We have only begun to share our debt story. We have been overwhelmed with messages and comments from so many people who are in the same boat.
Let’s get you caught up…
We knew we were relying on our line of credit, but we never really paid attention to it. Our bank kept increasing our line of credit and we kept relying on it to pay off our credit cards in a way to pay less interest. Which was sort of smart of us, right? Not really.
The line of credit kept growing and we kept not really thinking about it.
It wasn’t until my husband and I sat down and talked about fixing the retaining wall in our back yard that we realized that the only way we could afford to rebuild it was to ask the bank to increase our line of credit.
That was our rock bottom.
We were going to ask THEM for more money.
Together we sat down and talked about how big Chris’s line of credit was and how large mine was.
So we started to pay attention to our money. You may be reading this and thinking we are total idiots, which we may be. But, this is our debt story and we know that we are not the only idiots out there.
You are not alone.
Stats say the average consumer debt is $15,000. Consumer debt is/are things that don’t depreciate. Like, going out to eat or clothes or vacations.
Over the last 10 months, we have paid off $4500 in debt. I realize this is small potatoes and some days it breaks me that we haven’t paid off more.
But, the thing I am most proud of is that we haven’t accumulated more debt. On average, we were going into debt at a sum of $3,000 a year. So in my backwards little brain, I see that as a $7,500 win.
So how are we doing this?
I’m lazy. I like the easy ways of doing things.
I wasn’t going to go get another part-time job.
I wasn’t going to sell everything we own as Dave Ramsey suggests.
I wasn’t going to take my kids out of their extracurricular activities.
I wasn’t going to cancel our family vacation.
I wasn’t going to cut back at Christmas.
I wasn’t going to not buy flights to be with our family in Ontario over the summer.
I wasn’t going to budget by putting cash into labelled envelopes
I just wasn’t.
I was just going to start paying attention.
I did some little things.
I quit going to Tim Hortons and Starbucks for no reason. (we did a 30 day eat at home challenge and saved over $300)
I started putting money away for Christmas, my daughter’s competitive dance costs and for a fall family vacation.
I called our phone, internet and t.v providers and asked for better deals and we are now paying $110 less a month.
I ordered 4 less shirts from Old Navy.
I just started paying attention.
Honestly, it was just a millisecond of thought.
Sure, I could have cancelled our family vacation, took my kid’s out of activities, bought less at Christmas, cancelled our home phone, sold our elliptical trainer that I hang clothes on, or not bought our tent trailer.
But, in the words of my son, “I don’t wanna.”
There are days that I want to give up, that I hate that we got ourselves into this fucking mess in the first place. I often wonder if we are ever going to get this paid off. And truly, who knows. We have done a few things right, like having an emergency account, a small TFSA, RRSP and RESP’s for the kid’s.
This month has been a bit scary. We’ve had just enough to get buy because January had an extra mortgage payment in it. I have $400 that needs to be paid off my visa, but won’t be able to do it until the end of the month because we are that tight on money and we refuse to dip into our line of credit.
In all fucking honesty, we are only one major life event from a possible financial disaster. I hear about the housing crisis and that the days of low mortgages are over. If our mortgage were to increase, I would have to do some of the things that I wasn’t going to do.
I feel different day to day about our debt. Some days I think we are never going to pay it off. Some days I feel really proud. Some days I just want to book a family trip to Hawaii.
Hmmmmm…. sandy beaches, warm baby blue water, lush mountains.
If you are looking for me I’m booking a vacation rental.