The short answer to this....life.
I would love to say we had a huge house, beautiful furnishings, lavish cars, expensive clothes, and tons of pictures from the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S vacations we took. But this would be an incredible lie. We have none of these....none. Not even a little.
We paid for our own wedding; not the most uncommon thing, but most people get SOME help. So we started our married life already in debt. Add in my loans from my Bachelor's Degree, and the boat G-man bought before he met me.....and as soon as we said "I do" our combined debt was somewhere in the range of $55,000. Not the ideal way to start off your new life together.
We moved when I decided to go back to Graduate school. More loans.....We decided to have a family.....enter in fertility costs......We bought a house.......Oh man, guess what! I am pregnant....with Twins! Wait a sec....our car can't hold twins.....let's buy a mini-van.
It is 2002....we have been married 4 yrs. Well, crap. At this point I have no idea how in debt we are. We were both working, and making our bills, so we really thought we were doing ok as a whole. G-man's 'rents paid off the boat (about 7k at that point), so instead of a boat payment, we had a car payment.
Then our cutie pies were born.....4 months early!!!! Yeah, we weren't expecting that one. Thank goodness for insurance, because their bill was 1.5 MILLION dollars! Now, while we did not owe the vast majority of that....we did owe some of it (and still do!). And along with preemies, come other wonderful bills, such as special shots, special food, special EVERYTHING.
The plan for me to work went out the window. Our salary was cut dramatically with me home. G-man started working 2 jobs. But our bills just kept on coming. Our son had medical needs, and continues to have them. Special therapy, special food. Special tools. While we would never ever deny him something he needs....it is quite expensive to raise a special needs child.
In the next 5 yrs, we relied heavily on credit cards for our day to day living. Gas, groceries, clothes. If the car broke, charge it! If there was no food in the house, charge it! If you are feeling a little sad and need a quick pick me up.....you guessed it! CHARGE IT!
And while we were charging things.....we decided we wanted another baby. Back to fertility treatments.....not that we could afford them. Several surgeries, many boxes of medication, and tons of dr appointments later....we conceived another set of twins! Unfortunately, this was not meant to be, and we lost our twin girls mid pregnancy. More medical bills.....and the bill to cremate our daughters. That Christmas, I probably spent 3x as much on gifts than we usually do....just trying to make myself feel better.
We took equity out of the house to pay off debt. Then just ran it back up again. Got a lump sum of money due to a law settlement....and ran the credit cards back up. So now our house is maxxed out due to the housing bust. We still have credit cards. And options are running out.
Let's see....3 cats....one with dental issues. Going out of town to see our family....can't take the cats....so let's board them. Charge it! G-man's father became ill....more trips out of town. Cash....nah, who has that? Charge it!
Eventually I did go back to work part time. No family nearby, so I work a schedule that fits with the kids' school schedule. This stopped the femural artery hemorrage of money, but not by much.
Cars broke down. We needed a new roof. The washing machine died. More medical. More of life. Gas prices soared, and we were spending over $200 a week on gas. Our home is oil heat....to the tune of $500 a month (this has come down now, thank goodness! But the damage was done).
And here we are. Teetering on the edge.......we can't live like this anymore. We gotta do something.