Total Debt Paid Off: $2,945
Months using ReadyForZero: 7
Accounts paid off: 1 of 4
I was doing it on my own for awhile and I wasn’t really 100% sure if I was paying enough over the minimum, so when I signed up for ReadyForZero I was happy that it tells you and makes it clear. My debt is not just a number that way.
Here in the ReadyForZero office, nothing makes us happier than hearing from our users — especially when they are sharing good news with us. So you can imagine our joy upon receiving this Tweet from ReadyForZero user James LeMosy:
In fact, James inspired us to start what we hope will be a regular series of posts on our blog profiling various ReadyForZero users who are having success using our site to stay motivated and pay off their debt.
We talked to James, and he told us his debt problems began not with a spending problem but rather with a situation where he was doing freelance work for friends and was not getting paid as expected. “There were some hiccups and checks were bouncing and things like that, so I started having to rely heavily on paying things off with credit cards,” he said.
He eventually moved on to other freelance projects, but had to continue using the cards for expenses. He told us, “That’s how — by necessity — I started having to rack up all of this debt just to pay the bills, and that was over a span of about 2-3 years.”
Fortunately, soon after that experience James was able to get a great full-time job doing web design. As it turns out, he is a very talented guy. In addition to doing web design for a living, he is also quite skilled at wielding a cartoonist’s pen. We took a look at his website, PolishedScrawl.com (which is linked from his Twitter account), and were very impressed with Drendel, a cartoon character he created in 1989 that he has been refining ever since. (see photo)
After getting the web design job, James was ready to start paying off his credit card debt. But at first, he didn’t have a concrete plan. He knew he needed to pay more than the monthly minimum payment, but beyond that he wasn’t sure what the best strategy would be. He told us, “It was basically just kind of month by month, deciding ‘Oh, well how much do I want to pay off this month?’.”
Then he heard about ReadyForZero via this post at WebCreme.com.
We asked why he trusted our site at first, and he said “Since I am a web designer and I live in that world everyday I’m probably more trusting than maybe a normal person might be. I have come to expect that sites like yours will be accountable. And I did see on there that you talk about having the bank-level security so I think that’s a good assurance that things are legit.”
He decided to use our site to make a purposeful plan to pay off his credit cards (all four of them!) and began to track his progress on a regular basis. It helped to have one place where he could see the status of each of his cards simultaneously and easily monitor his progress toward reaching his long-term goals.
“I had never really been keeping track of it before,” he said. “I had heard that the best way to do it is to pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. But the thing I was struggling with was how much more should I pay each month? I was doing it on my own for awhile and I wasn’t really 100% sure if I was paying enough over the minimum, and so when I signed up for ReadyForZero I was happy that it tells you and makes it clear.”
When we followed-up to ask whether he thought the visual design of the site helped him stay motivated, he said he thought it did. “I think the visualization helped a lot because it’s like, it’s not just a number that way” he said. “You know you’ve got only this chunk left to fill up on the [progress bar] and then you know that one’s paid off. It almost makes it a little bit like a game — like how fast can I get that bar filled up. So that keeps — at least for me — keeps me focused on meeting that goal.”
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It’s definitely working, because he’s already paid off the first card. We wondered how it felt at the moment he realized it was paid off. He said, “Well, I was keeping track with the little bar chart on the site and I was following the plan and it said I was coming up onto two months left and the next payment would be something like $150 and the remainder of the balance was only 160-something so I said ‘you know what, I’m gonna put the extra 13 dollars onto this next payment and call it good.’ It was fun to watch that little bar chart fill up and turn orange!”
The first person he shared the good news with was his fiance, Sara. He said, “I showed her the site and everything. And I’ve been sending her the e-mails that get sent out to your friends or family so that she can keep track with me.”
Our last question to James was whether he has a long-term goal that is helping to motivate him to get out of debt. And he had a great answer: “Just get that debt paid off so that the money is there to potentially buy a new house, and if kids come along that’s obviously going be a big expense — all that stuff. So that’s my goal!”
We think that’s a perfect goal, and we feel confident that, based on his tenacity so far, James will achieve it in no time.
Congratulations, James, and don’t forget to Tweet us when you pay off your second credit card!