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April 11, 2016

How I got into Debt

How I got into Debt

 

How I got into Debt

I am pulling back the curtain on my financial life so you can get a peek of my humility, which I mean debt. It is important for you to know how much I can relate to financial setbacks so occasionally you will read posts from my personal experiences. And by experiences, I really mean mistakes…..really, really big mistakes.

Let me start by saying that I am a big saver! Ever since I can remember, I would save money. I would even save my lunch money in middle school. I didn’t starve but I would definitely get buy the cheapest lunch possible and save the rest. So debt can happen to anyone, even the big savers especially if they are naive about the fundamentals of money.

Getting my first debt

My first debt was college. I attended an out of state college (big mistake #1), didn’t look for enough scholarships (big mistake #2), and I signed up for $47,000 worth of loans (big mistake #3). Yes, you read that correctly. By the time I graduated with my engineering degree, I had $47,000 in student loans and I was only 22.

If I knew more about managing money back then, I would have done things differently. Education is important but there are cheaper ways to get a good education. A few cheaper options:

  1. Choosing in-state over out-of-state, if you cannot find enough scholarships.
  2. Attending Community College for the first 2 years of your University degree.
  3. Never stop looking for scholarships!

I will talk more about college funding in a later post, but for now, I am hoping you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Or maybe you have made the same mistakes, just know you are not alone. Getting my college loans was definitely a lessoned learned…kinda.

Yep…more debt

In 2006, I graduate college with $47,000 in the hole so my next financial move……more debt because every new college graduate needs a new car! I just had to have a brand new Chevy Malibu (which I still have to this day). Let’s add another $18,000 to my debt total.

After the car, I found the joys of having credit cards which racked my debt total even higher. I charged everything on my credit cards: ballroom dance lessons, Christmas gifts, and furniture. I even used my credit cards when I had cash in the bank. Another big mistake, at this point I have lost count of all of my money mistakes.

Total Debt = Approximately $80,000 (OUCH!!!)

(This amount excludes the house my husband and I purchased in 2010)

Debt Free

10 years later, I am debt free (except the mortgage). A lot of the techniques I used to get out of debt I didn’t learn until I completed my MBA in finance in 2008. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with personal finance and increasing financial literacy in the community. I am a strong advocate for teaching money management in school, not just college but high school and even middle school.

Enough about me, what was “must have” that got you into debt?

2 Comments

  1. I just kept going to school! That is what kept me falling into debt. I actually recently paid off all of my student loans, plus some!! Best feeling ever! We have about 25k left to go, hope to have it all paid off by this December 🙂

    Congrats to you as well!

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