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.

Keep Chipping Away

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Keep Chipping AwayA few months ago, the large torsion spring that helps open our garage door broke. We could have just opened the garage door manually, but we had extra funds available, so we called the overhead garage door company to have it repaired.

Unfortunately, by the time the bill showed up in the mail, we had incurred some other unexpected expenses, and didn't have the funds to pay the bill in full. We decided to save what money we did have, and planned to add to it and pay the bill in full the following month. 

Unfortunately, the same thing seemed to happen the next month, and again we didn't have the funds to pay in full.

I expected a "past due" letter in the mail any day, or worse, a phone call trying to collect. As embarrassing as it was to do so, I dialed up the company and explained that I was sorry I hadn't sent my payment in, and that I fully intended on paying my bill. 

Surprisingly, the gentleman on the other end told me that he understood, and that times were tough for everyone. He said that he had a pile of medical bills that he'd probably be paying for the rest of his life. As long as I sent a partial payment each month, I'd be fine.

"Just keep chippin' away at it," he said.

There are a couple of things that I learned from this experience: 

  1. If you can't pay a bill in full, send in what you can. Life happens, and there will always be unexpected expenses. You may be surprised at how quickly you pay off that debt.
  2. Keep your creditor informed of your situation, as they may be willing to work with you. When I called the overhead door company, they made a note in my file as to what we had talked about.  

They certainly didn't have to be understanding of my situation, but I was thankful they were.  

I should have called the overhead door company as soon as I realized that I couldn't pay my bill in full, but I feel much better that we are now on the same page with respect to my debt. 

This will hopefully maintain a good relationship with the company for when I may need them again.

Related Links:

Don't Let Debt Burnout Set in!

Need Help...Just Ask!

Taking Control....The Whiteboard Budget


Travis Pizel, CareOne Debt Relief Services Custmer BloggerTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly 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. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Keeping in contact with creditors is so important, yet it's a lesson I had to learn the hard way. My instinct was always to hide - avoid answering the phone, throw away late notices without opening them... If I had just admitted upfront that I couldn't make all my payments, I probably could have worked out an arrangement to pay less for awhile. Instead, I ended up pissing off all my creditors and they wouldn't work with me - not that I blame them.

  • Same here - I recently received two unexpected medical bills.  One I had been ignoring because I just hadn't opened the letters from the hospital thinking there was no way they could have been bills.  When I received the one marked FINAL NOTICE, I immediately called and explained how embarrassed I was, and they immediately set me up on a payment plan.  For the second bill, I called immediately.  It is so much better and easier to call right away.  Payment plans exist for a reason, and the peace of mind you get from being upfront is priceless.

  • I can't remember for sure, but it seems to me that it was actually a post of yours I read on this subject that prompted me to call to prevent getting into that sort of situation.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Andrea!

  • Great examples, Reva!  It's great to hear about other's successes in handling debts this way too!

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