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How we got here

March 22nd, 2007 at 06:48 am

I was thinking this morning about why we have been so stupid with money and what got us in the mess we're in now. I don't have a sad story to tell about losing a job or needing credit cards to pay medical bills and groceries. The truth of the matter is that we have been stupid, irresponsible and childish.

I grew up not having much money at all (public assistance including food stamps...might go into that one at a later date) and I really think I just wanted "stuff" when I grew up. Does that make a lick of sense? I don't think that I went wild by any means, but when I wanted something I bought it. I'm not a big clothing shopper but I like to have a nice looking house so I bought thinks like bedroom suites, living room furniture, etc. All on credit of course. I would tell myself that it was only a small payment per month and that I deserved it. Classic "I want it NOW and can't wait" attitude. Until recently I never realized how stupid that really is. Now I realize that paying with cash is the way to go.

My husband is not a big spender. He would just go along with whatever I wanted to buy. I mean, don't get me wrong. He's no angel about budgeting, but he's not one to blow $20.00 a day and have nothing to show for it.

The bulk of the credit card debt that we have now is from transferred balances from furniture accounts and an Exxon gas card that we used to use. That Exxon card was the first credit card I ever got and man did I think I was cool beans. No more going into the gas station to pay and I would pay the balance off every month. WRONG! Oh yeah, I started off great...but then the months got tighter and I would make a smaller payment. Pretty soon those snowballed and I was up to almost a $3000 balance. For gas! Stupid, I know.

Another thing that got the Visa up was my husband's tuition to school. Since I was being irresponsible about budgeting I wasn't prepared each time the tuition came due. Of course that was no problem because we could just swipe the plastic. We used the Visa for pretty much every school related expense he's had over the last couple of years...tuition, books and uniforms.

I guess it was when I first started listening to Dave Ramsey that I had my "Aha!" moment and realized that we are on a slippery slope with this. I thank the Lord that we both have excellent credit and have never missed or been late on a single payment on anything...but that could happen so easily. Listening to Dave I realized that we have got to get this debt paid off and change the way we think about money.

4 Responses to “How we got here”

  1. fairy74 Says:

    Good for you, we have all had financial challenges. Learning what your triggers are is very important. Best wishes! Smile

  2. Ima saver Says:

    It is a good start!

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    It sounds like you have a plan! Don't beat yourself up too much...none of us can go back, but many of us wish we could. You now know better and will do better...that is a true blessing to be grateful for.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    You are certainly not alone.

    The weird thing to me is that my parents grew up poor and were always very frugal so I just thought that was always how the "poor" were. That they would not waste money on so much frivolty. But I have many friends now who grew up poor and try to live very upscale lifestyles on credit. I am understanding them a little better with time. Most of them have kids and just want better for them. Though they are certainly going about it all wrong. But they don't know any better either...

    Anyway, you had your "aha" moment while you were quite young. That is of great advantage. Welcome to the blogs, and good luck!!!

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