Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I feel sick ....

I've been cleaning out files today. That was supposed to make me feel good. It didn't.

I came across old copies of our credit reports and sat down to see what our debt was back then. Aside from the mortgage, we had balances on three credit cards totaling just over $31,000. As we've been on this journey to rid ourselves of debt for about two years and still have $100,000 in credit card debt, I knew these credit reports were really old.

I was wrong. They're from October 2006.

That means we racked up most of our debt in a period of four years. I'm stunned. I've been sitting here trying to figure out how that happened. There was no job loss. We didn't go on any big spending sprees. And then it hit me. College. That was when DD started college. A private college. An expensive one. Her brother followed a couple years later - after getting his driver's license and tripling our insurance costs. I don't blame college for all of our mess. We have a disabled child with outrageous medical expenses. We have taken some trips we probably shouldn't have (but don't necessarily regret).

We just didn't pay attention.

I can't believe that I'm still shocked by our stupidity at this point in the game, but I am.

Wow. Just wow. Stupid adds up fast.

Sarah


12 comments:

  1. I really feel for you. My debts don't come from extravagance, or spending sprees, just living slightly beyond my means, and not noticing how often the credit cards came out of my wallet. At least we have realised now!

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  2. But your not the same person now!!! You have changed so take a deep breath and be proud of yourself

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  3. Those trips down memory lane can be a real shocker but at least you are on the right track now!

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  4. Sarah,

    Now is when you can be thankful that you have chosen a path to get you back on track with your finances. It takes time, work, and a lot of commitment (been there, done that with credit cards, destroyed our financial lives at a very young age (before we were 30.

    Don't beat yourself up. It will work out. Have you read Dave Ramsey's internet site yet? He has a great process on how to start getting rid of some credit card bills.

    Deb

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    1. Just want to agree with this. Be thankful that you're actively working on changing your life!

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  5. I often do just what you are doing but look at the progress you have made. It is hard not to look back and beat yourself up I certainly do but let's make a goal for the new year you and I to look forward. Let's see how far we can get next year!

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  6. Ah, yes, the college thing. I've sent two and was only able to do it because it was split with their father and they both attended state schools. It will be different for my younger two. They are a year a part and state schools have gotten extremely competitive. I will heed your warning, however, and pay attention. I've done the 'going backwards' thing and wish so much that I paid attention before. We would have a nice savings account and college money saved, instead of sending all of our money to Mastercard, Visa and Discover. Time to move forward. Hang in there, you are definitely on the right track now!!

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  7. Hi Sarah! I just found out about your blog from Andrea at "So Over This." I just want to encourage you to keep moving forward. My wife and I had $52,000 in consumer debt when we got married and we are now debt free except our home. It took a while to build momentum but once it picked up the debt started disappearing quickly!

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  8. Yikes...I didn't have any of those profiles and it just deleted my entire comment when I tried to submit under one. Grr

    Anyway, I also found your site from Andrea. The URL caught my attention so I figured I'd wander over and check it out.

    Getting out of debt is tough, but there isn't really much reason to dwell on your past. Everything happens for a reason and most often in life we learn from life's challenges (the hard way).

    My wife and I started with $110,000 worth of debt nearly 5/6 years ago. Over that course of time we've paid off $55,000 of it. I came across Dave Ramsey because of my struggle with money and his teachings/principles motivated me to turn my life around. That motivation then propelled me to become a Dave Ramsey-trained counselor in addition to being a financial advisor (which is what I do now).

    It's certainly tough to relive the stupid tax we paid and the mistakes we've made, however all that matters is that you focus on today and tomorrow as those are the only things you can control.

    On a different note: while the movement hasn't been launched yet, I'd encourage you to check out DebtMovement.com on January 2nd. A few finance bloggers are trying to motivate our readers to pay off $10,000,000 worth of debt over a 3-month span. They'll be debt scholarships to win and avenues for readers to share their success stories on the site (along with some personal finance bloggers sharing their stores as well). I think there is even going to be a book released with stories here in the next few weeks.

    Best of luck on the remainder of your journey. There will always be challenges and hurdles that get in your way, but just remember to always hop back on the wagon and keep plowing ahead.

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    1. P.S. I'm Jason from WorkSaveLive.com

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  9. Thanks for the words of encouragement, everyone. Truly, hearing confirmation that I'm on the right track is a motivator. I know we're going to make it to the end of this journey - some day.

    Sarah

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  10. My first child went to the state university, and we had enough saved up for all of his costs (plus he worked all through university for spending money).

    My other two children, daughters, twins, begin university this coming fall. And the school with the very best "fit" for them (small school, programs that suit their career objectives), is a private university, and very expensive, in my mind. They could live at home and commute, so savings on room and board, but the tuition and fees is a shocker. They are applying for merit-based scholarships, but we don't qualify for need-based. We have about half the tuition and fees saved, and that's it.

    Do you have any advice on financing the remaining half of tuition and fees? I really don't want them or us to come away from this experience with debt.

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