Father of 2 Overcomes Divorce & Credit Card Debt
This month we spoke with Chris, who recently made his last payment and cleared his mountain of credit card debt. We asked him about how he lost control of finances, what promoted him to seek help and the lessons he learnt along the way.
How Chris conquered credit card debt…
Can you fill us in on your background?
I was married with 2 children. After 7 years I went through a messy separation which unfortunately also included a family business
How did you get into debt?
At the time we had the business my mother who lived overseas was not well and I had to go back to the UK to look after her. While I was away my wife ran up a lot of debt in my name. We separated and divorced and I was trying to manage the credit card debt but it just spiraled out of control. I started by applying for one credit card to fix the problem, then another credit card debt etc.
What’s it like being in debt?
You hear the cliché of “I dreaded it when the phone rang” but it’s true. I would look at the incoming number and immediately know if it was a bank or credit card company chasing payment. I could only work part time as I had two small children and basically kept chasing my tail to try and keep the mounting debts under control.
What strategies did you try to get your debts under control?
Did you fail before you succeeded?
What there a “light bulb moment” when you decide to get debt free?
Yes. I knew I had to, quite simply. I was 40 years old, renting and needed to see a future.
What was it like working with Debt Mediators?
They were very helpful. There were a couple of times that due to Car Rego, insurance etc. I had to miss a payment they understood and did not judge me.
Escaping the debt trap
How did you stay motivated along the way?
I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and just to keep plodding away. Impulse buying became a thing of the past as I could not just put it on a credit card as I did not have one!
What advice would you give to people who are currently struggling with debt?
Talk to someone. If you don’t know where to start there are lots of free community groups out there who can give you advice about where to go and what to do.
There are lots of companies out there that offer help. Shop around, find out all the pros and cons. Do your research before you commit.
How do you manage your money differently now?
I have learnt to budget on a weekly and fortnightly basis depending on my bills. I am in control of my finances.
What is life like now you’re debt free?
I like to look at my pay and know that I don’t have to make that payment anymore to anyone.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned along the way ?
I am not in a hurry to apply for any debt. I have managed 6 years without one and not missed it at all. If I need something I budget for it, if i don’t have the money for it at the time I wait till I do. I make sure all the necessary things are covered and anything left is a luxury.