Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Five years....the negative stuff

My Blogiversary is technically on August 6, but I had alot to say, so I am breaking it up into 2 posts.  I would like to end on a positive note, so today is about the negative stuff....tomorrow is the positive stuff....a numbers update.  I spent alot of time re-reading my old posts, and I have linked some of those posts.  It really was interesting to re-read how some things have changed, and some haven't.

Why am I even talking about this stuff....accountability.  Some people think that I am "hiding" something because I don't detail every purchase that I make to the world.  Did I buy a coffee and a bagel the other day....YEP.  Do I feel bad about it......NOPE.

I think I am more transparent than some bloggers....probably less than others.  But I am not hiding anything.  And while at times it appears that I am justifying the debt....the bottom line is that sometimes over the course of 5 years we made decisions that weren't always popular, but they were the decision that we made and live with.  Some were better than others.

Way back in the day, we thought we would be out of debt by now.  That is when I thought that debt reduction was a straight shot.  I just didn't get that life still happens and that while the shortest distance appears to be the right path, more than likely you will take the scenic route.

The Negative

Because I want to focus on the positive...let's just get the negative out of the way.  I started here with $76,649 of debt.  At that time it consisted of several credit cards, student loans, a car loan, and medical debt.  We did have a retirement loan at that time, and for the life of me I don't know why I didn't count that in the total (which would have brought us up to 84k-ish).  I probably was playing a mental game and couldn't deal with that number so I chose not include it.  Additionally, since the retirement loan re-payment comes directly out of G-man's check, I probably didn't really think of it as debt.  It is flawed thinking....but my thought process 5 years ago was different.

And 5 years later, it basically contains the same components.  They are different manifestations....we still have CC, student loans, car loan(s), and a retirement loan (which consolidated our CCs, and then we stupidly managed to run a CC up over 2.5 years)...but all that has happened is a reshuffle.  Yes, the numbers are lower (new numbers will be up on Wednesday).  But the basic areas of repayment haven't changed.  Whoop.  Pee.

We have made many MANY mis-steps over the past 5 years.  We have WAY overspent on food/eating out (bad habits which started because G-man was working AT the grocery store and we are starting to break).  We have failed to budget for some things (clothes for the kids, house stuff) that we KNEW we would have to deal with.  We made some "want" purchases (nothing major, but it all adds up).

I have lost track of how much "debt" we have ACTUALLY paid.  While it looks like we have only paid 15k of debt from the 2009, it is way way more.  WAY MORE. 
  •  We have run stuff up on the credit card (whether is was for the numerous Murphy issues like car stuff,  or more car stuff, failure to plan, little wants here or there is irrelevant...it was paid for on credit).  We have run up, then paid back...rinse and repeat.  We have used the credit card as a stop gap more than we should have. We have tried to use our CC as a tool, and have done a piss poor job at it.  We would start off ok for awhile, and then the slow creep happened, and here we are.  We did it, we own it, we pay the price.   
  • Additionally, we took out the current retirement loan that consolidated the CCs we had and have been paying that down over time, but that loan really just renamed the CC debt we had at the time.
  • We have had 2 cars DIE on us, and spent way too much money trying to revive them.  ( I was going to give you some links, but there were so many of them.....sad sad sad.)  That was just a fundamental difference in how G-man and I wanted to handle the situation. We took out a new loan for each car we had to replace (12k + 6k loans for vehicles, and have paid back roughly 8k of that).  And that doesn't count the 10k we paid on G-man's previous car loan that we had when we started).   ****While I know many readers disagree with our replacing of vehicles....we did what we needed to do for our family.  I stand behind the decision to get "new to us" cars.
  • Medical stuff has always been up and down.  We paid off the "original" hospital bill, but then I had surgery and Bossy had some procedures.  We lost our waiver on the DME, then we had some of that waived and we paid off the balance.  I have had a root canal and a cavity filled, along with regular dental visits....and insurance has paid almost nothing.  

The student loans are probably the only thing that just are what they are.  They haven't gone up since neither of us are in school.  They just get a monthly payment, and they are at the bottom of the debt repayment list.

