Payoff Member Jennifer K. shares her debt story, her two biggest dreams and what craft brewing and her relationship have in common.
At Payoff, we ask each of our new Members, “What’s your dream?” because we care about more than just helping you break free from debt — we want you to be able to move beyond it and be free to pursue your dreams.
Member Jennifer K. recently shared her dream story with us and gave us permission to share it with you, too. To us, each Member’s dream is cause for celebration, but we have a special connection with Jennifer — a mutual love of craft beer!
Once a week, at the end of the workday, the Payoff Team celebrates Craft Beer Thursday. Which is why all the brew enthusiasts here were so excited when Jennifer and her partner Eric sent us some of their craft brewing efforts!
Thanks, Jennifer and Eric. We look forward to sharing these at CBT and toasting in your honor!
Payoff: When and how did debt become a major problem for you?
Jennifer: In early 2012, I left a relationship that wasn’t good for me. I entered into my own apartment having to completely buy everything one would need to live alone. It had been over 8 years since I had lived alone, so those expenses added up quickly.
I also started attending school and needed everything one would need to be successful in college, as well. I was using credit cards to fill in gaps. I was using them for things for school, but also things you forget you need like trash cans and Tupperware. I was officially in over my head.
“I was using credit cards to fill in gaps.”
Before this, I was completely debt-free. After this, I felt like such a failure for doing this to myself again. Some of the stuff I bought was a necessity. Some was to make myself feel better. None of it was 100% justified, but the money was gone, either way.
What was your tipping point?
In early 2013, I met [my partner] Eric. From the first time we hung out, we just had a connection. We laughed, seemed to enjoy the same types of fun, and even had mutual friends. I fell for him hard, and by January 2014, we were living together.
I kept my debt a secret for a really long time. I was embarrassed. He knew there were some debts but had no idea what I had done to myself. When the conversation finally had to happen in mid-2015, it really caused a rift between us.
“I kept my debt a secret for a really long time.”
It was my lowest point, and he was upset with the lies I’d been telling him. See, I was lying only because I really thought I could get the debt down [by] myself. But it turns out I needed his help.
How did you start to take steps in the right direction?
After a few long talks, we came up with a game plan. [Eric] was going to help me, be my knight in shining armor, and told me to stop paying him for any kind of housing expenses so that I could get this under control.
For a while, I kept trying to get the debt paid. But before too long, I quickly realized that it was going to take a major overhaul. Paying as much as I could to a credit card company was not getting me anywhere.
How did you find Payoff?[O]ne day, almost magically, on Facebook, my timeline showed me the way. An advertisement for Payoff came up, and I immediately checked it out and applied. I was approved within a week, had the money to pay [my credit cards] off within a week of that, and officially said “bye, bye” to those nasty companies [that were] keeping me riddled with debt!!
Has your situation improved since you signed up with Payoff?
I would say the most significant improvement is twofold. For one, I am only paying one company now, instead of multiple credit card companies. The interest is much lower, so I actually see the principle decreasing drastically month by month. [And] I can submit extra payments without any penalty.
“We’ve exchanged stories, laughs, and I really feel like I have someone I can actually talk to at the company.”
The second major improvement is the amazing customer service I’ve experienced. I’ve been dealing with [Payoff Member Advocate] Eric S. from the beginning. He has been a fantastic liaison to this weird debt world I’ve created for myself. He has helped me and held my hand throughout the entire process.
We’ve exchanged stories, laughs, and I really feel like I have someone I can actually talk to at the company. I don’t feel like a “number” to them. Or a “dollar sign.” I feel like a person, with dreams and desires beyond paying credit card debt, and Eric S. really helped me feel that way. I once heard an amazing quote, “We are not born to pay bills and die.” I now feel like there will be more to my young life than that.
We already know you have a passion for craft brewing. How will becoming debt-free help you achieve it?[Eric’s and my] dream is to open a brewery. We’ve been dreaming about it for over a year now. We’ve been homebrewers for around 2 years and have won 5 awards from the 6 competitions we’ve [entered]. We’re working hard to make that dream a reality, but the first step would be for me to [become] debt-free. Our brewery will be called StolzeStyle Brewing.
“[Eric’s and my] dream is to open a brewery.”
I’d also like to marry the man of my dreams, Eric. He has been a wonderful partner and has been so supportive of me every step of the way.