We’ve been struggling with new debt in our household. I call it new debt because we spent the last 20 years living with Student Loan Debt, so this debt feels relatively new for us.
I know when the new debt started. It was about 9 years when we applied for our first line of credit. You know, to help us out while I was on maternity leave and for emergencies.
At first, we used it a bit.
The maximum amount that was available for us to use was $5,000.
We laughed at that.
What kind of emergency would we need $5,000 for?! Crazy.
About a year before we got our line of credit I was visiting with a friend who was telling me about her line of credit. She told me it was over $33,000 and she had no idea how it got there. It just happened. It just kept growing and growing. She never told her partner. It was her secret. She was embarrassed to tell me and she was a bit scared to tell her partner.
I honestly sat there in awe. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, how could someone get that deep into debt? With all due respect, they had nothing to show for it.
They didn’t drive new vehicles. They didn’t live in a new home. They didn’t own brand new atvs, campers or toys.
They were regular people, just like us.
I went home that night and talked to my husband.
He was equally in shock.
How could they let this happen?
It was a question, I couldn’t understand until it started happening to us.
Slowly, I was finding myself unable to pay my monthly credit card bill and to avoid such a large interest fee, I was transferring money over from our line of credit, it seemed like such a smart idea. Then my available line of credit was increased to $7,500. Then my available limit was raised to $10,000 and then $14,500.
Just like my friend, I didn’t know how it was happening.
Yes, I am not in it as deep as I could be. But, I am still in it deep enough to make me wonder how things got this out of hand.
Every month I put money into the kids Registered Education Fund.
Every month I put money into my RRSP.
We have Tax Free Savings Accounts.
We have a rainy day/emergency account that will allow us to live for 6 months without jobs.
We even saved for our trip to Disneyland.
It seemed like I was really good at saving but not so great at paying down debt.
Even yesterday as my husband and I sat down to look at our budget we were shocked at the amount of credit line debt that we have. We thought we were doing so well because we had been saving so much.
Chris has a good job.
I run a successful small business.
Our only real debt is our mortgage and our monthly van payment.
Sure, there are other things, but I’m not going to make a huge tally for you to see. I’m honest, but not that honest.
I still don’t quite get how we got to this place. Maybe I am being naive.
I mean obviously, I am being naive.
I have googled a few articles. Sadly, we are not alone. There are a lot of us out there.
I read online that the average consumer debt is $15,000. Consumer debt is things that don’t depreciate. Like, going out to eat or clothes.
I’ve never considered myself a person who wanted to keep up the Jones’s but at times I am guilty as hell for doing it. Apparently, a ton of us are.
Maybe we shouldn’t have bought those Minnie Mouse ears in Disneyland. Maybe we could have bought a used vehicle. Maybe we didn’t need to buy a couch in 2015. Maybe I shouldn’t have spent $54 at dinner with my friend. Maybe we shouldn’t have put out kid in dance. Maybe we should have said no to hockey this year. Maybe we shouldn’t have bought the Blundstones.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
If I could go back in time, would anything really be any different?
I honestly thought we are frugal. I even have a few friends that tease me about it.
I’ve never thought of ourselves as people who live above our needs.
Yet, somehow we got here.
And somehow we have to get out of this hole before it gets any bigger.