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Five years ago, Diana was struggling financially as a single mom and college student in Southern Alberta. Shortly after attending college to attain her industry license, and working to keep bills moving along, Diana soon found herself drowning in credit card debt, student loans and a line of credit.
As time went on, her debt quickly piled on like a brick wall – from using credit cards to cover her bills, to advanced payday loans to make ends meet. Collection Agencies started to bombard her phone at all hours of the day. “I was getting so many phone calls from creditors that I couldn’t even answer my phone!…”, she continued recalling threats from collection agencies,
“…the collection agencies, they get fierce and they make you feel so small – they have no understanding that you are a person struggling and that I have a child to feed!”
At her wits end drowning in debt, meanwhile working in an industry she studied so hard for, she had to find an alternative to filing for bankruptcy.
While researching online she learned about the OPD program, an established debt consolidation repayment program created by the Government of Alberta. With information at hand, Diana scheduled her free consultation with Money Mentors Debt Counsellor, Denise to review her debt.
Nervous prior to her first meeting, her anxiety gradually diminished during her counselling session. “…Denise made me feel like everything was going to be ok – she was calm and I felt like I was taken care of…”
With all her bills and information at hand Denise constructed a debt repayment plan with Diana, where it started before she had even walked out the door.
“…the number was even higher than I had imagined once we pulled all the bills together – it was then we sat together (with Denise) and cut up all my credit cards”. Recalling a glass full of shredded cards in Denise’s office, she told herself, “it had to be done and it was a beginning of something new”.
Life without credit cards was a struggle to Diana especially with a former habit to use it to pay bills; “You always look at them as a sense of security or use it as a backup…to not have that, it was hard”.
Sticking close to her repayment plan with a new lifestyle, she started to develop skills on repaying her debt. Although it was not easy, she credits the original payment plan she created with Denise to help her better understand finances. “I did have to relay back to the paper copy of the budget that I had created with Denise, that I knew what money was going to what…and that if there was extra money it can be allocated to something else.”
Diana was originally given 65 months to pay off her debt – with determination, she managed to pay back all of her debt 3 months early!
“Everything is so much more enjoyable now…I won’t hold credit card debt like I used to…”
she says with joy.
Since paying off her debt, Diana had gotten married and is currently saving money for a new home, utilizing the skills she’s learned from her Debt Counsellor throughout the process.
“The money I used to put aside to pay creditors, I still do that – that’s just savings now!”
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