I have to say… I never thought I’d be irresponsible with money. My mom and dad gave me a GREAT start into the financial world, and gave me every tool a parent could give for me to get and keep financial stability. I took less than $11,000 in student loans for a four year degree, I have a degree as a Respiratory Therapist in the “recession proof” health field, and I am married to a man who has never done less than provide a comfortable life for us. We had everything good going for us. It’s amazing how quickly the feeling of stability can fall away from you!
Here’s my first and hopefully ONLY major financial mistake:
I was only six months away from graduation when I decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at getting a new car. Fast forward a month, and I was the proud new “owner” of a 2010 GMC Terrain. Oh did I ever have stars in my eyes! A beautiful, nearly new SUV with good mpg’s was sitting in MY driveway. It was my early graduation present to myself, because who would ever think that a Respiratory Therapist would have a hard time finding a job? The payments were easily managed, and I would have a great paying job within six months for sure, right? Wrong. I wish someone would have slapped me and said:
Hubs had been working the oil fields and was making great money, facilitating my feeling of comfort and security in our financial situation. Only problem? He was gone nearly three weeks of every month. I couldn’t hack it. I was a mess without him, so things HAD to change. We moved to another town, he had another stable, good paying job, but we also now had a rent payment. Bummer. I got a job to help out with my car payment, while his job covered every other expense. We were still treading water.
Now it’s graduation day! Oh how I’d been awaiting the moment to get my degree and my new high paying job! Well, again, life happens. The recession proof career I’d chosen, wasn’t so recession proof. I couldn’t find a job. I lived within an hour of THREE hospitals, and multiple home health companies, and there was nothing to even apply for. It was a shock, but I still had my part time job at Home Depot to rely on, so no big deal! We were still making it…barely. Hubby was miserable at his new job though, so we knew things had to change, and they had to change soon. This was about how he felt:
We’ve now gotten all the way back to September, almost a year since we bought my pretty SUV. Our financial worries were there, but not screaming in our faces since we made just enough to pay everything and have a touch left over each month. There was no credit card debt, only two cars, two sets of student loans, and living costs. Things were ok. THEN…The call came. Someone wanted ME to apply.
I didn’t know there was an opening anywhere around us, but they had gotten my name, and wanted me. I applied, and actually landed the job! One problem though, it was far enough away that we had to move. Moving meant leaving our comfortable situation, leaving Tyler’s job, and leaving my job, and leaving our nice but cheap apartment. It meant taking risks. We took the chance. I moved September 10th into an apartment that would cost us DOUBLE what we paid in Idaho, and that wasn’t the only higher living expense we faced. Longer story short, we didn’t have a great plan to jump from. I was the only bread winner and we were BARELY scraping by, with two rent payments, and everything else on top of it.
Now fast forward to TODAY. I’m employed, hubs is employed, and we have a stable base again. But from the move and “life happening” we have over $5000 in credit card debt, $20,000 in car loans, $30,000+ in student loans between the two of us, and $1200 a month in rent. Now that we have the means, every cent is going towards repayment. No more credit cards for us. We’ve become a cash only family. We are SO lucky that this didn’t ruin our credit scores (somehow there was never a late payment), and we are so lucky it wasn’t worse. Depending on the month more than $1000 will now go toward extra debt payments and student loans, starting with the lowest amount/highest interest rate debt first, the credit cards. When that’s paid off, the normal payments to that rolls into the next lowest amount/highest interest until THAT’S gone, and so on. It will all be paid off within 5 years for sure, then we’ll be DEBT FREE.
All in all, I can’t believe that I was immature enough to rely on my “future” job to get a car, but it’s all too common. I know I was lucky. We suffered no real losses, only true stress. I hope that people can learn from my mistake and NEVER count the chicks before they hatch, as they say. It has been a scary roller coaster and it’s FAR from over. We’re still in a somewhat precarious position, so I know we’re not out of the woods, but we’re for sure on the mend. We just have to pray month to month that nothing big happens to us or to our pup that will set our plan back further.
I’m Heather A young twenty something wife, mommy to a fur baby, and a respiratory therapist. I blog to keep life in perspective and to connect with others! I blog over at The Life Unexpected, (heatherandtylerdraney.blogspot.com) and I hope you’ll take the time to stop in and say hi!