Paying off $84,000 of Debt in 4 Years with Travis Pizel

what’s going on everybody we got jeff rose and i’ve got an awesome interview today i got Travis pizzelle who has an amazing debt journey in the tune of paying off eighty four thousand dollars of debt in under four years and just look that number kind of super minute cuz that is such a huge huge number a great accomplishment for Travis you’re probably just enjoyed to share your story absolutely you know I want to be Travis in here he has really been prominent of August fear you know just sharing his dead journey also encouraging and motivating others you know giving them hope that they can get out of debt and today I just wanted to kind of go through the journey of you know kind of how did we get into the debt what was the the point where you like the the oh crap moment like oh my gosh like how did this happen and then you know the process you went into deciding you know the debt consolidation with care one you just how you went into that so do you mind just kind of Shirin does the story become the backstory sure absolutely Jeff so it really started immediately after my wife Bonnie and I got married we know we communicated well about everything but finances really and so you know pretty much right off the bat we we were overspending and and it really you know started out with we both had good jobs and we had a good income so we kind of felt that entitlement that we should be able to do anything that we wanted to do whenever we wanted to do it and as a husband I really felt that you know if I wasn’t able to provide everything and anything for my family then then that would be a failure for on my part so as we you know began our married life and we started to you know figure out what we wanted to do for fun and what we wanted to do for entertainment we would commonly overspend and when the money ran out then you know there’s always credit cards righted you know 15 years ago credit card companies were very eager and willing to send you all kinds of you know offers in the mail so you know using credit cards to supplement our income and we always you know I always knew that we had credit-card debt but as the years marched on and that number got bigger I really started to hide what that number was from her because I really didn’t want her to worry I really wanted to shoulder that that stress myself you know and it was out the thought process that I had was you know that the next income increase the next salary increase you know this is the the internet bubble time right when people are getting 12 percent increases all the time the next salary increase is gonna allow allow us to catch up and and that never happened so about the June of 2009 we got a we got letters in the mail from from a major creditor with that we had six accounts with and there are increasing the minimum payment policy I think it was from to pers or 1% to two and a half percent of the the balance was gonna be the minimum monthly payment and and when I sat down and really tried to figure out how much that was gonna be and what that was gonna do to our monthly payments it was it was obvious that we weren’t gonna be able to make those payments anymore so that was really our financial cliff at that point and we needed to figure out what it was that we were gonna do about that and so we went and talked to our bank and they really want to hold out a help for us there their advice was well pay down your second mortgage so that you can refinance your house and and and fold all that debt in and I said man you’re not understanding what I’m telling you I need help now I don’t need help in two years or three years I need help right now and they just shrugged their shoulders and you know I walked out the door so the next thought was you know either consolidation loan or bankruptcy that’s really all I knew that existed at that point and and bankruptcy didn’t sound like a good alternative you know but if that’s what we had to do then that’s all we had to do but we wanted to search and see if there’s any other options and that’s when we started searching the internet for you know just debt relief if you go and and put debt relief in your favorite web browser your search engine you’re gonna get all kinds of stuff yeah and we found a couple of different debt management companies debt relief companies and I started to take a look at them and vine and I did it together and we a lot of times looking at websites reading reviews and and the company that we ultimately went with care 1 Debt Relief Services has an online community where their customers speak out and they tell about their journey and they ask questions and and other customers also respond to those as well as the employees and that’s what really caught our eye about about that company and after after spending countless hours reading through those forums and reading external reviews that’s when we decided to make that phone call yeah so before we talk a little bit about that process I’m really interested I mean you mentioned that you were you were trying to shoulder the load you know of this debt and you know kind of keeping the wife at base where you’d have to stress out about it at what point time did you have to have that tough discussion with her to let her know and you know how did that conversation go that’s it that’s a good question that was really when we got those letters in the mail about the the minimum payment policy change and I realized that that we couldn’t make the payments right up until that point you know I like to think of myself as a pretty creative guy and sometimes that you know in this case that didn’t really work out to my benefit but I would spend time at night in front of the computer desk you know looking at different ways to ballot or transfer balances around or applying for new credit cards or you know doing whatever I could to kind of keep our financial house of cards from from collapsing and up until that point I was able to do it but there just wasn’t any other way that there wasn’t any solution I didn’t have a solution so you know we had to sit down with those five letters five or six letters and had the discussion of look this is this is what’s happening this is the state that we’re in and I don’t know what we’re gonna do about it and she was understandably very upset you know marriage is all about trust and and and I really didn’t give her any reason to trust me at that point but we had a very very honest and very frank discussion about how we got to where we were what I had been doing what I’ve been hiding from her and you know at that point I didn’t know I didn’t know how we were gonna fix that problem I didn’t even know she’s gonna give me an opportunity to fix this