If you’re trapped in a high interest debt cycle, talk with a credit union.

I wanted to post my story because it may help someone who feels shackled by high interest debt.

As the result of a series of poor choices, I ended up with high interest debt (from more than one lender) that left me living barely paycheck-to-paycheck. The total amount of debt wasn’t even that large, but the interest rate meant that I was paying about $900/month on a 60K annual salary. It wasn’t sustainable at all.

I wanted to consolidate my loans into one with a lower interest rate, but was having trouble getting a loan because my credit isn’t stellar either (which is how I ended up with those high interest rates to begin with). I was raised in a household where money was not really discussed, and where it was a source of stress more often than not. I thought that was just how things were until I began educating myself on budgeting and everything else, via this community and others. I couldn’t remember a time when I truly felt relaxed because this was constantly hanging over my head.

Realizing I could be proactive and take charge of my financial future was the first step. I then decided to get in touch with a credit union to see if I could work with them to get a loan for a lower interest rate. I reached out to one credit union and was declined, but the second credit union I got in touch with worked with me and provided me with a loan consolidating all of my debt that will lower my monthly payment to a manageable $130/month. I will be paying more than this each month to pay it off as quickly as possible.

I want others to know if you feel trapped there can be options out there for you. I realize I’m luckier than some; I have a full time job and make decent money. Still, when you feel like you’ve exhausted your options, it can feel hopeless.

If you are in this situation, I highly recommend seeing if a local credit union will work with you. Even if they are unable to directly help, in my experience they will try to guide you in the right direction. The first credit union I called told me about a different type of loan that I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t called them. Everyone I spoke with at the credit unions was super friendly, too, which made an otherwise stressful situation so much better. I know I’m not completely out of debt yet, but I’m in a much better place and have a solid budget and plan in place to make great choices in the future.

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