Category Archives: about me

The Inevitable Post: Part Deux

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my story, I graduated in December 2007. Surprisingly, I was a reasonably responsible college student. Granted, I had few assets (how many college students have real assets?)… but I also had little debt.

I got a $60,000 job, and thought I could afford a bunch of stuff. So, I went out and bought… well, stuff. About a year-and-a-half out of school, my wife and I found ourselves $100,000 or so in debt.

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when I borrowed $5,000 from the bank to help pay for a part of our wedding. Not more than a month later, I wrote a $5,000 (plus interest) check to the bank to pay off this loan.

This really was stupidity at its best. Borrow some money, pay interest, then pay it back.

The $5,000 bank loan is the memory that I feel is most idiotic. But, gradually, I started to feel that all the debt I carried was idiotic. Borrow some money, pay interest, then pay it back.

So, I Google’d how to get out of debt, found some fantastic personal finance blogs, and began my financial journey.

Along the way, my wife and I made two more stupid decisions. We bought a house that we shouldn’t have. (We still live in it today.) And we bought an SUV that we didn’t truly need. That was in April of 2011 (buying the SUV, that is). We ended up paying the $27,000 SUV off in 1 year and 5 months.

And my memories from the $5,000 bank loan came back. If we saved up for a year and a half… if we waited to buy, we could have bought the SUV outright, not paid the interest, and maybe even paid less by using cash.

When we paid off the SUV, it was our last debt (not including the house). And we vowed never to go back into debt again. So far, so good.

Since paying off our debt in September 2012, we put together a $30,000 emergency fund and have boosted our retirement savings to nearly $100,000. (To be fair, we have always saved a little toward retirement throughout the years. But we made significant progress over the last year and 3 or so months.)

I mentioned in my Part 1 post, that my daughter was born in December 2009. My son was born a couple of years later in November 2011. With an emergency fund in place and our retirement savings well underway, we finally began saving for college for our two kids.

And soon enough, we will pay off our house. And most likely, move back to our hometown closer to family.

We’ve journeyed a long way so far. This blog will provide some general advice about how we’ve come as far as we have. And it will be a journal for the rest of our journey.

The Inevitable Post

Ah, so this post is an inevitable one. I just didn’t imagine that I would be writing it as my second blog post. Like all great blogs before this, I am writing an “About Me” post…

I graduated from college in December 2007. I was one of the lucky people who didn’t have tons and tons of student loan debt. (I had about $5,000, if memory serves.) I had a minimal amount of credit card debt. I owned a car and some furniture.

Then, I got a job paying nearly $60,000, and things started to go downhill.

Well, not because of the job… per se.

I moved out-of-state to take the job. I took my car and the little bit of furniture that I owned with me. In my new town, I lived in a pretty nice, 2-bedroom apartment. With so much space and a decent income, I (falsely) thought that I could buy a bunch of nice things. I “needed” a bed set ($4,000), a new TV ($2,000), a new laptop ($1,500), a home office (not sure what the bill was here), and kitchen/cookware/other miscellaneous things.

Before I knew it, I was $10,000 in credit card debt.

Because I was being stupid.

Because I had a job paying $60,000. And I thought I could afford everything.

But my stupidity didn’t stop there. My then-girlfriend, now-wife was set to graduate in May 2008 (a semester after I did). She wanted to move in with me in this new town, and I wanted to show my commitment to her by asking her to marry me.

So I did. (Okay, okay. That wasn’t the stupid part. But this is…)

“He went to Jared.” I sure did, and charged her engagement ring ($7,000) while I was there.

My soon-to-be wife didn’t help the matter. She was just as much as spender as I was. And she brought about $50,000 of student loan debt with her.

In the couple of years that followed, we paid for our own wedding ($20,000 I think; we were terrible bookkeepers back in the day), we bought a house together (in December 2008), and we bought her car from her mom/took over her mom’s car loan ($4,000).

We then brought our first bundle of joy (my daughter) into the world (in December 2009). Of course then, we “needed” a new (third) vehicle. So, we bought a used $27,000 SUV in the summer of 2011.

If you’ve read this far, then congrats! We do end up turning this story around. I’ve/We’ve spent the last few years turning this mess around. Thankfully, today, we are in a much better financial position.

Part 2 to follow…