PITCHING PLASTIC, Part. 2: After the “Toss”


Credit Card Debt

Credit Card Debt (Photo credit: 401K)

04-26-2012

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!

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4 thoughts on “PITCHING PLASTIC, Part. 2: After the “Toss”

  1. Von Smith says:

    Bravo. It takes courage and will power to really change habits and get out of problems like credit bondage. Seems like you have not lost quality of life in the process.

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