11 February 2015

Dreamer's World February 11 2015 - Making Progress


    This week will mark the fist payday in forever that I have looked forward to payday without worrying that all of my money was basically already spent before I received it. I cannot describe the feeling of elation and relief that I have right now.
    The fight to get to this point was long and difficult. The sacrifices and self-denials were worth it in the long run, but they were extremely difficult. Now I can take care of expenses without the constant worry of running out of money because so much was tied up with paying off debts. It was a combination of things that got me into trouble in the first place. A low-paying job that promised promotion and failed to deliver, expenses that I couldn't budget for such as car repairs, the rising cost of gas several years ago. All of those contributed to the mountain of debt that I accumulated. That is behind me now.
    This is the beginning of the next phase in my life. I will do my very best to not allow things to spiral out of control again. I have emerged from the shadows into the sunshine and I am not going back!
    People have asked me how I managed to finally put this all behind me without declaring bankruptcy. The answer is that I very nearly gave in and filed for bankruptcy several years ago. I have friends who have had no other option but to do so. I managed to work through a credit counseling service to get settlements reached on my debts. This didn't save me the huge percentage that the TV commercials claim, but at least it enabled me to stop the bleeding and begin to plan my way ahead.
    I reached settlements with creditors and began paying them every month. I always sent money orders obtained from the US Post Office. I did this to avoid giving creditors access to my bank account, and also to insure their reliability throughout the process. Every month I would go to the post office and get money orders for the bills I was paying on. I always mailed them using REGISTERED MAIL, which involved me getting a receipt from the creditors. Before mailing the money orders, I copied EVERYTHING, envelope, money order, and a payment schedule letter to the creditor stating that this was payment # of # scheduled payments. I kept these copies for my own reference. Having the copy of the registered mail receipt gave me the advantage of being able to initiate a trace of a payment if the creditor claimed it had not been received.
    I performed this monthly ritual for almost 9 years. As the total I owed dropped, I continued to pay the creditors at the agreed-upon rate rather than attempting to renegotiate with them. Eventually, the creditors were paid in full and some money was released to my own budget. This process is now over with, and I have years worth of records to prove that everything was paid.
    I have spent too many years digging my way out of this mess. I am tired, but relieved to have it done at last!