After two years of living hand-to-mouth while paying creditors by dibs and dabs, I am seeing that white-hot ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to my teachers’ credit union, I am finally free of credit-card debt.
Detoxing myself from “plastic” was hard at first. Like someone with delirium tremens, or d.t.’s, my hands shook every time I reached into my wallet now bare of the rainbow of credit cards. Once I decided to “pitch the plastic”, stores everywhere conspired to tempt me. Everywhere I went, items jumped out and yelled, “Buy me!”
Yes, tightening my belt has been a struggle. Being single, I have celebrated the luxury of not having to rush home and cook dinner so I became accustomed to dropping in for a bite on the way home from school or errands. Telling self that I needed to walk off my dinner, afterwards, I’d venture around the corner to my favorite boutique.
“Just looking,” I’d claim, as I looked through their racks. Yeah, they knew better. An hour later, a cheerful sales person would chirp, “Thank you, Ms.Terry,” as she swaddled my selections in tissue paper.
Hey, at least this won’t drain my bank account, I reminded self, as I swung the fancy designer shopping bag in my hands. I thought I had it all figured out. But when credit-card payments swarmed around me like African Killer bees, I knew it was time to take action.
Having seen seen commercials for a well-known debt management company, I decided to research them online. Liking what I saw, I plugged in my digits. Within minutes, they spat out a figure I’d be paying each month. So far, so good.
Proud of my initiative, I announced to my fiance what I was about to do.
“Hey, babe,” Von said, “I’m so proud of you for taking matters in hand. While you have this back-up plan in place, though, why not find out how your credit union can help you?”
So I did. Originally, my idea was to take out a second mortgage until an officer at Educational Employees Credit Union (EECU) recommended that I establish a home-equity line of credit that I could borrow against. I supplied them with what they needed — pay stubs from my job, information about my home, and my list of debts and creditor addresses and –voila! — three weeks later, I was signing the dotted line on a sheaf of papers thick as a small-town phone directory.
Two days ago, I made my first payment,a month early!
Since then, I’m shopping smart and, in the process, falling in love with cooking for myself, again! Aldi‘s rocks! With quality groceries at a fraction of the price of normal stores, I can find dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, that rivals Godiva and Ghirardelli in its decadence. Shoot, I even found a four-pack of filet-of-sirloin steaks! Starving, I’m not!
Along with better stewardship have come new opportunities: substituting for my colleagues, teaching an extra class, receiving checks for “credits”.
How can I sum it up? One word: cha-ching!