Taking the Next Step: New Year, Change Your Life
Before going to the Dr. Phil show, our life was pretty tough. I guess you could say we were better off than some and worse off than others. It felt as if we were grasping to keep everything together by the skin of our teeth. My husband and I went through several real estate transactions gone bad, and after we lost our home, we incurred a slew of debt. We then began a vicious cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Yes, we both worked and had full-time jobs, but at the end of the month, we were barely able to pay for our needs. My husband has always worked so hard, but the bills always seemed to overtake us. We still would come up short. There were times when I would ask him for a few dollars for things like sanitary pads or diapers, and he wouldn't have the means. I used two credit cards without my husband's knowledge, buying things that were necessities for the family. I finally stopped asking for gas to get me to work, and for laundry soap and slowly doing things in survival mode. I placed the family in further debt.
Allyson gives an update since the show:
When we came on the show, our eyes were opened. We learned so many new things that put our family on the right path for change! The biggest piece of advice was to haggle; the Bible says you have not because you ask not. For a long time, I felt at the mercy of a bill collector, feeling as if they wouldn't listen to anything I had to say. I tell you, I thought the bills would just disappear if I threw them away, not realizing they were growing and getting interest. I started calling my bill collectors and finding out how I could pay off debts and get items removed from my credit. In less than two hours, I paid four bills and had letters to remove them completely from my credit report. I stopped being intimidated by looking at my credit, and when I finally looked things over, there were several items listed that did not belong to me. We started shopping at Costco and purchasing everything in bulk, breaking down the meat in freezer zip lock bags and saving lots of money. Each paycheck, I am going over the existing bills one by one, paying off one here and there.
On April 9, 2009, I got an amazing job!! I am making $1.11 less an hour, but due to the amazing benefit package, I am bringing home $100.00 more every paycheck. The greatest thing about it all is my kids have great insurance as well. I am no longer worrying about taking them to the doctor and being billed out of pocket. My husband's business is getting better. He has two more stylists that have come alongside him. The lease for the barbershop was over in August 2009; my husband recently signed a new lease for about $100.00 less a month. He called several different brokers in our area to find out if he could get a better rate due to the economy, and he was told he got a steal! There are so many fraudulent places telling consumers, "Pay this amount, and I'll fix your credit," etc. After all we have been through, I would love to show people it is so easy to do it on your own; you just have to apply yourself. Dr. Phil talked a lot about getting structured and making a plan. It all boils down to being accountable with yourself. Once we did that, our lives began to change.