CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "Tpizel"

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 - "Tpizel"

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CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "Tpizel"We are continuing our 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. This week I have interviewed Travis Pizel; you would know him as Tpizel.

1.) What happened that made you realize that you needed help with your debt?

I think that deep down I knew I needed help with my debt for years. There were certainly indicators along the way. 

When we applied for our first mortgage, as well as the mortgage for our current home, the statement made by the loan officer was, "You do have a lot of consumer debt, but you also have a nice income and you've never missed a payment. You'll be fine and certainly be able to pay down your debt over time." 

I bought into that, believing that eventually my yearly salary increases would outpace our spending and our debt would decrease. Unfortunately, that never happened. 

2.) Why did you decide to get professional help with your debt?

In June of 2009, I received letters in the mail from Citibank saying that they were changing the terms of our accounts such that the minimum monthly payment was being increased from 1% of the balance to 2.5% starting with the August statement. 

Between my wife and I, we had five credit cards with Citibank.

I felt sick to my stomach as I calculated what that was going to do to our monthly payments. We were already struggling to make the monthly payments, using other credit cards to supplement our income each month. 

There was no way we were going to be able to make the new minimum monthly payments. I immediately went into my bank to discuss my options. I laid out what our situation was, and asked what they could do to help. I specifically told them that when this increase occurred in less than two months, it was possible I would default on my mortgage.

Their response was that there wasn't anything they could do. They suggested that I apply every penny I could to paying down our second mortgage such that maybe in a few years we could refinance our house and fold our credit card debt into our mortgage.  

I looked at the guy completely dumbfounded. I felt like he hadn't heard I word I had just said.

Something had to be done. Once that change in policy kicked in, we were not going to be able to meet all our financial commitments each month. 

Either we found some sort of help, or things were going to not get paid.

3.) What do you wish you had known when you first joined the Debt Management Program?

I wish that I would have known for sure that I was making the right decision. After spending hours and hours reading posts in the CareOne Community about the program, my main fear was that somehow this was not what it seemed to be. I feared: Travis Pizel

  • My debt was too high
  • That the program wouldn't work for me
  • That it was too good to be true

After all, I had never heard of CareOne, or a debt management program for that matter. 

Turns out it was the best decision of my life! 

That's why I continue to read and answer questions in the community as much as I can. I'm not a financial expert, but maybe by simply relaying my experiences through the community forums and through blogging I can help other people make the right decision for them. Whatever that decision may be.

4.) When you're finally debt free, what lessons will you take from the Debt Management Plan and apply to your lifestyle to remain debt free?

I have been enrolled in the DMP for 19 months now, and I still struggle every day with each and every purchase, deciding whether it's worth spending the money. 

Constantly going over the budget and dealing with unplanned expenses takes a lot of energy. It has gotten easier, and I hope that by the completion of the program making the right decision becomes second nature.

I know that I will never carry a credit card in my wallet again. It is just too tempting to use for impulse purchases and deal with the consequences later. 

While on the DMP and my budget is tight, I am learning to do without the ability to purchase a lot of new material items.

I hope to walk away from the DMP with the attitude that I don't need to buy "stuff" to make me happy.

Developing and enjoying the relationships with the people I love is the most important thing I can do to truly enjoy life!

Read More CareOne Community Spotlights:

CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "Squade"

CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "cher47917"

CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "CRT1487"

CareOne Community Member Spotlight - "mdavis1964"

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  • You're doing great Travis! Just keep going in the direction you're headed. Pretty soon you'll be free from those debts, and the impulse to take on any new debts.

  • Travis I agree with Jenny, you are doing an awesome job.  You are truly an inspiration to many of us in the community.  I know I for one appreciate your blogs and comments.  You continue to give me the faith I need to succeed right along with you.  A struggle it is, but I have faith we can accomplish this.  Thanks for all you do in the community!

  • Thanks, Jenny.  As my two year mark on the debt management program nears, sometimes I cannot believe it's been two years.  I hope the next three fly by just as quickly.  :)

  • Monica, I always appreciate your support!   Whenever I need some extra support, I know I can turn to the community, and I'll find you, and a host of others there ready to remind me that I'm not alone, and that we can finish this journey successfully.

  • It's great to read your story Travis.  Keep up the good work and you'll be debt free sooner than you think.  Best Wishes on your journey!

  • Thank you, Cheyrl - reading your comments in the community and your blog posts proves that it can be done - it's always great to hear from a graduate of the program!

  • Whoever you are, this is my advice,,, don't spend more than what you earn.!!!! How can you do that? Simple - exercise and eat vegetable and fish only,,, it's cheap and very good for your health. As I can see, you're all too FAT.  Result----- within a year ---- more money in your pocket, you will look ten years younger, smarter and starting to get debt free.  Thank You and may the GOOD EARTH GIVE YOU MORE OF HER BLESSINGS.

  • Thanks for your comment, Igor.  I agree, spending within your means is such a simple phrase - unfortunately for me the tempation to abuse credit cards was too great.  Budgeting for groceries and living within that budget is certainly one of the key things that will help get out of debt!

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