Okay.. I just realized that I have not updated this blog on our credit card debt war. i think the last time I actually blogged about I had just mentioned us getting the jobs at the boat.
Okay so here is the low down. Tim and I had absolutely no debt when we moved into this house almost 5 years ago. We paid off what little debt we had, I think like $4,000, my car, and paid his parents back for the lending us the money for the down payment plus still had over $40,000 for the down payment on the house and down payment on his new truck. So we bought the house and 11 days later took the remaining $10,000 and his old truck and bought his new truck. I'd like to say that we got a good deal on the truck, but of course there are a few cardinal rules i think we missed along the way considering the fact that we argued over the price of the truck vs the price of the trade in for over 6 hours. Looking back we should have left but it was the EXACT truck Tim wanted and i wasn't leaving until Tim got what he wanted.
Less than a month later began the downward spiral. Both my and Tim's jobs started slowing down, we went from working ALL THE TIME to being home more and more often which gave us more time to hang and get to know our neighbors which was great.. on the flip side we never sat down and said "okay we gotta cut back expenses" we lived as if we were making double what we made (as we had been for the previous 4 years solid). The weddings began, a ton of our friends all got married within the last 4 years so you can imagine all the showers, engagement parties, bachelor/ette parties, wedding gifts, clothing, tux rentals, hotel rooms, days off of work, flights, car rentals, and now baby showers, baby gifts, christening gifts etc etc etc we've had to pay.. and my gut reaction has been to be a little bitter about all the expenses we've incurred considering most of these people were not around when I had Dylan and have contributed nothing to him and for my marriage to Tim did not have anywhere near the expenses we did for their weddings. But in "keeping up with the Joshezz" fashion we kept up even though we couldn't afford it.
We have been chiseling away at this debt since the end of October and haven't even paid off $10,000 which really sucks but we are keeping at it. More importantly we've finally looked at the big picture and decided we need to start putting our foot down and looking out for ourselves as #1. So if we look at costs and can't afford something, we either don't go or we go and don't spend any money doing going. It's funny how now I look at taking a Saturday night off for a family event as COSTING me $150. That $150 is now what I feel I'm "behind" in paying off debt. It sucks to look at it that way.. but that is the way it is.
I feel that we are fortunate in one area. Tim and I have always been a PAY YOURSELF FIRST couple and we have faithfully contributed to our 401k's, ESOP's, IRA's, money market funds, installment certificates, bonds etc this entire time. So when we consolidated our credit cards and got a home equity loan to pay off everything, it just didn't make sense to us to have to pull money from those funds/accounts and have to pay penalties and/or taxes and fees on that money. Taking on second jobs was the only way we could live with this and hopefully the exhuastion and frusteration we feel from working extra hours every week will stick with us long enough to never touch a credit card again.
The one thing I didn't expect to happen is that this has become my personal vendetta if you will. In my life I've gone through periods of obsession with something or another.. the last 3 years was diet and exercise.. it became my passion.. that has been totally thrown to the wind, I'm gaining weight like you wouldn't believe.. but really I don't care because I'm focused on the debt and the feeling I get when I make another payment. The cool part has been that we got the HELOC through our credit union so I can go online 24/7 and make payments. I've been trying to deposit as much tip cash as possible sometimes several times a week and then I go online and wait for that money to become available. The second it becomes available I make a payment unles I need it for something else.
Tim and I have been attempting to make goals and write them down and keep track week to week on those goals. Bare with us the next couple months because we have a rather large goal we set for ourselves and hindsite of course we realized we have a bunch of other BIG MONEY things coming up the next 3 months that need to be paid for.. so I'm actually doubting that we'll get anywhere near our goal, but we are sure as hell going to try. On the plus side is our BIG MONEY things will be paid for in CASH unlike 6 months ago. 6 months ago I wouldn't have thought about it at all and just paid for it with my credit card, or paid cash and then would buy groceries for the month on my credit card.. so either way, my credit card was going for a ride several times a month.
Getting 2nd jobs was a big wake up call for many of our family and friends who realized that we were in credit card debt but did not realize the full extent of it. (I have actually had to tell my dad the total number like 5 times because I think he is in denial about it and each time he acts shocked all over again) I have to say that since the wake up call that we have gotten so much more support and I think we've even encouraged other people to take their debt troubles by the horns and go out and get 2nd jobs. The last few months every week at least 2 or 3 people question me about my 2nd job, how it's going, etc and then tell me that they are thinking about having to do the same thing. No matter how much it sucks, sometimes it just has to be done.