Jerry and Sue Bailey, residents of Jackson, MI, accomplished the tremendous feat of paying off 92 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt. This debt they had begun amassing in 1992 and lasted all the way until 2005. Their debts spanned over 17 different credit cards. On these cards, they charged the costs of, among other things, two weddings, car repairs and home improvements. The home improvements included a new roof, according to an article at Fox Business.
“I never thought it would happen to me. It happens to other people,” Fox Business reports that Sue Bailey said, regarding their enormous joint debt.
“You feel kind of ashamed that you got there because you believe in paying your debt and paying what you owe.”
Upon appealing to their local credit union in the spring of 2005, the Baileys were advised to file for bankruptcy.
However, they refused to go that route.
“We just don’t believe in that,” Sue Bailey said to Fox. “We believe in paying what we owe.”
They were then referred to a not-for-profit credit counseling agency called GreenPath Debt Solutions. GreenPath and companies like it help consumers who are struggling to meet their financial obligations establish a realistic debt management plan in order to pay down their outstanding debts.
The agency negotiates on behalf of their clients with creditors to arrange for affordable monthly payments and for reduced interest rates. Clients then pay a sum each month to the agency who, in turn, distributes that money to the creditors until all debt has been paid off. With the assistance of GreenPath, it took the Baileys five and-a-half years to settle their debts, once and for all.
It was a long, arduous road. Through careful budgeting, tough sacrifices and earning additional income by taking on additional work, Jerry and Sue’s struggle to settle their outstanding debts ended in October 2010. When GreenPath phoned to say they were finished paying back what they owed, Jerry Bailey was floored.
“I had her repeat it because I wasn’t sure,” he recalls to Fox.
The advice he has to offer anyone out there facing seemingly insurmountable debt load is to “put just a little bit out of every paycheck into a savings account. Let it build up for when that rainy day comes, because it does come.”
As far as credit cards go, Jerry cautions “don’t get more than one. You need to have one, but pay it off every month,” as per Fox.
For some people, shifting balances from higher APR cards to 0 balance transfer credit cards is one good way to start on the road to becoming, all and all, debt free.