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Over a year ago, the collectors started calling. I ignored their phone calls until September when the voice mail had the words “legal proceedings” in it. Scared, I called. Crying, I explained that I was totally broke because my husband had left me (admittedly, the next time someone called, I told them that I “lost” my husband to see if that got me anymore sympathy. It didn’t.), in school full-time, and had no idea how I was going to pay the credit card down. Thankfully, Lori was incredibly kind to me and talked me down as well as gave me some very clear options. She also allowed me to think about things overnight and made me promise to call her back the next day. After another tearful conversation with my mom, where I finally admitted that I was in over my head, I realized that I had to do something now before I totally ruined my life. I called Lori back the next day and we worked out one of the plans she offered me.
Last month, Lori called me personally to congratulate me for finishing out the plan and paying back every. single. penny. I owed. (And she took $50 off my final payment because I was so faithful about keeping things up on it.) For a year now, I have been broke. Broke as a joke*. So broke that I’ve called my parents on more than one occasion crying because I was going to overdraw my bank account without a $200 loan, a $75 loan, a $12 loan. My parents were incredible and supported me as much as they could (and we have since closed The Bank of Mom & Dad) and I have managed to keep my finances relatively straight.
While it sucks to be so poor, I have been responsible about paying back my debts and hearing that congratulations from the creditors is worth it. I have three more cards to finish paying off, and one more will be done before the end of the year. I am so very proud of myself, and while I haven’t had my hair done in six months, and I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in at least that long, I have survived. You can, too.
*Where did the phrase “broke as a joke” actually come from? Jokes aren’t always broken. I don’t quite get it. It rhymes, yeah, but it makes no sense.