How we got Ourselves into this Mess
Updated: Apr 7, 2019
When we finally decided to get a grip on our finances, we were over $65k into consumer debt, not including our $350K house. Here is how we slowly but surely wandered into this massive amount of debt...
When we met, we were 23 and 25 years old, and had very little debt from our undergraduate degree.
But then life happened - We bought some furniture with monthly payments (because at 0% interest, it was SO worth it!); got some more student loans to go to graduate school full-time; bought a brand new car; traveled a little bit; moved to a new city; got married; bought a house that required renovations and BOOM - the next thing we knew, we were way over our head in debt.
I remember the first time I was not able to pay off my credit card at the end of the month. I was 22 years old. The total amount was $300. I was scared, not to say panicked. When I talked about it to friends and family members, their response was irrevocable: "debt is normal, so don't worry about it". I couldn't believe it. All these people I was looking up to and who weren't even #livingthelife were in fact borrowing their way to happiness.
Fast forward a few years, we started our Master's Degrees with zero cash, after a Summer of rest and relaxation. We had taken a line of credit to pay for our vacation instead of working and saving because we #deserved it. After all, we had worked so hard... And honestly, we just assumed that we were supposed to get into an incredible amount of debt to achieve this level of education. Although we were living cheaply and were constantly writing papers, we did not even have enough credit available to go on a coffee date at Tim Horton's. We were completely maxed out and broke.
After graduating, we started working full-time at middle-class occupations and were diligent at making all our minimum payments on time. The problem was that our lifestyle did not match our income. We were going out almost every day, spending every penny and some more... Our motto was: "We'll probably be in debt for a long time, so might as well enjoy life in the process."
When we reached a certain level of debt, we felt like it would just follow us for the rest of our life. We didn't pay attention to numbers and frankly we didn't even know how much we owed in total because adding everything up was terrifying. And to be honest, when you already owe tens of thousands of dollars, what's an extra dinner out anyway?
We bought a house and did a ton of renovations to finish the basement. We really wanted to turn it into an income property. We had seen all these cool HGTV shows and we wanted to do the same. Our house cost over $330K and we put at least $70K in renovations to transform the lower level into a two-bedroom apartment.
We had several lines of credit, five maxed-out credit cards, thousands owing at furniture stores and a car loan. We were so stressed out, we could hardly breathe...