Facing Debt and Winning

Facing Debt and Winning

The relationship ended and she never received a dime. Instead of tapping into her savings or seeking help from her parents, Roache hit the panic button. “I was always afraid to use my liquid cash and emergency fund, and I’ve never been a person to ask friends or family for financial help,” explains Roache.

With creditors constantly calling, interest accruing, and a missed mortgage payment, Roache became so mentally and physically beat down that she couldn’t eat or sleep. Her figure slimmed from a size eight to a size two in a matter of months.

“I was stressed out. I didn’t want to look at any credit card statements or answer the phone, so I went paperless and put my credit card debt on automatic minimal repayment,” she says.

For three years she paid the minimum balance of $100 on each card. But in 2010 she heard a church sermon that talked about not bringing debt into your marriage and expecting your spouse to pay it. With hopes of getting married one day and thinking how unfair it would be to her future husband, the next day she called the bill collectors to negotiate a repayment plan.

One of the credit card companies agreed to stop assessing punitive fees such as late payments and interest if she’d pay $173 per month until the balance was paid off; however, if Roache misses a payment then the contract is null and void.

For the last two years she has made every payment on time. Roache credits a realistic budget for being able to meet her debt obligations. Programs like Mint.com helped her keep track of her spending, and she also keeps track of bills on a spreadsheet.

She’s even made extra lump sum payments, after transitioning into a development officer position with the United Way of Broward in 2010 and using income from her side business as a life coach, InspireMany.com, which she founded in 2010. So far she has paid off more than $7,000 of her credit card debt and plans to pay the remaining nearly $7,000 balance in about three years.

The secret to getting control of her debt? “You just have to open your mouth,” says Roache. “I was mad that I didn’t say anything sooner. It just goes to show you that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

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