for sharing and I'm glad to be one of your CareOne friends.  I wish only the best for you and know you will be a huge success as you come closer to becoming debt free.

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  • Not many companies can say that their customers were so passionate about being customers that they would take two days out of their lives, vacation time from work, and time away from their families to speak to what they believe has been their financial

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