It started when I was 18 years old and able to get my first credit card.
I grew up in a poor household and was not educated on the importance of maintaining good credit.
After I got my first card, I spent the day at the mall buying the clothes I wanted but could never afford, getting my hair done, and treating my friends to lunch. I was just living in the moment and figured that I would come up with some way to pay the bill off later. I did not consider that in a few months I would be leaving out of state for college and probably not working.
After that card was maxed out, I opened another card...and then another card...and before I knew it, I was over my head in debt.
I had creditors constantly calling my cell phone, my parent's houses, and sending letters on a daily basis. I ignored them at first, but when it became unbearable, I changed my phone number.
Eventually, I sat down and figured out that I was nearly $10,000 in debt with no job and no way to pay it off. The threats of going to court and having my income tax garnished scared me. I sat down and made a list of each individual company that I owed money to and figured out what I had to pay off first.
I started with the card I had owned the longest, which was also the card with the highest interest rate. I called each company and worked out a payment plan. I got a part time job at a tanning salon while I was in college so that I could begin to pay my debts back. This wasn't enough so I had to transfer to a school closer to home, move back in with my parents, and work a full time job.
Five years later (aside from student loans I incurred in my undergraduate studies and now in my graduate studies), I am debt free. It feels as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I will never let myself fall into that position again.
Contributed by Anonymous from Massachusetts