Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Celebrate

Today, I wrote out a check for $247.57 & put it in the mail.

(meg, darling, you know we love you dearly & are endlessly fascinated with every aspect of your life, but isn’t this a little too mundane of a subject?)

It was probably the most significant event of the month;

(Um, meg dearest, might you be making a slight overstatement? What about your wedding anniversary, the visit from Robb, or even the new car?)

Actually, it was the most momentous occasion since graduation in May.

(Tsk, tsk- poor sweet meg; three months into blogging & her well of absorbing entries has run dry- she’s reduced to relating the minutia of bill payment!)

Lest you abandon me to my solitary celebration, let me give you a little history (you know how I love to tell a story!)
Eight years ago, we had over $32,000 in credit card debt. How in the world did we get that far in the hole? The way most young couples starting out do- we didn’t manage our money well & were seduced by monthly minimum payments. When Sam was born, we were in the fortunate financial position of me not having to work, so I could stay home & raise our last baby. After a few months, with the full support & urging of my husband, I decided to go to college, part-time in the evenings, so Chris could watch the kids. Because our budget was rather constrained, books & tuition went on the card. Then came the move to a larger place in another town- first, last & deposit, & no savings. The refrigerator & washer gave out within 6 months of each other. A couple years later, it was 2 root canals for me & braces for the oldest child- with no dental insurance. By then, there was more than one card, so I decided to take a part-time job to pay down balances & save some money. There were too many dinners out because no one felt like cooking after a full day of work & school. Then, the worst happened- Chris got laid off twice in a year. He able to land other jobs fairly quickly, but we had to carry the full cost of medical insurance for a total of six months- it wasn’t an option to chance it without, because Robb has severe asthma. After the second layoff, I decided to go back to work full-time, since Sam was now in school all day.
It was at this point we took a class through our church on financial stewardship, & I was convicted on how poorly I, an accounting major working in the financial industry, had managed our money. Early in our marriage, Chris turned all financial matters over to me, trusting that my good sense & math brain would take care of everything. I was ashamed of betraying his trust & took steps to get our economic house in order. First, I worked with a credit counseling organization; but after 3 years, our balances were barely moving because most of the credit card companies wouldn’t reduce our interest rates (too many late payments & high balances.) Then, I found a debt settlement company that was able to negotiate lump-sum settlements with each creditor. It was a painful & gradual process, but every month we made our payments, & the company worked on our behalf.

And today, I wrote out a check for $247.57 & put it in the mail… for our last payment.

3 comments:

Qtpies7 said...

Oh, I could only dream! We dream of getting out of debt, but me working is out of the question at the moment, and we can't see a way to even closely resemble getting out of debt for some time! God is good, and I know if we are faithful He will show us a way to achieve this goal.
Congratulations! That is one major achievement!

Becka said...

I have been there done that! My husband and I were (and kindof are) on the Dave Ramsey plan. If you haven't heard of him, check him out. That last debt payment was so incredible. Unfortunately, we still have the house to work on- THAT will take a bit longer.

CONGRATS though! It's very exciting!

sewingsuzee said...

A little late, but I so heartily congratulate you. This is a HUGE thing.

Debt is why I now work outside the home. I'd like to still be home full-time, but I'd RATHER be without debts and with a savings account.

So far, the tiny thrill of watching the balance on one go down and the other up each month is worth the hassles of working while being a mom!