When I first started the HOPE Program I didn’t have much hope. I had a lot of debt but it was spread out in a lot of different areas, such as medical bills, car repairs, taxes, student loans, and personal loans. I felt overwhelmed and it seemed like I owed everyone. I just couldn’t seem to get caught up on bills no matter how hard I worked. I constantly worried about money and collections agencies called me all the time.
Although I had a good job I never had enough money to pay rent or make my car payments. I had borrowed money from friends and family and had even taken out some pay day loans. I barely had enough money in the bank to keep my account open and didn’t have any money for emergencies, which was also why I was so deep in debt.
My finances were really a mess but by working with a financial counselor and a mentor we developed a plan to pay down all my bills. It was a lot of little steps, but it made me feel good knowing we had a plan. Sometimes I had unexpected expenses, but I would sit down with my mentor and we would figure it out together. She helped me stay on track with my plan, which helped a lot.
When I started, I owed over $11,000. After a lot of hard work and careful budgeting for over a year, I am now debt free! The best part of not having bills piling up is that I have money to save for my future. I don’t have to worry about whether I will be able to pay my rent, car or electric bill each month.
I have a new attitude about money. I work too hard to just throw it away. My Christmas this year was much less expensive AND much less stressful! It is so easy to spend money, put the bills coming in after Christmas takes a long time to pay off. This year I celebrated the holidays with joy, knowing I don’t have a bunch of bills waiting to be paid.