During the first two years of our marriage, Greg and I were able to accumulate $53,000 worth of debt. Wow! When you see the breakdown of how we accrued that much, it doesn’t seem like it could actually total that amount. Even though we are debt free, it is still hard to face that number. I have heard people tell me that they don’t know how in debt they are and they don’t want to know. They don’t want to face the music. The only problem is that if you want to get rid of the debt, you have to face the music. You need to know how much you have in debt and then make a plan to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
How Did You Accrue That Much In Two Years?
Well, unfortunately we did not start off our marriage being debt free. That was the first mistake we made. Greg had quite a bit of money accrued on a couple of credit cards and I had a small amount (to help my credit score:) on a card. I think our total amount on credit cards was a little over $18,000 (some of which we spent on the honeymoon and after we were married). I will say, though, that Greg forewarned me about his debt before our marriage but I was too head over heels to care.
When Greg and I got married I still had a year left of school. The four previous years I received pale grants because of my Dad’s income. Well, when I married Greg that all changed. He made more than the amount for the grant so I took out a $10,000 loan to finish school. I was mortified at the amount I had to take out until I talked to the finance office and the lady said “Oh, this is nothing. This is the smallest amount I’ve seen all year.” I’m not sure if that made me feel better or not. WOW!
Then after I was finished up at school it was time to get a teaching job. Of course, when you get a new job that pays (what seems like) a lot of money then you have to get new things. Right?! That’s how we looked at it. We deserved all of this stuff because we went without for so long.
That stuff included a $26,000 car. We already had one car that we were making small payments on per month and now we were going in way over our heads to get a brand new car. The car I had before this was one was the car I paid for IN CASH at 19. We sold it for $600 and then turned around and bought a $26K headache. Smart thinkin’ there on our part! You should’ve seen the car salesman’s face when we said we had no money to put down. Nothing. I’m not sure who was more ignorant on that deal…us for putting down no money or the company who allows people to do stupid stuff like that. The jury is still out on that one!
Well, then of course you have to get a brand new Sleep Number bed so that you can rest peacefully before going to work at your stressful job. I’m not sure how much that cost us because we just slapped it on a credit card. (I will say that Sleep Numbers are AMAZING…especially when you’re pregnant – but it would’ve been even more amazing if we actually had the money to pay for it.) And then, of course, we needed to buy a brand new bedroom suite to match our hold our amazing Sleep Number mattresses. I’m sure we paid well over $1,000 for the suite and it was through financing.
I’m sure this was not the end of our spending adventure, but I think you get my drift. We all make stupid mistakes. I can sit here and dwell on the fact that we really screwed up or I can look ahead to the future and see how to fix the problem. It was so easy to spend all of that money in two months, but it took us years to pay it all off. And we pretty much paid off everything on our own. The only thing that was not paid in full was my student loan. I was able to apply for a loan forgiveness program since I worked in a Title I school for 5 years. They forgave $5,000. That was truly a blessing!
Looking back I don’t blame anybody but Greg and I for our mistakes. God was walking alongside us the whole way probably shaking His head and thinking “Here they go again.” I made it a point to never blame God for our debt. He didn’t want to see us go down that path, but he gave us a choice. We made a lot of wrong choices and He was merciful to stick with us the whole way. Then He showed us how to get the wisdom that we needed to get out of this mess.
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