The way I got into this financial predicament is a very simple one word answer: Me. Not because my parents are “unfair”. Not because my job doesn’t pay enough (although I have had some jobs that pay appallingly bad considering I had a degree… $7.50 an hour?!). I did this. I have lived outside my means for my entire adult life and now I am paying for it.
My father was never vague about how things were going to go down after I graduated college. No sooner did I have the diploma in my hand that my dad gleefully dragged me to the AT&T store to get me taken off the family plan. Fine, fine, I get it, I’m on my own now…. but actually, I didn’t really get it.
Fast forward about a year and a half, I quit my first job and moved home with my parents in the Washington, DC area where it seemed like NO ONE wanted to hire me. I was working a bunch of odd jobs, at one point I think I had like 5, but this still wasn’t getting me to 40 hours a week most of the time. Bill collectors were calling constantly, I was waking up in panics. This was a very rude wake up call.
I did get finally get a job. So, clearly, I quickly paid off all of the debt I had accrued in the past year and a half and took advantage of not paying rent and put money away every month, so I could have a stable future.
Ha, just kidding.
I got mani pedis, waxes, went out to bars 3 nights a week, ate out pretty much every day, went shopping, to football games, on trips with friends. Yes! This was the life I dreamed of and deserved! And then I quit my job with no back up, AGAIN and moved out to California. Oh wow, rent sure does put a kink in fun! Did I stop my lifestyle? Nope. I’d earned it, right?
After another move back home at 26, I was finally ready to be serious, build a career and settle down a bit. I even got somewhat on top of my finances, I was at least paying everything, usually on time. I still had not saved one cent.
To bankroll my “groovy” lifestyle, I had not only been skimping A LOT on savings, I had definitely been neglectful of my car, my health, and other things that lots of young people tend to overlook in lieu of fun. This has landed me with hundreds if not thousands of dollars in needed car repairs, medical bills, debt owed from loans I took out to try to pay these bills, parking and traffic tickets gotten for my car not being up to code (I’ve gotten 10 so far at $75 a pop).
I am not sharing this because I want anyone to feel sorry for me. I am sharing this because there may be other people out there in similar situations and I want them to know they are not alone, and I am going to figure out how to get out of this, and maybe I can help them do it too, by example.
This is scary and hard, and actually, I have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s ok, because that is the point of this blog. Being someone who has no idea what they are doing and finding a way to better and educate themselves, because if there is one thing I have learned in all of this is no one is going to do it for you.
In the next 2 weeks, I’m going to gather up my bills, tickets, debt and face exactly where I am on this and look into my options. I plan on being really candid on this, but also staying as positive as possible, because debt, while it sucks, will not in itself kill you. So we have that going for us!