Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bills, bills, bills...

I'm through with standing in line to clubs I'll never get in
It's like the bottom of the ninth and I'm never gonna win
This life hasn't turned out quite the way I want it to be
(Tell me watchya want)
I want a brand new house on an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough for ten plus me
(Tell me watchya need)
I'll need a Credit card that's got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club at thirty-seven thousand feet
(Been there, done that)

I used to be like that. I was in a marriage that was lonely, so I bought things... all on credit. We needed to file our taxes one year and didn’t have a computer to do it with, so that went on credit... I went to Massage Therapy school because I really really wanted to, a $10,000.00 student loan later – and I have no desire to work as a Massage Therapist anymore... we bought a house and needed a fridge and a new dryer, credit.... we need a bigger car, bought a brand new one for $32,000 at $626.00 a month... And this is just the debt I took with me when we divorced. Stupidity.

We didn’t plan for our future. We had no savings account and nothing to show for how hard we worked all of the time. We never had money to take the kids on vacation. There was always money for frivolous things, but nothing for the important stuff. We spent money like it was growing on a tree in the backyard. We lived in the moment – but not in a way that either of us should be proud of.

I was tired of living that way, and am glad to say that I have not added to my debt since I've been divorced. But I've also have been drowning in monthly payments. $81.00 to the furniture, $65.00 to the computer, $123.00 to the student loan, $100.00 to another credit card – and then the car payment. I had rent of $850.00 a month and all of the expenses that go along with housing myself and 4 children. My hair was literally falling out a year ago. I could do it, but it was financially very hard.

My parents offered to let us (me and the kids) move in with them to help me get out of debt. It was truly a blessing. And, by October of this year I will be completely out of debt. Next week I will be making my final payments (except the car). I cannot express the weight that has lifted off my shoulders and the satisfaction I feel. I’m very proud of myself. And because of my hard work and sacrifice, I will be able to purchase a home this time next year.

Someone made a snide comment to my daughter recently stating that “your mom can’t even afford rent”. It totally irritated me at first because that is an ignorant statement to be making to a 12-year-old. I’m being judged because I’m finally taking control of my future, and making sacrifices that I wasn’t willing to (or smart enough) to do earlier in life. I’m living with my parents, who are great people and have added many great things to our lives, so I can assure that I have a financially stable life for my kids and myself.

We live in a society where we are inundated with the desire to purchase what we can’t afford. They make the monthly payments affordable, but give you an interest rate that is so high that you end up paying 10x the original price. A lot of times we want what other’s have, but fail to realize that it took them awhile to get it themselves. I fell for it all. I never looked at how much I was going to be paying in the long run - just how much it is going to cost me right now. Sometimes debt is necessary, but we live on instant gratification. We think we have to keep up with the "Jones's", who are the Jones's anyway?


Rebecca said...

Love this whole thing. Great for you!

Jessie said...

Laurie, I loved this post and I love YOU! You're awesome! Congratulations! Isn't it the best feeling in the world? Jeff and I just paid off all of our credit card debt and it feels GOOD!
P.S. I miss you!!!