solution I thought she might pack her bags and walk out the door for all I know but but luckily for me she stayed with me and we’re still together today with her two beautiful children and and from that point you know when when when that discussion was over then then as a team you know we we sat down and started started looking for a solution that’s great man because I mean I wanted to highlight that because you know finances I mean this this is make or break a couple and you know this could a very pivotal point in your marriage and you know the fact that you guys were able to talk it out and devise a plan plan of attack I mean that’s you know that is what marriage is all about you know come together so you know awesome that you guys were able to work through that and just you know and how you now you here for four years later you know eighty four thousand dollars a debt paid off I mean that’s awesome and that’s so that’s a team yeah but thanks Jeff it’s it’s been a it’s been quite a journey and you know getting into the debt relief program is it’s really only really only half of it you know a lot of people think that oh I signed up for a debt relief program and I just make my payment every month and and they’re not good and you know paying off our mountain of debt is certainly a great thing but if we didn’t address the real base issue of how we got there to begin with then we would just end up in the same situation again so we’ve been working really hard over the last four years to increase that communication level have regular budget discussions we’ve gone through countless different ways of trying to handle our finances and budgeting techniques and and you know to tell you the truth probably within the last eight months we’ve really found the one that works for us and you know it’s a continuing process you know that everybody knows that that that handles our finances correctly that it’s a constantly evolving sort of thing as your life changes your the way you handle your finances has to change so you know we talk about it regularly you know a couple of times a week have major budget discussions every morning we go over our checking account together and that keeps us on the same page and that’s something we’ve never had before and you know if I would have known how good that feels and how stress how much less stressed it is to share that with her and to work as a team than to try to shoulder that by myself man I could have saved myself a lot of a lot of hurt all right so live like said I mean that’s you open wide the communications I think that’s huge I mean most couples they don’t do that enough you know you might be my wife like we try to talk but you know we’ve got three young kids and we’re you know just being stretched every direction so trying to find that time to talk about these issues you know sometimes it’s hard like we try to talk over a dinner but you got three kids creepy whatever else so the fact I mean but you do have to make an effort you know and that’s that’s the point and you guys are doing that so okay so now you’ve you know you’ve addressed the fact you start doing your research you want to care one just looked at their community so you began the that could solve a consolidation process so kind of walk us through for someone that’s never been to that process what does that look like what is that how does that feel oh sure so I want to tell you about the the first phone call that we had with a with a rep from the company and a lot of times when you’re dealing with with finances and financial products it’s kind of like talking to a used-car salesman right it’s that high-pressure sales thing to try to try to get you to buy something to get you into the program and we really didn’t feel that at all the gentleman that we talked to we were on the phone with him I think we called it like eight o’clock at night and we were on the phone with him for like 90 minutes I don’t even know if he is supposed to be on the phone with us anymore but you know he he wanted to make sure that we completely understood what we were what would be getting herself into how the process worked what would be going through what would what to expect what not to expect what our responsibilities would be and then at the end of the phone call right we went through our income we went through our bills and he came up with the the proposed amount you know how much would our monthly bill be you know ballpark figure and it’s a pretty big number and I said Wow and he kind of was skeptical about what I meant by that and he said is that is that it can you do that is swinging a ball and I said if you tell me that I can pay that much each month for the next five years and this debt will be gone you make me the happiest person on the planet and he said no GCD scared me there for a second I thought you’re gonna tell me that you know take a hike but but at that point he said you know I don’t want you to sign up today I want you to think about it and I’m gonna call you back and I’m gonna call you back in two or three days and we set up a day and a time for him to call us back and in the meantime we did more searching Ronnie and I sat down from the computer and and read more community forums read more reviews did more searching made sure that this was the company that we wanted to go with and I remember he was supposed to call us back at I think it was six or seven o’clock in the evening and that time came and went and and that phone never rang and we said well maybe that’s a sign maybe maybe this isn’t the right company for us and then and just then the phone rang and it was his personal cell phone the phone lines have gone down at the company and but he had promised he’s going to call us so he called us on his personal cell phone and that we talked for another 90 minutes you know more questions going over what was going to happen and at the end of that phone call we we signed up and it was you know is a great relief at that point we knew we had a lot of work yet to do but we knew we were on the right path yeah so the question I always have in this situation so you know you consolidate all your debt how does that affect you know other be able to purchase other things like you know these two have a credit card you know if you want to buy a car it could you it hasn’t affected like your other day-to-day financial operations sure that those are great questions Jeff so the the statement when you join a debt management company is that you don’t want to get any other unsecured lines of credit I’ve read that people have especially towards the end of their program we have we have some accounts that you know like store credit cards that are not on on the on the program and we don’t want to use them we’ve