Is it me or is everyone a little paranoid about coming to work one day and showing up for a meeting and finding it's your HR representative and you are going to get fired?
Maybe it's because I'm getting ready to take out a loan for an insane amount of money to buy a home.
I have worked really hard to not be in debt....and now I'm making a conscious choice to be in a TON of debt...though I know it's a good investment and it's necessary, it's just a big step to make.
Before I went overseas, just after college, I had EIGHT credit cards. EIGHT!! All of which had a balance on them at all times.
I had my gas credit card - cause I had to drive to work!! Thanks Chevron for charging me 23 cents on every dollar of gas I put in my car. Harsh. At the time, I worked for a nonprofit and had to pay daycare (though I had a court order stating the ex had to pay half, I would have had to take him to court to have it enforced) and I could not afford all the bills AND driving to work every day. Chevron saved me on a number of days, though they were hurting me on a monthly basis.
I also had a Target card. LOVE me some Target. Target is awesome. Do you love Target? You should - Target is a fun place to wander when you have ten bucks in your pocket. Target Target Target, oh how I love thee. They are like Walmart, but WAY better because they treat their employees better, they don't ruin small mom-and-pop businesses, they don't buy up large parcels of land and then abandon it, and you don't feel dirty when you walk inside. Target rocks. And as a new graduate from college with little to no funds, my Target card helped save me on many occasions when I ran out of shampoo or my son needed a new shirt, etc. Thanks Target! I was happy to pay you an extra 18cents to every dollar.
I had a college credit card which I applied for outside the student bookstore in order to get something free. I can't remember what it was - it might have been a shirt. C'mon - when you're in college, you don't pass up ANYTHING free. Unfortunately, I wasn't the smartest with the card - I think a good portion of our Disneyworld trip was on there (dude, don't judge---we had a free place to stay with free meals each day-Thanks Aunt Elsie!- and got a kickass deal on the plane tickets). So for my Disney trip with my 6-yr old, I paid an extra 24 cents on the dollar. YAY for Mickey Mouse.
I had three different mall department store cards. One was JCPenney's, which to this day, I can not get them to take off my credit report. Another was some store that is no longer open and no one seems to know how to take it off my credit report.
And then I had a card I applied for online, back in the day when this was a new and novel idea. Get a credit card within five minutes ONLINE?? Yep. I did it from my home computer late one night while stressing about what I would do when I found myself yet again with no money for food and no credit card to help out. The food bank isn't always easy to access, especially if you are working full-time. I remember taking a morning off work on a few occasions in order to make it to the food bank to get a food kit to last us three days. But I got my online credit card - I was one of "them" and was happy to have an extra credit limit for Emergencies. And I remember the first time I used it - after a very long work day with a crying 8 year old who I just couldn't listen to for ONE MORE MINUTE - I took him to McDonalds. I didn't have any money and that kid needed a lifesaver and McDonalds happened to be it (don't judge! who hasn't taken extreme measures to save their child from sincere CPS warranted activity?? All my single mothers say HEEEEEEYYYYY!).
And those credit cards were with me for what seemed like FOREVER - but was really the bulk of two years. I then signed up for a credit counseling service and they got the companies to give me 0% interest and I made one payment a month and never worried about late payments or juggling who I would pay which month. It was perfect (and no, it's not on my credit report now).
Then I went overseas, made my money tax-free (totally legal!) and paid off 6 of my credit card balances in a 10-month period. YAY me.
I completed paying them off within the next 2 years.
And then....I met the sociopath and he took over all our bills (don't judge - we were going to be married!) and about 6 months into the relationship, I discovered that not only had he not paid my bills, but he had been stealing my mail when I got notices for the bills. SAD me. Interestingly enough, I only discovered this because my mom works for a doctors clinic I had gone to one time and that was one of the bills being secretly not paid and they went to her to find out if I had moved since I was not responding - I think it's illegal for them to talk to her about my bill, but in this case, it somewhat saved me as I was totally clueless to what was going on.
Thanks to a couple of really wonderful people in my life who helped me in some really big ways, and the luck of finding a job within 4 weeks (FOUR WEEKS!!!), I was able to get back on my feet again within five years. FIVE YEARS -that's nothing. And my credit score is great - how did that happen? NO idea. I must be some secret-financial genius and not realize it.
And here I am now. On my feet. With shaky knees. Getting ready to buy a house!
Buy a house? Ha - bring it on, I've certainly survived some ridiculous financial issues, this should be a cake-walk, right??
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