'I had to work really hard': Saskatoon single mom beats credit card debt

Shannon Richards could see it coming: credit cards were maxed out, accounts were in overdraft. She tells Saskatoon Morning how she pulled herself out of debt.

Only uses cash for purchases now

Shannon Richards is enjoying life without credit card debt. (CBC)

Shannon Richards could see it coming: credit cards were maxed out, accounts were in overdraft.

I had to work really hard.- Shannon Richards

"I've always been an optimist and just kind of figured it was going to work out," said Richards.

The rose coloured glasses, however, fell off as the mortgage came due, and there was no cash.

Richards, a 36-year-old single mother of two, told her story to CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning, as part of the program's on-going series Riding the Economic Wave.

Richards told program host Leisha Grebinski that she had to rely on her parents to bail her out in the short term. It was a catalyst, Richards said, to making the necessary life style changes needed to get out of debt and move forward to achieving the goal of buying a new house.

Richards consolidated her debt by refinancing her mortgage. She uses her bicycle instead of her car wherever possible, and she reduced the limit of her credit card and hid it away. Now, the credit card only comes out under strict conditions.  

"If I don't have the cash in my bank account I don't spend it."

Richards also relies on self-discipline when it comes to budgeting money. Though, she did admit  that sometimes the rules are broken.

"I love food, so eating out is definitely the one I go over on, but it's about finding those priorities and I found eating out and travel is where I like to spend our money."

That said, Richards will soon celebrate one year of being credit card debt free.

"I had to work really hard at it and make some tough decisions, but it was really just waking up to the reality of what my financial picture was and making the decision to make that change."


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