Danielle had lost hope for obtaining a reliable car. After trying to apply for a loan with her mom as a co-signer and being denied by more than 10 banks due to credit & income issues, she felt there was no way for her to have a safe car for her and her son. She called many places to see if they would be able to help with the hefty car repair bills. Thankfully, someone was able to help her get her car repaired, but she knew that the car would probably only make it through one more year. Then someone told Danielle about More Than Wheels. As a single mom, Danielle figured that she would call and give it a shot; she seemed to have no other options.
Once she started the program in October 2011, Danielle quickly started attending the financial fitness classes. She also started working towards paying off her debt. She was able to take advantage of the IDA program. This was a unique opportunity as the program provides 3 to 1 matching funds for a car down payment.
Over the next few months, Danielle continued to work toward her goal of getting a new car. With the combination of the federal grant program (IDA), her old car as a trade in, and some other saved money, Danielle had over $15,000 to use as a down payment for her Brand New 2012 Toyota Camry SE. The loan approval could not have come at a better time. The week before Danielle purchased her new car, her old one decided to stall on her and the air conditioner was no longer working along with many other issues.
“With the help of the wonderful people at More Than Wheels and my hard work and determination, I purchased my brand new 2012 Toyota Camry. It is such a great feeling to know that I have a reliable car to get me and my son to where we need to go and know that it will not break down on me. I still look out at my car & think to myself; Yeah I did it!”
For a few years now Felicia Miles’ experience with vehicles consisted of buying cars for about $1500 at a time. She was always stressed because there was a sense of just barely making it to wherever she was driving, not to mention the worrying about always having to find money to fix unexpected repair costs. She was constantly concerned about what would breakdown next and how it would affect her comitments and responsibilities. On top of all of this, there were issues going on with her credit report that she had no idea where even on there.
Felicia admitted, “My credit wasn’t terrible but I just wasn’t checking it so that was an issue. I really wish I had stayed on top of it more.”
One day Felicia’s sister read an article about More Than Wheels in the Bay State Banner Newspaper. She cut it out and gave it to Felicia in hopes that it might help a little with her vehicle situation. What Felicia didn’t realize when she got in touch with us, was that she was going to get much more than just a little help.
“I loved the entire process. I enjoyed and appreciated the Financial Fitness course and am still using the things that I’ve learned! At the time it seemed like a pain to stick through it and pay attention, but when I first came to More Than Wheels, I didn’t think I would ever be able to afford a good car and they showed me how.”
Through our program she learned how to contact the credit bureaus and get the false negative activity off of her credit reports. She also started to learn how to make and follow a budget that works with her lifestyle.
"Before hearing about More Than Wheels I was always working, but never knew where my money was going. Now I am aware of where I spend my money, how much I spend, and I even started saving! Awareness was a huge factor in my success" Felicia remarked.
With all of the newfound knowledge and tools she learned about, Felicia was then able to access a lower interest rate through our lending partners than she would have been able to secure on her own and bought a 2010 Nissan Sentra. She saved money on the purchase price of the car and the warranty thanks to the community-minded dealers we work with and ended up in a reliable, worry-free vehicle.
For Felicia, working with More Than Wheels was not just about getting a more reliable vehicle, but it included the relief of much of her stress. “For people who are thinking about contacting More Than Wheels, I’d say definitely do it. Pay attention and don’t get discouraged. In the end it’s worth it because you not only get a good car, but you get rid of the worry. It is like a weight being lifted off your shoulders.”
Sarah and Allan have been married for over six years now and have an 18 month old daughter. In 2006 they moved to Tennessee for Sarah’s new teaching job and Allan began working there at a Drug and Alcohol Council. After being in TN for less than a year Allan was diagnosed with stage IV liver disease. In addition, he had to undergo two knee surgeries, a shoulder surgery, and then 48 weeks of Interferon injections for his liver disease. He had countless biopsies, an MRI and many other medical procedures.
