Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

My descent into debt, part 2

If you missed part 1, read it here.

I was fired from my government job in February 2002. I was fortunate enough to find employment by May 2002. I was offered 2 jobs–one a temp-to-hire, the other full-time position. Being the practical person that I am, I opted for the full-time, even though it was lower paying and located in West Philadelphia. It was in my field, it was full-time and offered health insurance, and most of the staff was around my age. Sounded like a great idea, right? It was. Sort of.

It was also during this time that my then-boyfriend now husband decided to go back to graduate school full-time. This meant, in order for him to get in-state tuition (which was important due to the lack of financial aid during his first year), we had to move back to Delaware (where he’s from) so we could have an in-state residence. So we had to find an apartment that was still a)relatively safe and b)close enough to PA for my commute to be reasonable (we were living 20 minutes from my job). This small move not only cost us in moving expenses but our rent went up by $125 per month. Not a smart idea when you’re facing an income drop. And that’s when things really started to get bad.

I like to refer to 2002-2006 as the lost years. Prior to our move and my husband going back to school, we were doing really well, financially. Then, due to our lack of knowledge, entitlement attitude and unwillingness to compromise/learn about finances, we dug ourselves into a huge hole. In that time, we racked up an enormous amount of debt on G-d only knows what. I have spending amnesia during this period of time. I truly don’t know what we bought and, except for a few memories, we have nothing to show for it. I just remember getting paid, depositing my paycheck, paying rent and other bills and using the credit cards for the rest. I do know that we had fun, though. Dinners out, vacations, clothes, our honeymoon, assorted other wedding expenses (I did pay for his ring in cash!), plus basic living expenses. We ended the lost years with around $60K in debt including a car but not including our house. Yup, through all of this, we bought a house.

Stay tuned for part 3 to find out all about the car and the house…

1 Comment

  1. smart sorority girl

    Hi. Just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying your blog and can't wait to read more. Good luck on your challenge. I'm like you-I know how incredibly easy it is to blow money so fast. I'm horrible with actual cash-if it's in my wallet-I spend it. However, I'm the exact opposite with my debit card-there is something about money being taken out of a bank account that I just don't enjoy. lol. Well to each his/her own. 🙂 Keep writing! 🙂


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