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Alan and Delwyn’s story

May 12, 2024

“We’re released from gloom… able to be the people we want to be.”Delwyn

Delwyn: The cloud is never far away from you. Even in the happy moments, in the back of your head you’re thinking, “Yes, but I’ve got to pay that. Tomorrow, I still owe this.”

You owe someone something, and you’re unable to give it – that’s painful. The debt was about $30,000, which may as well have been a million dollars.

Alan: We got into debt when I went home to Ireland to be with my ill mother. I was also made redundant from a good job and ended up taking a minimum wage job at a supermarket driving a forklift.”

And ‘buy now, pay later’ – it’s like magic money, but it’s fake. You have what you want now, but you pay for it in spades later on. Our biggest debtor wanted thousands of dollars, there and then. They were very, very persistent. It was truly awful. With constant phone calls and emails it becomes extremely noisy, and it was causing a lot of friction between Alan and I.

“We were paying people who were screaming the loudest. We struggled to talk about finances without it turning into an argument. We put off the conversation. There was always something hanging over us. It was almost like we were on two different journeys.”

There were days that we wouldn’t even talk to each other.

We’re renting a 1920s home, and it can get quite cold. We’d get the kids to collect pinecones on the way home from school for the fireplace. We’d always be looking for free wood on the side of the road.

“One day I was at the supermarket checkout with just the right amount of stuff. It was $16.70 to cover us for two or three days. But our account was frozen, and we couldn’t use the money. It came into my head that I might not be able to provide as a dad – a real sense of dread and worry. A panic moment.”

I made the phone call to CAP’s free number. I was super nervous, particularly admitting I’d made some stupid decisions. A very humbling moment. But they weren’t judgmental at all, and ended by asking if he could pray for me and my family, which was lovely.

Even just having the conversation was weight lifting. From those very first meetings, you’re like, ‘Actually, there is a way out.’

“I was pretty skeptical going in, because you don’t get anything for free. There’s a catch somewhere. But once we sat down with Debt Coach Emily, we went, “This is something we can do.” The first week that we paid into that CAP account we were better off.

Savings made things like uniforms and laptops for school very manageable. CAP had the conversations with everyone that we needed to pay, we just needed to stick to it.”

We’d go, “How is it possible?” But the budget was masterful – the work of master accountants. It really was everything down to the cent. Our best efforts could never
come close to the way that CAP had done the budget.

And with the budget arriving, so did silence.

We paid off not just the debts, but things that would’ve crippled us at other times, because of the savings we had accumulated – a WOF with tyres, and we replaced our radiator.

The noise had stopped, and that was everything.

Quite miraculously, one debtor settled with several thousand that they forgave.

“And we had enough in the savings to cover two remaining payments. It was brilliant! We were 100% debt free!”

“It’s a phenomenal feeling – relief, so much relief. After being told, ‘No need to pay anything else,’ CAP returned $800 of our savings.

Now, we’re hopeful for the future. We can actually plan for the future. Not having to worry when we do the groceries.

We’ve involved the kids the whole way through – communicated that we wouldn’t borrow now. We’ve had discussions about credit cards and EFTPOS cards, and the difference. They understand the value of money. They’re all saving.

We can talk to each other about money these days, and it’s not a point of stress. We’re able to joke and laugh.

“Able to be the people we wanna be – as opposed to the people we’re forced to be when we’re trying to survive.

CAP supporters are a lifeline. They’ve taken a lot of weight. Turned our lives around completely.”

“It’s so much more than money. It’s peace of mind, freedom to make decisions. It’s everything, because money cuts across the whole lot. Now, we aren’t having money arguments. The kids notice the difference.

“For anyone thinking of calling CAP for help, trust the process. Have those frank discussions that are really hard to have.”

CAP takes a topic that’s seen as taboo, or shameful… and it makes you realise, ‘I’m not the only one that’s struggling.’

“Start the CAP journey and you’ll get there. It’s a genuine empathising, and love that you can see straight away. The prayer comes from a place of love and compassion.”

There was a deepening in my faith. It made me feel like God’s actually interested in all the details. Not just the big things, but actually all of it, the whole lot.

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