We First Perfected Debt
Our money problems did not start overnight. They built overtime. Every decision held a consequence, yet, we were blissfully unaware as we spent and spent with our debt mounting. After the debt had built, we consciously choose to ignore it.
To figure out where we are going, first we need to look at how we got here.
Kevin and I met when we were in high school and began dating his freshmen year in college (my junior year of high school). We were married 5 years later, while I was still in college. We were 21 and 23, and absolutely clueless on how to manage finances (Problem #1). I had embraced the 1980's with great zeal -- amassing over 15 credit cards (mostly of the store variety) by time I was 20 years old (Problem #2). Kevin was unaware of most of them (Problem #3). We were both hard workers but underemployed (Problem #4).
The snowball effect that is so popularly touted for getting yourself out of debt, is sort of how we got into our debt mess -- just in reverse.
Let's recap: We had a wedding - charged whatever our parents were not able to cover. This was added to my already large debt that I came into the marriage with. We rented apartments we could not afford. We bought brand new cars - without considering depreciation, sales or excise tax, or insurance costs. If there were money left in the account (or that old joke about checks left in my checkbook) - we spent it (*correction and to be perfectly fair: I SPENT IT! I am going to try NOT to throw poor Kevin under the bus too much during this blogging our finances series. Although he did have culpability in some of it, ultimately he trusted me. I am the one who abused that trust to get what I wanted / when I wanted it until we were drowning in debt).
Kevin and I took weekends away - all charged. We were eating out constantly (as I despise cooking), and Christmas was always lavishly celebrated. One year I gave 34 people gifts - generous to a fault. It was very Santa-like but without the income to support this expense, it was not very wisemen-like. Although it would be almost 7 years before we welcomed children into our family, we failed to use that double-income lifestyle to rid ourselves of debt and build a nest egg. This would lead us to even more poor decisions in our desire to provide for those kiddos when they came. More on all of this as the weeks progress.
2018 Goals ... as we plug along
In February 2016, Kevin and I started by reading Your Money Counts: God's direction for spending, saving, giving, investing and getying out of debt. (Catholic Edition) by Howard Dayton and Jon & Evelyn Bean, after the amazing Beans were guests on A Seeking Heart. This truly God deemed encounter and their generous offer to share their Navigating Your Finances God's Way Workbook transformed our lives! (**Visit Compass Catholic Ministries to learn more information) .
These were our top 5 take-aways from the book from 2016; along with how we have and will continue to move forward in our financial goals here in 2018:
All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016; 2018.