Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Debt Free: How I did it
by Cindy Campbell

Cindy is a DebtSmart Reader (and model--see her MySpace page). However, it is Cindy's financial success that caught the attention of Kim Lankford, contributing editor for, Kiplingerís Personal Finance. Kim featured Cindy's story in the November 2007 issue, How five people got on top of their debts, and how you can too.

Cindy Campbell About three years ago I sat down

About seven years ago (2000), I sat down and knew for sure I was in debt. I had credit cards that were over the limit, due to me charging and charging, but not paying.

I used to write checks at the grocery stores in order to get cash back. I knew I would be paid within a day or so and that the money would be there when the check cleared, just not at the time it was written. I was so deep in debt.

I would submit credit card offers all the time, and over time, I would get rejected and wonder what the problem was. So at the tender age of around 20, with a credit score that had to be in the 400's, I decided I needed to make a change--and quickly.

I signed up with a debt consolidation program, got all my cards together and paid a small monthly amount. Once one was paid off, I put that extra money toward the other card, and so forth. I was broke, couldn't even afford to eat sometimes, but I did what I had to do. Slowly, but surely, the debt started to fall off. I began to realize how good it feels to finally pay off something. So I continued to do so. I monitored my credit report and score and began to save money.

When I was in the process of getting out of debt, I researched many debt websites online. Debtsmart.com was one of them that I stuck with. I subscribed to receive the biweekly email newsletter, and I read them. They offered great advice and ideas. I learned to talk my APR down. I even forwarded articles to friends in need.

In 2003, I graduated from college and did not have that much debt left over. Wasn't making much salary wise, and didn't have much saved. I realized that I would soon want to move out on my own and needed savings and a better credit score. So I managed to get a promotion at the job, making twice what I was making before. I paid off everything, except for the student loan. And my credit score was in the mid 700's!

I made the decision in 2004 that in 2005 I would make my first home purchase. So I saved and saved and managed to have about $5,500 in savings in addition to my great credit score. I purchased all my furniture prior to the move and just made payments on it until I was able to move into my place. I paid it off once I moved in, which in the long run made sense, because I would move in with new furniture and no debt. I also was able to renovate the entire place due to the fact I had no debt. I did, however, run up the credit card again to $10,000, but to me that was nothing, because that was the only card I had.

And here I am, two and a half years later, and that credit card will be paid off next month! And based on how I learned to pay off things aggressively, it was a piece of cake. I tell others about it, and they are shocked to know that I was able to do what I did.

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