Recently we asked for stories of people having difficulty with debt and what they did to try get out of it. Below, is a story from Debora, age 44 who lives in Australia. She is divorced with three school aged kids.
Her debt was driven by a credit card that couldn’t be controlled after losing her employment. The story highlights just how easy it is to fall in a financial hole when things go wrong. Debora has made a real go at staying afloat and trying to get herself and the family back into financial shape. You’ll note that the dreaded credit card will never play a part in her life again, once it is paid.
This story is all too familiar and many will say that all the story tells is the need for being cautious. However, society has put pressure on everyone by making them feel guilty if they don’t keep up with the latest gadgets and fashions. And of course, no parent likes to see their kids go without.
The marketers know all about these family pressures and target our emotions every day. So, be careful out there, don’t let the marketers win the battle.
I was out of work for one year when my employment contract was cancelled with 15 minutes notice. I applied for every job I could, which averaged one application a day for 12 months. The staff at the employment agency were at loose ends as to how to assist me in landing a job. I applied for everything – they couldn’t dumb down my resume any more without leaving huge gaps. I did not think I would be out of work for so long.
After three months I was concerned. My savings were small and had been used to pay the credit card. So, as a single mum with 3 children and only the centrelink benefits (social security) – I struggled. That was two years ago. I still have a major credit card debt. They were not interested to speak to me when I lost my job. They were not interested in any assistance as I was making small payments (all that I had left). They only got onto me when I hit my limit. I have told them and I still tell them, I pay what I can, I send through a copy of my budget so they know all my earnings and what I have left to pay them.
I have a strict budget – my children know what I earn and know if I can afford the ‘school excursion’ or not. Any ‘extra’ cash goes onto the credit card. Being off sick is not an option – if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I work two admin jobs now. Rent is the biggest cost and now they are looking at also charging for water!! I pay electricity in instalments, no longer have a mobile, the children need the internet for school so I had to get that on this year, the food budget is about $50 per fortnight. Interestingly, a private company specialising in helping people with debt would not assist me as I did not earn enough to be a customer of theirs.
I know I am not the only one doing it tough like this. I know I have a tough budget and that I am surviving. I know that I will get this credit card paid off and NEVER have a credit card again.
I don’t use the word debt, I prefer financially challenged. It is a learning curve for me and my children.