I just want to shed some sort of light on my situation, and on anyone else’s situation that might be similar. 21 year old, was $10,000 in CC debt by age 20. Lived on my own since I was 18, the debt accumulated from living expenses, school, dumbass purchases, and a trip to Mexico I told myself I could afford.
Not even six months ago, I was fired from my job & facing eviction. With no money saved, I was planning on applying for welfare and food stamps. I was considering bankruptcy. I was digging in the trash at my apartment complex for plastic I could recycle for money. I was finding shitty (and sometimes scary) odd jobs to work on craigslist for extra cash. All in the midst of this, my car was broken into and my insurance charged a $500 deductible (I had to borrow from family) to cover the cost of damages.
I never knew how to manage my money, how to put myself on a budget, or how to get myself out of what felt like hell. I became severely depressed. I was borrowing money from friends just to feed myself. Then I realized I could get myself out of the situation I was in if I put in the time, effort, and hard work to get there. I just had to establish a solid plan, and stick to it. I finally landed a good job, I set myself up on a strict budget, started an emergency savings fund (which isn’t much, but growing every week. I learned the importance of an emergency fund from my car burglary). I stopped spending frivolously, and surrendered my debt to a settlement company.
I was drowning in interest and my debt was literally growing daily, being both unemployed and 21 years old, I could not afford to make even half of a monthly payment. Unfortunately, my credit card companies would not work with me in arranging an affordable payment plan and/or decreasing the interest (they said because I was unemployed they would not arrange a plan). My only options were bankruptcy and a debt settlement program (National Debt Relief). Neither of these are ideal, they both come with heavy consequences, and I heavily weighed both options for a couple of weeks before making my decision with debt settlement. I now make a payment of $275 per month to NDR and will be fully out of debt in two years.
It’s only been four months since all of this happened, but so much has changed in my life. I feel in control of my spending, my finances, and my mental health once again. I keep track of every dime I spend with an app called Everydollar, track how much money I’m making weekly (I’m in the food service industry so my income relies on tips), and make sure all my bills are paid before spending on excess (which is extremely limited in itself). My life will be like this for the next two years until I’m out of debt, and I’ve had to put my degree on hold until then, but for the first time in my life i’ve made some huge, responsible strides toward my financial health and future.
If anyone is feeling down, scared, stuck, helpless, or even depressed from their financial situation, understand it gets better and starts getting better with your decisions. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help, or to admit where you’ve gone wrong. Seek as much advice as you can from people who manage their money well, and don’t be afraid of their opinion. Work as hard as you can, make better financial decisions each day, and most importantly, know it will get better. You will not be stuck in this position forever. You will get through it.