I grew up in a stable home as the youngest of four. My parents taught me the value of money and use of credit. Mom didn't use more than she could handle, while Dad only bought what he could pay off every month. I saved my allowance for things I wanted and shopped for the best price.
When I was eighteen, I got my first credit card, because I couldn't write a check without one. I vowed not to use it but could not maintain that worthwhile goal.
Though I can remember my first credit purchase, I don't remember at what point things got out of control. I soon had two or three Visa cards, several catalog and department store cards, and a gas card. And they were all maxed.
I kept dipping into my trust fund to bail me out. Since getting out was so easy getting back in was even easier. I ended up having to move back in with my parents. I was twenty years old.
With my mom's help, I made an impact on my debt. After paying my creditors there wasn't much left for me, but I felt that I had enjoyed the party and was paying the piper.
I was working my way out of debt when four years later, I found myself working for an abusive boss. I quit to save my sanity, but the experience was so bad I didn't want to work for anyone ever again. I got involved with a multi-level marketing company and all my progress was lost. I put all my money back into the business and didn't pay any bills - just like the MLM told us to do.
It took four months for me to come to my senses and find a job. I was so behind that I thought I would never catch up. My Mom helped me consolidate my debt, and she and I worked out a payment plan.
I had every intention of sticking with it.
Unfortunately, having credit again got to me and I ran the balance to the limit. I missed one payment and the credit-card company called her. She was so angry, she closed the account and arranged a lower minimum payment.
I talked to my parents and went to Consumer Credit Counseling. The counselor reviewed my information and disregarded the majority of my debt. Why? Though the debt was mine, it was in my mom's name. He worked out the payment plan and told me how much it would cost. I couldn't do it. I had read warnings about CCCS, so I did more research and decided not to use the service.
My credit is good now. I have credit in my name again and was able to transfer the balance of my mom's card to one of my own. It's a slow process; sometimes I slip and use my MasterCard (my Visa is tucked out of the way). I am very careful not to let it get out of hand. With vigilance, I can probably be debt free by the time I'm thirty-one.
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