Reflection on a year in the Debt Management Plan

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.

Reflection on a year in the Debt Management Plan

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As 2010 comes to a close, I find myself doing what many people do. I find myself looking back on the last twelve months and reflecting on the experiences of the year. Our experiences make us who we are and shape how we will handle future situations. 

Here are some of the things I learned about myself during 2010:

I cannot carry a credit card.  Maybe one day I will develop the discipline to do so and not abuse it, but as of this moment, I believe that I will never carry a credit card in my wallet ever again. During the summer, after nearly a year of being in CareOne's Debt Management Plan, learning how to live within my means, and how to live on a budget, I found a credit card that had a zero balance and was not  included in the plan.  I quickly slipped back into my old habits.  In order to give myself the best chance to succeed, I just need to remove that temptation permanently.

I need to have a short memory.  I've made financial mistakes this year and I'm sure there will be more. Getting out of debt is a long process, and staying out of debt will be a life long commitment.  If something goes wrong, find a solution, and forge onward.

I need an outlet for the stress of being in debt.  Constantly worrying about budgets, bills, and scrutinizing every purchase to determine if spending the money is the right choice, hour after hour, day after day, is exhausting. Writing about these experiences is extremely therapeutic.  I thank you all for reading my blog entries and sharing this journey with me.  I hope it is as beneficial for you as it is for me.

I can do anything I put my mind to.  At the beginning of my debt management journey I honestly didn't know whether it would work.  I didn't know whether I could live within a reduced budget.  I believed that eventually I'd be putting my house up for sale and declaring bankruptcy.  Seventeen months later, my family and I are still standing, and our financial legs are getting more secure with every payment.

I need to feel appreciated.  In addition to handling the bulk of the family's finances, I am also the household cook.  I am not afraid of the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine - even advanced techniques such as the delicate cycle.  I help my kids with homework, give baths, and most mornings I can even put in double ponytails.  I've coached little Reflection on a year in the Debt Management Planleague baseball and my daughter's cheerleading team.  Outside of that I get up at 4:30 a.m. to exercise and put in at least a ten-hour workday.  I need an occasional,  "Atta boy!" from my boss, kiss from my wife, or a hug from my kids to assure me that I'm doing the right things and that I'm appreciated.

It is okay to ask for, and accept help.  I don't like others to help me.  I like to be in control, and don't like to involve others in my problems.  In the past year we've accepted money from my mother-in-law to fix a washing machine and borrowed a friend's vehicle to make it to a very important family gathering when our vehicles both experienced issues on the same weekend.  You know what?  They were happy to do it, and the Earth kept turning. 

To live is to be constantly learning about ourselves.  We build upon our experiences to hopefully become better people.  What have you learned about yourself this year?

Related posts:

A Change in Financial Seasons 

Running the DMP Marathon

Surround Yourself With Support

Travis PizelTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan and in his posts he shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles 

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  • Another great blog!!  I too have a very difficult time asking for help.  I like to try to figure out things myself.  I know if I ever asked my brother to help me out he would pay off my debt without thinking twice and just have me pay him back with no or little interest.  But what would that teach me?  Nothing about managing my own finances.  I think because we are the type of people not to want to take advantage of others kindness that when we do ask for help they know that we must really need it.

    You have done well for yourself in the year.  Yes, you may have had a slip, but you learned something from it.  I am a firm believer that with every negative thing we may have to experience in life there is something positive to learn by it.  As you just did!!!  You should be very proud of yourself to be able to admit what you did.  You truly are a great inspiration to me.  Thank you for that

  • Travis,

    I completly agree! I know from where you speak. As a father, husband, family accountant and cook I understand. Its not easy but reading your posts helps alot. Thank you and have a safe, happy New Year. Oh and sorry about your VIkings!

  • Thanks for your comment, mdavis1964.  It's amazing how even after 37 years of walking around on planet Earth there's still so much to learn about yourself.  This year has been quite the learning opportunity.  I really wanted to share my "slip" with the members of the community - as hard as it was to come clean to that extent.  I'm not the first to have regresed, and I won't be the last. But it can be overcome, and I hope to prove that as my family and I move forward!