“I had to take pills that you couldn’t even touch with your hands because of how potent they were. My liver was so damaged that when they took a biopsy, it disintegrated before they could do any testing on it. We were told I only had a 25% chance I’d live, so we stopped caring about anything else. We would take from one account to pay another and wouldn’t pay attention to any bills unless they were past due.” – Allan
Thankfully after the Interferon injections Allan was cured of liver disease. Sarah and Allan moved back to NH and began staying with Sarah’s mother. They had their lives and future to look forward to together, but their finances and credit had taken a huge hit which resulted in a downward spiral from the medical issues they had faced. Sarah and Allan saw a poster for More Than Wheels and called because they needed a reliable car, their 1999 Pontiac Grand AM was on its last leg. They had no idea that they would be getting much more than just a car from More Than Wheels when they made that first call.
Sarah and Allan were able to utilize our NH Matching Savings program in which they saved $2,000 that was matched with another $2,000. They also learned about money and responsibility through the Financial Fitness course. This class helped them to think twice about buying coffee and helped them to eat healthier for less money. “It was like WeightWatchers, only a money diet instead. The biggest thing we realized was that poverty is a state of mind and sure, the recession stinks, but it also made people think more about what they really value.” - Sarah
They were able to get a 2012 Nissan Sentra through More Than Wheels for a low rate that they can afford. By putting what they learned into practice, they began to see dramatic changes in other areas of their lives as well. They had a newfound sense of safety and peace of mind. There was a greater sense of responsibility in all aspects of their lives. “There are days when I just want to skip work to stay with my baby, but I realize now that I can’t do that. It’s not what’s best for me or her.” – Sarah
Allan and Sarah’s friends have seen the difference More Than Wheels had made in their lives and they’re always recommending us to others. Allan has people calling him from all over the country who want to know more about More Than Wheels. “I don’t think anyone realizes how great it [More Than Wheels’ Credit Repair Program] is until you work with it.” – Sarah and Allan
Matt and Crystal are from Claremont, NH and when they came to More Than Wheels their credit issues were daunting and bankruptcy was a viable option. In the past Crystal had been drawn to codependent and abusive relationships. Her previous fiancé forced her to cosign a loan and walked out on her with the money two weeks later. She had enough and wanted to make a better life for her and her children so she sought counseling to get past this behavior.
The counseling was successful and she was able to meet Matthew, who she is now engaged to. Although Matt and Crystal had a great, healthy relationship, they both had a lot of debt hanging over their heads and no idea how to get out from under it or where to start. They had 15 accounts in collection with some debts being over 10 years old as well as student loans that they would need to begin payment on in the near future.
When Matt and Crystal first contacted More Than Wheels they were borrowing Crystal’s parents’ car which didn’t meet their needs and before that, they had a car that was always breaking down. They needed a reliable vehicle that they’d be able to depend on for their three children. With bad credit, they didn’t have any good options of getting a good vehicle for affordable financing until turning to More Than Wheels. They were determined not to go into bankruptcy and after hearing about More Than Wheels they enrolled in our Credit Repair Program.
Through this program Matt and Crystal learned how to set up payment plans with their creditors and began tackling their debt. They were able to settle 10 of their 15 accounts, cutting their debt in half.
“We started making small monthly payments and then during tax time paid off a lot of it. We are still making payments toward the rest of it, but not nearly half as much as it was before working with More Than Wheels.” – Crystal Waterman
Not only were they able to cut down their debt significantly, but they gained many skills through our financial fitness education class that they believe will last them throughout their future together. Through hard-work and dedication on Matt and Crystal’s part they were able to get a 2008 Toyota Sienna by working with More Than Wheels. Not only does this van meet their needs for transportation, but also has given them a sense of dependability which has greatly reduced the stress in their lives. Matt and Crystal believe that they received far more than a vehicle by working with More Than Wheels, but also piece of mind and knowledge that will impact their financial stability for the rest of their lives.
Since 2001, More Than Wheels has helped thousands of families finance more than $16 million in loans so they can buy a reliable car and plan for the future.