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.

Yes, I have been in your shoes…

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Yes, I have been in your shoes… As I sat on the floor of my living room, I cried.

I cried for what seemed to be an eternity. I guess I need to tell you some of my story for you to understand my tears.

As many of you read this I know that you have shed your own tears a thousand times. I want to share my own personal struggles with debt because I know what it's like; I know there are things you continue to struggle with, you didn't mention to your credit counselor.

I have been in your shoes and have made the same journey that so many of your are making now.  I hope when you read my story you see that I came out on top and so can you!

Let's go back:

My story starts like many of you, as a college student, but it does not end there. I had heard my elders say how important it was to create a budget and stick to it to avoid the pitfalls of debt. I wish I would have listened!

While I was attending college, I received several credit card offers, and accepted many of them.  I remember being so excited when I received the shiny plastic card in the mail. It made me felt like an adult.

My credit lines started off low, less than 1k.  The first time I went shopping and swiped the card, I felt a high of some sort.  I should have known then that I was headed for trouble.  I used the card, and paid it responsibly for several years.

Then one Christmas, I received a letter in the mail that my credit line had been increased to 5k. Now as you know, that was the worst time in the world for me to get a credit line increase. I shopped, and shopped, and before I knew it my few credit cards were maxed out and I had over 10k in credit card debt!

The crazy thing to me was that it happened gradually, slowly, and before I knew it I was juggling credit card debt at the age of 22. I was working part time and full time jobs, but because I was a single mom as well, I had a difficult time making ends meet.

I attempted to make budgets on paper and used excel spreadsheets, but I did not have much success following up or sticking to it.

One day, I had my "ah ha" moment; that was when I realized I was in over my head.

The emotional rollercoaster

  • At first I was in denial. I kept thinking "if I keep paying the minimums I can keep my head above water." Then I skipped one payment here and another one there.  
  • The frustration. I had a good job and I was a good person so I became extremely frustrated when I called the credit card companies and was told they could not waive late fees or over the limit fee's.
  • Next was anger. I would yell and scream at my creditors although I knew it was not their fault. I would yell and scream at my family members although I knew it was not their fault. I was angry at myself and became very critical of every choice I had ever made in life. 
  • Then self-pity. I went through every stage of how I was the worst person in the world. No one understands or no one cares and I must be the only person this situation.
  • Finally the tears came. I cried, I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to eat or I would over eat. I was completely stressed out and on an emotional rollercoaster that seemed as if it would never end.

Quick facts to get help:

  • Talk to your family. Your spouse and children should be aware of your financial situation. Set a specific time to each month to have a financial family meeting.
  • Seek financial advice. Get the help of a credit counselor, credit counseling agency or even sit down with your local banking officer to figure out your next step.
  • Go through the process. You may experience a variety of feelings and emotions. You are entitled to feel what you feel, but remember - do not get stuck there.
  • Make a choice. Make a choice to get help, stick to the method you choose and forgive yourself.

Stay tuned to read the rest of my story.

Dealing with debt is extremely difficult but I made it out and so can you! 

Coach Tammy Bradford CareOne Debt Relief ServicesCoach Tammy

Thomasene "Coach Tammy" Bradford joined the CareOne Debt Relief Services social media team as a Social Media Specialist in September 2009. Tammy works to provide the highest level of customer service in the community. She is passionate about helping people through the debt experience and having been through it personally, she knows what it is like! See Tammy in action in the Ask the CareOne Expert forum, throughout the community and on our Facebook page!

To follow CareOne click here!

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  • Thanks for sharing !!!

  • Thank you for sharing your story.  It is nice to know that the people that are helping us try to become debt free understand what we are going through.  You my friend have helped me out so much that thanking you will never be enough!!

  • @MsJan1 and Mdavis1964, It's an ongoing process and I am wishing you both much success!

  • Thank you for sharing,  feeling all  those emotions now, but dealing one day at a time !

  • Meet our Quality Associate Kelly!

  • I thought I was prepared for everything. Once you turn 40 I am convinced that your body decides to launch an all out campaign to remind you that yes you are 40 years old.

  • I felt worthless and STRESSED OUT during our time of debt. I would just ignore the phone calls and not pay attention the mail received. My kids use to ask, "Mom, why don't we answer any of the 1-800 numbers." That is when I knew I had to really find a

  • Meet Sumer Grissom

  • Meet CareOne Employee Ricky Jackson

  • At that time that look just made me feel worse, I didn't want pity, I wanted help.

  • I made a choice that day to stop feeling sorry for myself, I made a choice to not only seek help but accept help .

  • Meet CareOne Employee Laura Childs

  • I became overwhelmed with credit card debt between the ages of 18 and 25. As a young single mother I used credit cards for my emergency fund as well as my "make ends meet" fund.

  • Meet CareOne Employee Kelly Manocchio

  • Once I realized I was in over my head and had gone through various stages of the emotional process, (See my first post, Yes, I have been in your shoes... to read about that process) I knew I had some choices to make.

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