  • Thanks ScottMo68, I'm glad you could identify with this blog!  As for my Vikings....well......they've had a bit of adversity this year to say the least.  I'm hopeful that they will bounce back next year - they did deliver a nice win last night over the Eagles - and on my birthday!

  • Well done, Travis. After reading your posts, I am very inspired. You are my hero, haha. To be doing everything you do, day-to-day, and to be working towards the bright light at the end of the debt tunnel, I definitely admire you. Kudos, and thanks for inspiring me.

  • Thanks for the kind wods, allenminor.  I'm always excited to hear that my posts have an effect on readers.  The hope that I can give others just a little extra spring in their step as they move towards their financial goals is the reason why I write!  Keep reading, and keep commenting!

  • Embarrassed to say this will be out 2nd time at this. We were successful the first time. Then along came American Express. This time we've learned to say "NO!". But now we need to dig ourselves out to retire soon. HELP

  • Travis, I thank you for your upfront and candid testimony.  We signed up with Care one Credit last year after I saw their ad on TV.. What you said was very encouraging.  Since signing up, I have doubted that we should have. My hubby got laid off.  Then we are having troubles with his unemployment.  I haven't seen a commercial since so I am starting to think we signed up for a sham...but...they have truly been a blessing for us..Our lawyer thru the program is awesome and she is so helpful..explains everything.  We already are learning so much about ourselves and how we spend money..and how our kids view spending money..  I dont want my kids to learn the spending habits that I learned.  I think that if I would have had an allowance growing up that it would have taught me how to handle money better.  We have so much to learn and I thank you for your encouragement.  I really needed it right now..  Thank you and God bless you on your debt management journey... Donna Lou Yaussy

  • Larry and Carol - I am so sorry I didn't respond earlier - I didn't see that there were new comments to this post!  I know exactly what you mean about "a second time at this."  When the housing boom was at it's peak, we refinanced our house, and absorbed all our credit card debt into the new mortgage.  So, we didn't pay it off, but at least it absorbed in to a 15yr mortgage which still would have been a shorter time to pay off than just paying the minimums.  But...we didn't change our spending habits and we immediately started ringing up debt again.

    You'll want to talk to CareOne to be sure, but I don't think American Express works with Debt Management companies.  I believe, however, that they may have their own program.  Talk to CareOne, and American Express (if you haven't already) and see what they can do for you.  I hope you find the help you need!

  • Donna, I apologize for not responding sooner....somehow these comments sliipped by my radar.  Sounds like you are on the Debt Settlement program - I'm glad that it seems to be working for you.  I hope that things continue to go well for you, and I thank you for your well wishes!   I'm so glad that you mentioned spending habits, and teaching them to our children.  My wife and I made the decision to not hide our Journey out of Debt from our kids. On one hand we didn't think they should really have to worry about money, but on the other hand, in addition to having them earn allowance and put money in their savings account, we wanted them to be aware of the consequences of not handling your finances correctly.  They simiply know that mom and dad don't have the money to do the things we used to do, but we are fixing the problem so one day things will be better.   They ask questions, and we try to answer as simply as possible, but still relay the information and the lesson.

  • thanks for everything what a great year it has been and going to be...

  • Thanks Charles, I agree!

  • I feel your pain, for a guy you sounded like a woman, your wife is blessed.  I have been getting out of debt and it is very painful when you become so frugal its almost parsimonious.  Bit learning discipline in finances is a huge challenge and it is truly worth it. I rather write a check than pull out a credit card and if I don't have enough to buy then that means I really don't need it.

  • Thank you for the compliment, my wife and I are blessed to have each other.  You are right - learning financial discipline is quite a challenge - especially when your habits are the exact opposite.  It is definitely worth it - as we learn how to manage our money and live within our means we accept what we can and cannot afford - which although sometimes disappointing in the short term, makes things much less stressful than wondering where our money went.

  • I can feel you pain! Since 1997 I have weaned myself and my family off of credit cards. Today, one foreclosed home and over 37k in credit card debt later, the only things I owe for are my newly purchased home (less than 100k) and the family vehicle (less than 6k). It has been a long road, but just knowing that you can cut back enough to survive gives you confidence that allows you to face tomorrow's challenges.

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