How I Turned My Financial Life Around in a Year

By Gerri Detweiler

NEW YORK (Credit.com) —When Linda Mannerberg attended the Women's Money Conference in Las Vegas Nevada in 2012, she was struggling with debt and a gambling addiction she hid from those closest to her. She attended the conference again this year in April 2013, but this time she was in a completely different place. She received a standing ovation for turning her financial life around in just a year.

Like many of the other women at the conference who applauded her success, I was deeply touched by Linda's story and asked her if I could share it with our readers. She agreed, but said she didn't think it was a big deal. I told her I disagreed. Here is her story:

When I came to the conference last year, I was in a lot of debt. I had credit card debt, a car loan and payday loans. I would get paid and pay the interest on the payday loans, but I wouldn't have enough to pay off the loans.

I also had a gambling addiction -- I would get up in the middle of the night to go gambling.

My boyfriend and I have lived in Las Vegas about nine years now. When we first moved here, a new casino held a slot tournament. It didn't cost anything to join, so a friend and I decided to go. I ended up in the finals and won $5,000. That's when my gambling problem started. I thought that if I won that, then I can win again.

Of course I never did.

In fact, this year when we went to the casinos to get our gambling loss statements, I was shocked. It showed that I lost $35,000 with all the casinos. I used to play penny slot machines so I kept thinking, "I am only playing 40 cents at a time." But it adds up.