(Long post alert)
Two days ago I was blessed to pay off $32k in credit card debt, plus the last $3200 I owed on my auto loan.
I had no idea on New Years’ Day that I would be in a position to do this. I had been praying about it and working on my side hustles to earn extra funds to put toward my debt but nothing was really changing.
The bible speaks about things happening in the “fullness of time” in Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:10. I didn’t know when this day would come but God did.
How did I end up with $32k in credit card debt?
Long story. In 2015, I had $16k in debt mostly related to my business. I used a great service Payoff.com to get a low-interest loan to pay this debt off and my plan was to be free of it by May 2018. I had a plan and I was handling my business.
Back in 2010, my Mom and I purchased a new home as she had taken custody of my niece and nephew and we needed somewhere larger to live. I moved to the new house and I was blessed to be able to rent my old house to my bestie who had sold her house and had been unable to find a new one she liked. This solution was a godsend because I really did not want to sell my old home because it’s the perfect retirement house and I built it brand spanking new.
From 2010 to 2016, everything was going well financially until February 2016 when my bestie told me that she had put an offer on a new home and would be moving out that summer. By this time, I had a student loan from getting my MBA and I had an auto loan after finally trading in my 1998 SUV for a brand new 2014 model. Now I was responsible for ½ of the mortgage on the new house and the entire mortgage on the old house. #WhewChile
Money was very, very, very tight from 2016 ‘til 2018 and I resorted to using my credit cards again. Sometimes out of personal needs, home repairs, things for the kids, and expenses related to my business which was not yet profitable. In all honesty, I could have done better and not used credit cards to grow my business but it seemed like the best thing to do at the time.
By the time I paid off the original bill consolidation loan, I had even more debt than when I started. Not the situation I’d planned to be in at all but I managed it and eventually got to the point I no longer needed to use the cards and began the slow process of paying it off little-by-little.
When Covid19 cranked up in the USA and I was allowed to work from home mid-March it was a blessing unto my soul! I feel so much more relaxed and I no longer feel like I’m running all the time. I began praying and saying “I’m coming out, better than I went in!” I meant that I wanted to take advantage of this time to get some things in order spiritually, health-wise, and financially.
My friend sent me a post from Kandi Burruss where she was talking about creditors extending grace because of Covid. Her message was accept it even if you don’t need it because you don’t know what you may need that extra money for.
I received emails from my student loan and mortgage company offering me grace and I took them up on their offers. I also received some stimulus from the Cares Act money which I put in savings. My biggest challenge was still the credit card debt. I began thinking and praying about opportunities to eliminate it and God delivered – big time!
Back in 2010, I took a loan from my 401k to cover the down payment on the new house. This loan was paid in full May 4th. My company’s rules say that you have to wait a year after paying off a loan before you’re allowed to initiate a new 401k loan. As part of Cares Act, this time was shortened to just 30 days which meant that on June 4th I was able to request a new loan and the interest rate is only 3.25% – much less that the rates on my credit cards.
My “fullness of time” had come. It was a very tough period but I praised God through it because I knew it would not last always and it didn’t. He brought me out and I plan to stay debt-free.
If you’re facing a tough time, know that God is right there with you in it. Yes, it was hard but I could always see God making a way in the wilderness and streams in my desert. I remember the times when the AC at my Mom’s house would go out in July right around the time I would get my bonus from work and could pay for the repairs.
Or the family reunion in Nashville when I knew I would have to pay for all my immediate family members – registration, hotel, gas, and food. I’d been saving up for it when my 3 best friends and travel buddies proposed a trip to Dallas the week before the reunion and I really wanted to go but knew I couldn’t afford it. My friends are all saved and praying women. The Lord put it on their heart to allow me to go basically free.
I can’t remember all the times when God came through for me in the last four years but He showed up every time. Through my tears – He showed up. Through my disappointment – He showed up. Through my yearning for better days – He showed up. And in the fullness of time, He will show up for you too. Be encouraged!