slipped up a couple of times and then we just cut it you know we’ve cut these things up and so that we don’t have that temptation close those accounts well but there’s always the risk that if you open another unsecured line of credit because I’ve got letters I saved all of them from all 13 creditors that have got on the program some of them explicitly say that they’re gonna check your credit report and if they see any new lines of credit that open up that they you’re in you might get booted off the program so you really don’t want to take that risk especially especially getting so close to the end of the tunnel right right as far as buying a car anything that secured car getting student loans for college and in buying a house all those things that you’re able to do because they’re secured lines of credit secured secured loans it may be more difficult because when they pull your credit file it may say you’ve got accounts that are that are being handled by a credit counseling but you can get a letter from your debt management company that says you know that you’ve been on the program since this date and this is their payment and they’ve been making consistent payments for this many months and that that’ll you know be a good thing to take to your lender with you so when is the official debt payoff date I’m free got on your calendar right oh absolutely it is March 28th of 20 2014 Wow yeah that’s coming coming real close so we we made that our payment just a couple of days ago last week and it even said I remember sending out a tweet about it last week I realized that we only had 12 payments left you know that it was one year you know it wasn’t five years it wasn’t where we weren’t halfway there we have one year left and you know I I honestly I kind of teared up a little bit because it’s a it’s a it’s gonna be it’s gonna be a very awesome day you kind of already mentioned this previously but like went through this journey you know would have been some of the big changes like just in yourself and with your family that you that you’ve noticed yeah and that’s that’s it’s been a process that tell you we knew that when we joined the debt management company and enrolled in the program that we’re gonna have to make major life changes you know we’ve been living above our means for you know had at that time for the first 13 years of our marriage and we knew that we were gonna have to cut things what we didn’t know is we didn’t know just how far and how deep our gonna have to cut we really weren’t honest with ourselves even for the first probably a year or a year and a half we you know we did all the things that you normally do you you stopped going out to eat you stop leaving town you stopped going out to eat all the time you stopped you cut your cable bill you look for all you evaluate every one of your monthly expenses trying to figure out where you can cut but the fact that we still had a 500 gallon hot tub in our backyard you know really told you that we didn’t quite get it yet but you know that so it wasn’t so much of a switch right from off to on as it was kind of a slide right you know from yet we’re gonna cut well yeah we got to cut a little bit more you know what this is nuts we really got to cut a lot so you know drain the hot tub sold that you know really really made more significant cuts you know talk to the kids you know we want you guys to be in activities but we’re not going to be able to do as many as we did before you know and no really the thing that I like to say I read in a blog post once not that long ago you want to be selfish with your money you want to really spend the money on the things that that you value in the things that make sense and having you know a 5 gallon 500 gallon tub in the backyard that you sit in once a month isn’t being very selfish with your money but spending some money to go and get a movie and ice cream and sit with your kids and talk to them what they did for the day that provides real value for your life yeah yeah that’s cool so how old are your kids now 10 and 14 10 14 so they’re definitely in an age where they they could feel it more than like a five or six year old oh yeah whatever yeah and and and they’re actually very aware of what we’re going through they they know what care 1 is and and you know they they know that I’m a customer blogger for them they know that I blogged for a couple other websites I actually had my daughter write a blog post for enemy a dad a couple of months ago and that very interesting to see her perspective about our situation yeah that’s awesome I go check that post I guess I missed that that’s cool man so so anything else I mean I think we covered everything that I had to tend to cover this is exactly all I wanted to hear but you know just any last last bits of encouragement for those that are in debt and just want to get out yeah you know the biggest thing that I want to tell people and the message that I try that I’m trying to get out there and the reason why I’m even blogging is to really try to get the word out there that there’s always hope right I remember what that felt like when I saw those five or six letters and and that I didn’t have any hope and that you know I didn’t know what I was going to do and people have options people that are in debt have options and I didn’t know what debt management was I didn’t know there were you know other options out there for me besides just a lot of debt consolidation loan and bankruptcy there’s other options out there they’re not for everybody I mean you have to assess your own personal situation and figure out what the right the right solution is for you but there are solutions out there and people just have to go and find them man so anybody that wants to connect with you and just more than your writing where where should they go sure so on Twitter I’m debt Chronicles so you can connect with me there otherwise I am also a customer blogger for Carolyn debt relief services so that’s wwk one credit comm and I’m also a the main blogger at enemy of debt so enemy of debt comm perfect and I’ll have links of those so everybody check that out and I’m actually going to include that link to your doggers post that sounds really cool it’s awesome man well Travis I appreciate a man I mean I know the the blogging community appreciates you and just your willingness to open up and share I know talking about dead you know especially you know this is it’s hard for a lot of people but you know you’ve embraced it and use it a way to educate and inform others and you know I know a lot people who owe that a lot to you for that so we appreciate it buddy thank you Jeff thanks for the thanks for the opportunity to talk with you I’m from man we’ll talk soon sure bye Jeff you