Wednesday, August 14, 2013

America's Got A Credit Hangover


Teaching our son about money and responsible spending is of great importance to my husband and me. In a country where the national debt and consumer credit debt statistics continue to rise, it's more important than ever to teach kids how to use money properly. Credit card offers are everywhere, and it's hard to resist them all. This infographic is a chilling reminder of the financial trouble we're all in!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from My Job Chart. All opinions are 100% my own.

I'm sure most families have run into money troubles as some point, including mine. As a family we have no car payments, no credit cards (only a debit card each), and have just a mortgage as our main expense each month. So where does our trouble with credit come in? We're currently in it actually. Let me explain.

Getting in over your head with debt doesn't necessarily mean you were on frivolous spending sprees at the mall and buying $500 boots. Nope! You see, we've always been careful with our money, but as a one income family we do have a line of credit for emergencies. Yes, we dip into it more than we should when those times of "let's buy it NOW instead of saving for a few months" happen, but it's paid off with the next paycheck everytime, until recently.

We're currently digging our way out of over 1K+ in debt that will be paid off over the next couple months (pulling from savings is not an option). As a result, we're cutting back, selling stuff on eBay, planning another garage sale, and doing every bit of penny pinching we can to get back to our "norm" of having no credit debt. It's NOT easy, especially since we're already pretty frugal as it is!! But, it's doable. Hubby and I sat down and had a conversation about our situation, and what we're cutting out for a while to pay it off - that means the garden in on the back burner, Hubby needs to ride the bus to work more regularly, and packed lunches need to happen everyday for example. We're on a mission!

So HOW did this happen? Literally, this debt happened in 2 months time. For one, my little sister met a guy, got engaged, got married, and moved from California to Alaska with her new Coast Guard hubby in just a 3 month time period. Phewww, it was a whirlwind! As maid of honor and big sister, I did all that was necessary to help her, including at least 4 car trips to visit her over 2 1/2 hours away. Weddings and gas is expensive as I'm sure you know! We also finally decided to fix our broken A/C in my car, which hasn't worked properly for the last four summers. That was over 1K in itself, but our tax return paid for most of it. We also needed to get our roof fixed, pay for Buddy's tuition with our homeschool program, and start buying all his curriculum for this Fall. Along with several fertility appointments and ultrasounds for myself, it was certainly an expensive two months. 

Let's back up to when I mentioned that debt doesn't necessarily happen because of foolish purchases. Our debt didn't happen because we were on a free-for-all. Sometimes, debt just happens due to life's circumstances. 

The key in our credit debt situation is that we know how to handle our debt, and how to get out. Making sacrifices with our normal spending habits have to occur. I think that the most important key to managing finances is understanding how to troubleshoot when necessary and I think that's truly an area that many people lack the skills to tackle. 

Buddy is hopefully going to have a great understanding of money when he's older, but that's only going to happen if, as parents, we're proactive about it. Using sites like MyJobChart.com is a great way to start teaching kids about being responsibility with money. Hubby and I make a point of including Buddy in our conversations about saving and spending. He's also beginning to understand what it means to save up for something he wants instead of expecting mom and dad to buy it right away. We're also not hiding that we're in debt, with the hope that Buddy will learn from our experiences, instead of thinking mom and dad are perfect. My hope for our son is that he truly gets this money thing. By empowering our kids with the knowledge of how to be responsible and smart with money, we're making their future a lot brighter!

A short audio message from Dennis Miller. Click the arrow to play!
 

8 comments:

Jean Brinkley said...

Thank you for sharing this. I applaud you and your husband for tackling your debt as a team, and for your discipline. My family generally follows the pay-it-off every month rule, but we treated our family to a big trip this spring that we paid for partially with credit. It will be paid off soon - whew!

bunnyswagg said...

My hubby and I recently were put in a very bad financial situation that just spiraled out of control. We are now just digging ourselves out the hole and working twice as hard on making payments on time. We've had to make lots of sacrifices and really live frugally.

Natalie Parvis-Nichols said...

We are always getting hit with unexpected expenses. It's tough. I can totally relate.

Becca said...

It's refreshing to hear that you are trying to get out of debt. I feel like I have a lot of friends who are in debt and continue to stay in debt, buy amusement park season passes, etc. I prefer to live debt free like you!

Dayna Janzen said...

So many times, with so many families these crazy, unexpected emergencies come up. Or even just unexpected expenses that aren't even emergencies but have to happen (like your sister's wedding) that it seems life is one constant financial struggle. Unless you're Bill Gates *sigh*

Keara B. said...

Thank you for posting about such an important topic. My husband and I just moved, and along with that came a lot of unexpected expenses. It can sometimes be tough to foresee what "might" happen, and that's why it's important to be as prepared as possible. It sounds like you are doing a great job of being responsible about your debt, and teaching your son about it, too. I'm hoping to be able to teach my daughter about credit/debt/finances just like you are! Again, thanks for sharing. :)

Stephanie G said...

I can relate to this, it is easy to get in over your head even when you think you are being responsible with your spending there are just so many unexpected expenses, like dental work, car repairs or medical expenses that can come up and need to be attended to and sometimes they can hit you all at once. I agree teaching your kids to be conscientious about finances is very important.

Courtney B said...

great post. we've struggled ourselves and its nice to see we aren't the only ones out there having problems...