By Michael Koretzky
Francine Bostick keeps her monthly bills in a basket on her desk at home. Also in that basket is a clear plastic sandwich bag containing 13 cut-up credit cards
– a reminder (and a warning) of the decades she spent racking up $120,000 in credit card debt.
She cut up those cards only five years ago. Today, she’s debt-free with a modest savings account.
“I have to look at that bag all the time,” says Francine, a custodial manager for a Kansas university. “I see it every time I pay my bills.”
That sandwich bag was just one of the tactics – big and small – that Francine used to pay off her six-figure debt. The biggest was swallowing her pride, admitting she had a problem, and seeking credit counseling. For her accomplishment, she and her husband were honored this month as “Clients of the Year” by the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC
Two weeks ago, Francine flew on an airplane for the first time in her life and accepted the award at an annual convention of credit counselors in Charlotte, N.C. Her husband, suffering from the early stages of dementia, didn’t make the trip.
Francine was afraid to fly, but that was nothing compared to the fear of seeking credit counseling.
“It took me a year before I could walk in there,” Francine says of the Topeka-based credit counseling agency she worked with. She was 57 at the time, “and it was very hard. I was embarrassed that at my age, I didn’t know better than to get in debt.”
But with a little help, she figured out a way to get out. Her story is both motivational and educational for anyone crushed under credit card debt.
Here’s what she told Money Talks News last week…
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: Ask Stacy: Where Can I Go for Help with Debt? Dealing with Debt: Credit Counseling Will Credit Counseling Hurt My Credit Score? The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.