Break out of the debt trap

Brandon Smith has been working as a paramedic in Port Elizabeth for the past 10 years. His passion and drive for the work that he does is something that he would never consider changing, despite the fact that his income each month doesn’t meet his debt repayment needs.

The amount of debt he owes each month is just more than twice the amount of what he cant afford. The reason for this amount of debt? Loans. Because he wasn’t using a budget to accurately record his income and all the expenses incurred, there was no way to keep track of everything so he never knew how bad things really were.

Whenever he ran out of money, he’d borrow from his parents and siblings to bridge the gap and pay them back on his pay day. But this meant he was forever caught in a cycle where he was paying money back to people. After a while he got tired of borrowing from them, and decided to stop. But it didn’t take long before he ran out of money again, and this time it was right before a weekend away with friends. Because he couldn’t actually afford this trip that he committed to at the time, he decided to take out a bank loan to cover everything. Lets not forget about the weekend after where he was to attend an out of town wedding so he took out a micro-loan to cover those travel costs as well. But he also needed a gift right? So he walked into a local décor and design store, opened an account and proceeded to buy some of the most high range items in the store.  Before he realised it, he was knee-deep in debt.

But things took a turn for the worse when it started becoming easier for him to just take out a loan here, and a credit card there, perpetuating the cycle of debt. “I never thought I would ever end up in a situation where I would not be in control of my money. I tried every solution possible, but I could not handle my monthly payments and started going into arrears with some of my accounts, I even started getting lawyer’s letters which was frightening,” he says.

Thankfully DebtBusters got involved in Brandon’s situation at just the right time, helping him to get a new monthly debt repayment that aligned with the money he had available. “I asked DebtBusters to help me and help me they did. In fact, they saved me and my relationship,” he adds.

It may have seemed really daunting for Brandon at the beginning, but help was never further than just a phone call away. Thanks to Debt Busters, a service provided by Truth About Money, a 1Life initiative, he is now able to live without looking over his shoulder.

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