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5 years after chapter 7

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  • 5 years after chapter 7

    I can't believe it's been 5 years since the discharge.

    To recap my story, I juggled debt for years until the credit card companies had enough of it and turn off the easy credit. I struggled to make minimum payments on 80K+ in credit card debt, even with a solid income. I remember making $500 credit card payments on individual cards, with almost all of it going to interest. I shudder to think of how I felt back then. I was so scared about how I could provide for my family, and what kind of future we would have.

    After what seemed like an eternity, I got a chapter 7 discharge. Immediately, I felt so much better, and I vowed to never charge something on a credit card that I didn't have the money for right then. No exceptions, and I've kept that up. In 5 years, I paid interest only once, and that was because of a clerical error on my end. I thought I paid a card off, like I do every month, but I left a few dollars on it, and I had to pay like 50 cents in interest.

    After the discharge, I buckled down to improve myself. I worked a lot, grew an emergency account, and threw money at my car note and house note. I managed to pay both off. I also finally finished school and started a new job, which meant a significant increase in income. The only debt I have now is student loans, which I anticipate paying off in the next 2 years.

    So in 6 years, I've gone from drowning in 80K of credit card debt to owning my house and car outright, having a new degree, having a higher paying job, and having my only debt be student loans. 6-years-ago me wouldn't think the position I'm in today is even possible.

    I attribute much of my improvement to understanding that bankruptcy was only part of the solution. I simply could not treat it as a reset and continue my ways. I had to completely change my relationship with money, and I did. A coworker who makes about a quarter of my salary drives a nicer vehicle than me. And I happily park my paid off, boringly reliable vehicle next to hers every day.

    Does anyone remember my "Box O' Shame"? It's a cardboard box where I kept the credit card statements showing 30K balances with huge minimum payments, and demands for payment. I used it for motivation, whenever I was tempted to buy things I didn't have the cash for. Well, I still have it, and I still occasionally rifle through it. It never fails to get my heart racing, and helps me to refocus on improving myself because I never want to go back.

    I am very grateful for the invaluable help this forum gave me. Thank you!


    Chapter 7, above median, no asset. Discharged with no UST involvement.

  • #2
    Congrats TXskyblue !!! That's a wonderful story of how you learned from your mistakes and bankruptcy gave you the option to put it behind you and not only move onward, but upward.

    My husband and I are in Chapter 13 paying back 100%, only about 8 months into it, but after it's paid off I hope that we will be moving on the same path. I think we are probably older/different stage of life than you, but we will make big changes and I also want to stay away from debt. I like the idea of not paying any credit card interest as a goal. And living during this Chapter 13 helps teach you how to live on a cash budget with 1 car being our only debt when we finish our 60 payments.

    I like your comment on the Box O Shame! I think I have gotten rid of most of that because it was too painful to even look at. We had our box with our credit being sold to collectors and even a few lawsuits starting. I think that the Bankruptcy papers give me the same feeling--that is the paperwork we used when we went to the attorney when it was all gathered and itemized.

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    • #3
      Congrats TXskyblue - you are doing great!!!! Stories like yours are a true motivation to everyone here!!! Way to go and thanks for sharing!
      Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
      Discharged 8/2/16

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