In the year 2000, we were living in our first owned home in New Hampshire. It was a fixer-upper, but we loved it. We were still pretty much newlyweds, we had no money, and we were pregnant with our second son. I was a stay-at-home mom, and Mike was still working what was more or less an entry-level position.
I will never forget the day I first opened my eyes to our credit card debt. I was paying the bills, and as usual was writing the checks for the bare minimum due (because that's all we could afford), and I thought, "Huh, I wonder how much we owe all together." I'd never thought to add it up. In fact, until that day I'd never thought about credit cards at all. We had them, we used them, we faithfully paid those minimums.
But that day, I decided to add up the balances. My eyes bugged out of my head as the numbers rose.... $5000, $10,000, $20,000, $30,000... All told, we owed $42,000 to credit cards alone, and at the time Mike's yearly take-home salary was about half of that. We were essentially bankrupt.
There was nothing to do but take our heads out of the sand and start digging our way out. With a teaspoon.
In 2005, we sold our house and moved clear across the country to Arizona. Thanks to both hard work and good economic timing, we did so completely debt-free. Our proceeds on our house had paid off the rest of our debts, AND given us a sizable nest-egg with which to move.
Fast forward a few more years. Add in an "investment" house purchased right before the giant real estate crash, a sinking economy that led to unpaid furloughs, and a few bad decisions... and we were, once again, in debt.
This time though, our eyes are wide open. We're not newlyweds anymore, and we're not financial virgins. We know what we need to do, and we know how to do it. Somehow in practice KNOWING how to do something, and actually doing it are two totally different things. So I started this blog as a way to both keep myself accountable, and to share our journey with others.
I am thankful that we're in a much better place than we were a decade ago. Mike has a great job now, one that pays very well, and our debt is not nearly as high as it once was. But it's there, hanging, like the proverbial black cloud, and I cannot wait to be rid of it.
We're going to pay it off - once and for all - one month at a time.