ReadyForZero Success Profile: Colin

Total Debt Paid Off: $10,000
Months using ReadyForZero: 7
Accounts paid off: 3 of 3

When you get your bill it feels like a drop in the bucket when you have so much debt, and if you pay off 100 dollars here and 100 dollars there, it doesn’t make a big dent. But to have that holistic view that’s tracking everything – that’s what really appealed to me about the product.

Everything we do here at ReadyForZero is intended to help you – our users. We want to make the best tools possible so that you can escape from the clutches of debt and pursue whatever path you want, without worrying about financial burdens.

That’s why it’s so gratifying to hear the stories of people who are having success paying down their credit card balances by using our site. A few weeks ago, we got this e-mail from ReadyForZero user Colin:

I love ReadyForZero. Great execution guys, and wonderful design.

Maybe you guys consider it an edge case when someone pays off all their debt, but it would be nice to have some kind of “Congratulations” or change on the dashboard other than just a big yellow bar.

Thanks for a great product!

We replied to Colin and said that we definitely don’t consider it an edge case (that is, an unusual case) when someone pays off all their debt – after all, that’s the goal! And we told him we agreed about the need for a more exciting congratulatory message. It’s something we’re working on, so stay tuned! But more importantly, we wanted to talk to Colin to find out more about how he paid off his debt and ask how the site worked for him.

Colin, as we found out, is the head of product for a New York City startup company called ChallengePost.com. “We help governments, corporations, and individuals run competitions,” he told us. “One example is every year New York City runs a competition called NYC Big Apps where the city has a bunch of data that they publish and they put up some money to incentivize people to build iPhone apps, web apps and stuff with city data to benefit the citizens of New York – and we help them run that contest every year.”

Take a look at those two links in the above paragraph and you’ll have no doubt that Colin is very good at what he does. But as everyone knows, living in NYC can be expensive, and we wanted to hear about his experience with debt.

As it turns out, his story is one of the most impressive we’ve heard yet.

He said, “about a year ago at this time, I was about 10,000 dollars in the red – and now I’m not.”

How he achieved that remarkable accomplishment is an example of some careful planning and some impressive discipline. Before he came across ReadyForZero, Colin was at a point in his debt journey that many people these days can identify with – he wanted to start paying off his balances, but the amount of debt he had accumulated made it seem very difficult.

“I was at that point where I knew I wanted to get rid of all that debt that kind of crept up on me,” he said, “and one of the [important] things was being aware of it, being able to see the totals for all of your credit cards and being able to see which ones you should pay first to have the biggest impact.”

That preference for seeing all your accounts in one place, with a user-friendly interface, is very common, and it’s one of the reasons ReadyForZero was created.

When Colin came across ReadyForZero, he immediately liked how it organized his different credit card accounts and gave him a plan for paying them off. “When you get your bill it feels like a drop in the bucket when you have so much debt, and if you pay off 100 dollars here and 100 dollars there, it doesn’t make a big dent,” he said. “But to have that holistic view that’s tracking everything – that’s what really appealed to me about the product.”

It can be one thing to have a plan but another thing altogether to stick to it. Having the motivation to pay off the debt is the key and, Colin said, “that’s where I was struggling in doing it on my own.” He said the site helped him visualize his progress, which in turn encouraged him to keep going. “One of the things I did was I’d make a payment and then wait for you guys to e-mail me to say that it was received – and I was happy when I would see that it had registered in ReadyForZero and the progress bar had increased a little bit.”

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Sure enough, he began seeing his balances diminish. And as he went along, he used other smart tactics: he shared his ReadyForZero account snapshot with his girlfriend so that she could encourage him to keep it up, and he paid close attention to what he was purchasing. “One of the things I did was try to figure out how much to budget for my weekly spending. And I tried to do that with cash, so basically my paycheck would come in, I would try to set aside something for rent and then I would pay off the rest of my credit card and make sure to leave like $400 in cash. And then I would try to keep my spending to $200 per week.”

Lo and behold, it worked. And now that he’s conquered his debt, he’s planning to start saving up money for a “rainy day fund,” and even to one day have enough savings to make his job a labor of love rather than a financial imperative. He told us, “I guess ultimately my goal is to not have to work – but work because I want to.”

That’s a goal we can endorse wholeheartedly. Congrats, Colin, and thanks for telling your story to help inspire others so that they can reach their own debt-free future!

This is the second of what we hope will be many ReadyForZero Success Profiles. If you haven’t seen our first ReadyForZero Success Profile with James LeMosey yet, check it out!

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