There IS Light at the End of This Tunnel!

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.

There IS Light at the End of This Tunnel!

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There IS Light at the End of This Tunnel!Come July, I'll have completed three years in CareOne's Debt Management Program. And by next July - if not sooner - I will be graduating!

For those of you with me, those who are getting closer and closer to the goal of wiping out this debt, please take a moment with me and enjoy the feeling of knowing that this day is coming.

Likewise, new members - please know that this day will come!

It's kind of like being a freshman in high school, thinking, "Man, I will NEVER get out of this place" and then all of a sudden, there you are, in your cap and gown, diploma in hand.

As I've learned through my progress here, preparation and forethought are key.

So as I look ahead to my completion of this debt repayment, now is the time to start making financial plans.

In my case, my CareOne payment is just over $900. That's a significant amount of money to have available per month.

Here are some of the options I'm considering in terms of reallocation:

  • SAVINGS, SAVINGS, SAVINGS: And by "savings" I mean not only an emergency fund (to cover car repairs, vet bills, all of life's little unpleasantries) but also the heretofore unattainable prospect of having actual money sitting untouched in an actual bank because there's, you know, extra. The security of having a robust savings account (or, if I get really good at this, an investment account!) is priority number one.
  • Student Loans: As many years as I've been paying student loans, I feel like I've barely made a dent. It may soon be time to call up a loan officer and see what my options are for restructuring the payments or shortening the term. Is it smarter to pay down student loans or the mortgage faster? The interest rates are about equal. This is the issue I'll be tackling next.
  • The "When We Have Money" List: Don't we all have a list like this? Getting my car tuned up, taking a sewing class, joining the community pool for the summer, power washing the house. Falling somewhere between "wants" and "needs," I'll be able to knock some of these long-neglected goals and aspirations off of the To-Do List.
  • Home Repairs: We've left some requisite repairs go by the wayside, not to mention cosmetic fixes that are sorely needed. Relocating is somewhere in the 3 year plan (as we think about starting a family); but before we even get serious about that, we need to get our own house in order. As dodgy as the real estate market (still) is, investing in necessary repairs and improvements is a must. Aside from that, it's a gratifying feeling to be proud of the place in which you live!

Are you close to the light at the end of the tunnel? Please share your thoughts and plans for this next chapter!

Related links:

Three Years in the Life on a Debt Management Plan

You're So Lucky

You Are Debt-Free.....Now What?

Stacey PavlickStacey Pavlick

Stacey is a participant in the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP); soon to complete her second year on the plan. She is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog. Stacey works as an operations manager for a title insurance company and moonlights as a music reviewer for She combines her passion for writing with her passion for getting out of debt! Read along as Stacey shares her struggles and success along the way. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Read some of Stacey's previous posts in the blog Single and Settling In blog.

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  • Good for you Stacey!  I remember that feeling when I figured out I'd be debt free in four years instead of five - it was awesome!  The light at the end of the tunnel had definitely gotten bigger and before I knew it, I was making my last payment.  Just knowing the finish line is coming is great and when I did make my last payment, I couldn't believe I was making my last payment.  You should treat yourself when you are finished - it is a big accomplishment.

  • Thanks, Cheryl! Yes, the last year is shaping up to be a wild ride, more than half of my original creditors are already paid in full and now I get to enjoy the acceleration of the snowball effect! As defeated as I felt before joining Care One is as empowered as I'm feeling now as I approach the finish. Thanks for cheering me on!  :)

  • I have to admit, as I approach the completion of my second year part of me says "Wow, two years already?"  But another piece of me thinks of the 3 years to go....and it seems so far away. It's great to read this post as it reinforces the fact that there is an end to the program...that the day will come - thank you for that reminder!

  • I am excited for you.  It sounds like you have been thinking things through.  As t-pizel stated sometimes it feels like a long journey still ahead.  I have been blessed with making extra money working the holidays throughout the year, which has helped me get this debt paid down.  I truly hope to be done with this program sometime next year as well.  Not quite as soon as you will, but a few months after you.  :-)  Thank you for sharing this post.  It came at a good time for me as I was feeling tired of living so cheaply that I just wanted to lower my payment to the original amounts so I could have play money.  But I can't!!  I have a personal goal and reading this has helped me get over my bummed out state!!  Thanks again!

  • t_pizel - Thanks! Please know that I look to your posts for inspiration and support as well!

    mdavis1964 - YES. I had the same temptation of lowering my payment. But, I figured that the money back in my pocket would not give me the same "payoff" as finishing my program on or even ahead of schedule. Push through it, right? I'm glad to hear we both kept our eyes on the prize!

  • I want to save but i spend so much on drinking :(

  • I still have over 3 years to go - I am not seeing that light as of yet - but very much looking forward to it!

  • Emerging debt-free is a great feeling; staying debt-free is another story.  Because we had no savings after paying all the debt off, things came up that required plastic, and we were quickly back where we started.  So, my suggestion to all is to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE as soon as you're out of the woods.  It's really tough to do, but you'll sleep better knowing that you can easily handle unexpected expenses when you can borrow from yourself.  We also closed all but one credit card account, only use it for internet purchases and pay it off every month.  If only America's leaders could be so financially responsible!

  • As a family that is currently living paycheck to paycheck, spending discussions between my wife and I can become a bit heated towards the end of a pay period as our available funds dwindle.

  • Entitlement is a slippery slope. One day you're buying snacks before your movie ticket, the next you're charging trips to Mexico.

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