People occasionally approach me privately sharing with me that they have reached the breaking point with their finances. They know that I recently completed a debt consolidation plan eliminating $109,000 in credit card debt, and believe I may have some words of wisdom or advice to get them started on the path to financial recovery.

The first thing I tell them is to, "keep their head up."

I know how they're feeling. They're likely feeling like they are a huge failure in life, and may even be on the edge of depression. They look at their current situation, and think about all the mistakes they've made to get them to this point. 

I know that feeling, too. I had to take some drastic actions to keep our finances from completely falling apart. 

Here are two of my biggest mistakes:

Falling into the Payday Loan Trap:  There was a time when we were particularly strapped for cash, and my usual methods of generating funds had run dry. There was no more available credit to utilize, no more balances to transfer, and applications for accounts resulted in rejection letters. I walked into a payday loan store, and walked out with money less than fifteen minutes later. 

Things that seem too good to be true usually are.

Used our Children's Savings Accounts:  It doesn't get much lower than this. My bank account was empty, but I was staring at the balances of my kids' savings account and saw using their funds as a temporary solution to an immediate problem. 

Desperate people do desperate things to survive. 

I tell the people that confide in me that the mistakes are in the past, and what matters is what you do from this point forward to better your situation. It took a loan from a family member to get out of the payday loan trap, and it took us over a year to pay it back. We eventually paid back our kids' savings accounts, too.

Mistakes can be rectified, and finances can be fixed. 

People deep in debt aren't bad people. 

We've just made some bad decisions, and sometimes need a little help and motivation to get moving in the right direction.  

What mistakes did you make while in debt that you're not proud of?

Related Links:

3 Years in the Debt Management Plan, Still Learning...

I'm Good Enough

How I Began My Journey Out of Debt


Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis 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 in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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