Posted By Kristabella on July 27, 2011
Disclaimer: This post is not judging anyone, nor anyone’s situation, nor what anyone said. This is simply MY story. The dialogue on Twitter today made me think about my situation and my situation alone. Everyone has their own story. I just wanted to share mine. The end. Now everyone hug!
There was a discussion on Twitter today about how the average amount of credit card debt per person in America is $14,000. And there was a bit of shock over that because, yeah, it’s a lot of money. And the discussion then started about how people abuse credit and that there was sadly probably a lot of mink coats, yachts and big TVs to show for it.
Now, I am sure that is the case with a lot of the people. There are many, many people who abuse and do not understand credit. Look at all those people who bought houses they couldn’t afford and did interest-only loans. Credit is not FREE MONEY! But a lot of people don’t actually GET that.
I chimed in because that number makes me feel better. I will admit, I’m above the average when it comes to credit card debt. It is not something I’m proud of. And I will admit that there have probably been times when I wasn’t smart about it. I’m not embarrassed. It is my situation and I own it.
But for all that debt? I don’t have anything to show for it.
Well, that’s not true – I am alive because I was able to buy groceries. I still have a job because I was able to put gas in my car and get to and from work. I have a place to live because sometimes those utilities went on the credit card because the mortgage/rent couldn’t.
It’s not something I’m proud to admit. It also isn’t something new to me.
Back in college, my dad started drinking again. This led to him losing his business and going back on his promise to pay for my college education. THANKFULLY, I had a really awesome job, that I busted my ass in, that paid my tuition. But when loans weren’t enough to cover everything else, anything and everything went on the credit card. On the high-interest credit cards they give to us college students. Because we don’t know better.
(His drinking also led to him hanging up on me every time I called for money, which led to me decide to never talk to him again for the rest of his life, but that’s a whoooole different story for a whole different day.)
I got that all paid off in 2006. Ten years later. And that was through doing one of those debt management programs. Which absolutely killed my credit. It took me years after it was paid off, but I have finally built my credit score back up, enough to buy a condo. But I still have debt to deal with. My debt-to-income ratio is not favorable. Because since then, I’ve lost my job a few times and was forced to take lower paying jobs to pay the rent/mortgage. And when my checking account balance is negative, I avoid overdraft fees by putting living expenses on my credit card.
Smart? No. Responsible? Not really. Necessary? Hell yeah.
I’ve recently decided to become proactive and take my financial health seriously. I’m tired of paying minimum payments and not seeing my balance go down. Just last week, I decided to apply for a consolidation loan to help with my credit cards. I am hoping to get enough to pay it all down, but even if I can take a huge chunk of it away and replace it with a loan with a much more reasonable interest rate, I will be on my way. On my way to getting out of debt.
Yay for being an adult! It’s about damn time. I mean, really, I’m going to be 34 in less than 2 months.
*Sung to the tune of “When You’re A Jet” from West Side Story.