The bottom line however is that we are still in considerable debt.  Yeah, that isn't something to shout from the roof tops. 


  1. Have you ever looked into Dave Ramsey's financial peace u university? I have seen it work. For husband and I we got rid of all credit. No matter how hard, we pay cash. Fortunately husband is great with cars and keeps us going. Check into Dave Ramsey.

  2. I think this 5-year look-back exercise is a good idea and helps put everything in perspective, especially for you. I've only been following you since I joined the madness in 2011 but it sounds like you went into this sort of halfway and didn't do the research needed to see the big picture. (ie, rolling CCs into the retirement loan). It's not that you haven't been trying, you just get sucked into the details without looking at how it's going to play out long-term. I think you're learning over time and are on the right path now. I remember when I first started reading your posts and I was thinking you didn't have it so bad! From what you said, I was guessing we had similar incomes as well as a child with a chronic illness and my debt was twice what yours was! (Thankfully, that's not true anymore:) Anyway, your journey has taught me some things along the way and I'm always cheering for you - can't wait to see the new numbers!!

  3. You have come a long way considering the set backs. If you had not been trying to get out of debt this whole time think where you would be! I am in the same boat you are so let's row together a few more years.

  4. As long as you have learned the lessons presented to you along the way in the last 5 years, that journey hasn't been all for naught. Be glad that you are as far along as you are, no matter how much further you need to go.

    Unless something comes along to change your money situation(new jobs, moving, get rid of some big large debts, etc.)be happy with the progress you have made. Everyone gets out in their own way and at their own rate.

    And be happy that there are folks out there who were brave enough to cheer you on and/or call you out on missteps along the way.

    I hope I speak for all when I say we all only want the best for your family.

  5. I like the honesty of your post and at least you managed to bring down your debt over the past 5 years. I know it's hard to keep the momentum going and I like how you said that you have fallen into the slow creep and racked up CC debt again. That's happening to me as I speak. I love to have a $0 balance on my CC but right now it's at $1,100. Need to try and get that back to $0. Used it to pay lat months lawn maintenance bill and a few purchases from Ikea and Lowe's for the nursery.

    Plus, I need to keep in mind that my wife doesn't get paid over the summer because she's a teacher. So it's hard to keep up with the expenses while we're on a single income for those two months. I know we should save up while she's getting paid but it's easier said than done with a toddler and another baby on the way. Just have to make some smart decisions.

    While I started my blog, I was all gungho about getting out of debt. But the hardest part for me was that my wife wasn't 100% on board. It's not that she's a shopaholic, but she doesn't want to sacrifice living life for the next few years while we try to become debt free.

    It's a tough journey for sure. And I'm sure with accountability and encouragement from others, we'll all be there one day, sooner rather than later. I look forward to the day when both our kids go to public school and we'd have our student loan and car paid off (in about 5 years total). That will free up an instant $3,000 in monthly expenses!

    Good luck to all!!!!

  6. Though we all want to get to our destination, sometimes it's all about the lessons we learn along the way. I have learned a lot, and continue to learn. Likewise, I've made some huge mistakes, some big mistakes, and still make mistakes (some well aware). But hey, I am still moving ahead. A mistake is mostly a mistake only if it fails, no? Good luck. I am sure your happy post will be awesome!

  7. I love this post. We all have good, bad and ugly in our lives and it's important for us to see it all. Only seeing the good stymies us just as much as only seeing the bad. You seem well balanced and I think you will do well in the next stage of your financial journey.

  8. Yep, you made mistakes. We all have. Well most of us anyway. I know I've made a few doozies. I'm still learning, and getting better at it as the years pass, but I'm closer to retirement than I ever have been before so it seems more urgent. Slow and steady Mysti...YOU.CAN.DO.IT!!!

  9. I can't really comment after reading about your son, so sorry you had to go through all that... no idea how you made it. Glad is all in the past and you were able to move on.


  10. This is an important post. I often feel discouraged at the dumb decisions I made, especially during my divorce... can we say emotional debt?! But I'm learning, as you also appear to be, and that's what counts.

    P.S. I feel the same about about student loan debt. It's the least of my concerns when it comes to the TYPE of debt I have.