Friday, May 1, 2009

Celebrate With Me!!

I'm going to tell you a story with a happy ending! Several years ago, I married a man I had no business marrying. I probably wouldn't have ever dated him, really. But one summer, my heart was crushed and damaged so that it was unrecognizable to me. So I jumped into the first potential relationship that I could find. And then I wanted to "beat" my ex by getting to the finish line first- marriage. Well, I won that race. But it was a major loss. Anyway, the marriage wasn't a good one. He was a good friend but we weren't good as husband and wife. There were unresolvable issues in the marriage- a story for another day. One of the many problems we had was money. Debt. I came into the marriage with no debt. Hadn't ever had a credit card. But he had and knew the "joy" of shopping and spending. I got sucked into the spiral and, together, we made a lot of bad money choices. His dad bailed us out. A loan that he co-signed. Consolidated our debt. $20K. Ouch. Within 2 years, we had run out and opened new credit card accounts and created enough debt to match the consolidation loan. Another $20K. When we divorced, the debt had to be split. Since we had been married, debt that he brought into the marriage became my responsibility as well. The frustrating thing was that I couldn't remove myself from his debts. He was bad at paying bills and that had a big negative impact on my credit rating. So when it came time to split them out, I took the credit cards and he took the loan. He got the better deal (lower monthly payment, faster pay off time) but I needed out of the marriage and I needed control over those cards. If I didn't have control, he could have continued spending on them, not paying bills on time, and so on. This all happened in 2001. I remember when I paid off the first card. I think it was for Value City Furniture. It had a small balance and I had it paid off not long after gaining control of my finances. And it was a great feeling. I knocked out a couple of other low balance cards soon after. For the past year, I've had 1 card left to finish paying on. Today, I made the final payment. I called the credit card company and confirmed- this is the last payment, the account is closed. I will receive one more statement showing my zero balance. And then... nothing else. And since we all love a little karma... I have kept myself away from credit cards. I do not have one, I will not have one. Jeff has one for emergencies only. The only debt we have is my car, our mortgage, and the payments being made for the new siding on our house (done last year). Aside from those bills, I am out of debt. The ex? Now... I don't know for certain, of course. But I had heard through the grapevine that he'd gotten remarried, they bought a house. One day, a letter showed up from a local hardware store, explaining why he had been turned down for the credit app with their store. I had to do some digging to figure out why this store sent his rejection letter to my house. It ended up having something to do with credit reports. But the bottom line? He was still trying to get credit and spend money he didn't have. Now I have complete closure. I feel justified. I fell proud. I feel calm. A chapter of my past, of a very major mistake, is very much closed. I DID IT!!

15 comments:

Flartus said...

I am so happy to celebrate with you--I just paid off MY credit card balance April 20th! In fact, I was considered writing a post about my new, no-credit lifestyle. Your debt was waaay bigger than mine, so I know your relief and satisfaction are waaay bigger too.

Good for you!!

Pumpkin Delight said...

Good for you! Paying of debt of any kind feels so good. Congrats!

Alix said...

Doing the happy dance for you Liz because I know what a huge victory (and what a great feeling) it is to eliminate debt.

When my son Jordan first left our nest I gave him this adice: DO NOT RUIN YOUR CREDIT! Don't buy what you can't afford to pay cash for. Don't keep running balances. Pay everything off at the end of the month. Yada, yada, yada. I guess until you get squashed by debt, none of that good advice really registers. It means nothing until you're losing sleep and constantly worrying how you are going to pay the bills. Some prison sentences are shorter than the sentence of bad debt on your credit report. Where else but in America can you get away with murder easier than missing a few payments on your Sears account?

Congratulations! I'm thrilled for your success and financial smarts. Go Liz!!

Isabella said...

First...CONGRATULATIONS! You should celebrate (in some non-money spending way of course). :) I'm doing a happy dance for you right now!

ShankRabbit had a great deal more debt than I (student loans and a nice car), but he always made his payments in full and on time. I, on the other hand, was no stranger to medical bill and utility company collectors bugging me...and it was always for some small amount. My total debt was less than $3,000, but I never had enough extra income to make those payments.
Although I was taught how to properly handle my finances, I didn't have "real life" practice until I went off to college.

So, 2.5 years later, I'm still working to make my credit report not suck...but I'm MUCH more responsible with my finances since ShankRabbit came along.

:)

Jim and Garret said...

Awesome! Let's go shopping!

Garret

Ashli said...

Praise God! He has been with you through this I just know it and I congratulate you for staying with Him through this storm.

What a sigh of relief...:)

Nancy said...

Good for you! I am so happy! I have about 2 years left and then I will be doing the happy dance with you. Isn't crazy that we let ourselves get into such debt. I allowed the same thing to happen to me and I am still paying for it!

Joanie M said...

I had super good credit, until about 4 years ago. Trying to stay ahead of the bills, I took out a few cash advances on my credit cards and then couldn't even pay the minimums. I finally called a credit counselor and in the past few years, they helped me pay off 2 of the cards. I'm in the process of paying the 3rd and have one more biggie to pay off. Because of the trouble I found myself in, my credit rating is in the toilet. I think once my daughter leaves for college, things will be better.
Divorce can absolutely kill a good credit rating! I'm glad to see you are in the clear now! congrats!

Frogs in my formula said...

Wow! Congratulations. That must be such an incredible feeling. We're trying to accomplish the same thing. It takes time and hard work. Pat yourself on the back.

morninglight mama said...

Huge congrats!!

Amy said...

That is an awesome accomplishment! Congrats!

Andrew Scott Turner said...

Awesome!

I have no trouble with money, because I never have any.

I had one credit card once - a Sears card - that I maxed in one day ($500) by purchasing a camcorder ... remember those?

Anyway, I swore I would never own another card because I am totally irresponsible.

Alix said...

LOL Garret!! Why do your comments always make me laugh and groan simultaneously?

Jim and Garret said...

@Alix: I have that effect on women and so I went gay.

Garret

Still waiting on Liz to go shopping. I get to pick the credit card!

Jackie E. said...

Isn't it such an awesome feeling when you pay off a credit card??? Congratulations to you (I say with a little envy:-) I still have two to go but I'm making my way and I look forward to the day when I can join the debt-free club!