Guest Post by Amber from The Hormonal Housewife
My husband and I were looking for a larger home for our growing family. We crunched the numbers and knew exactly how much our mortgage could be without piling on more debt. We spent time looking at homes in our area and were even considering building if we could do so on our budget.
This quest is how we ended up at a regional builder’s model home display. After explaining the building process to us, the agent told us that the overall price of the home wasn’t important; the only thing that mattered is the monthly payment. That’s when we knew we were in the wrong place.
You see, my husband and I have $35,000 in debt. How did we accumulate so much? The answer is simple: one payment at a time.
The scary truth is that the last time we financed a car, we weren’t even sure afterward how much the car itself cost us; we only knew how much we were paying for it each month. Scarier still—we don’t even own that car anymore.
We have three children now and the car couldn’t hold three car seats. We sold the car and used that money to buy a semi-dependable van. Unfortunately, we’re still making payments on a car we no longer have and we don’t even know how much it really cost in the first place.
All of our debt happened in a similar way: we financed something because even though we couldn’t afford to purchase the item, we could afford the monthly payments. My family could never file for bankruptcy even if we wanted to because we can still make every payment.
We struggle to buy clothing and pay for haircuts but we can still make all those payments for so many things we no longer have or are unable to use. Isn’t that sad?
As a couple, my husband and I are determined from now on that we will only buy things we can completely afford instead of making payments we think we can afford. Admitting to the world that we have so much debt because we made poor decisions is embarrassing. The reason we do tell others is because we are passionate about spreading the truth that monthly payments led us deep into debt.
We are working hard to become good stewards of the money with which we’ve been blessed by doing things like using cash and searching for deals on sites like Money Saving Mom. We hope to help others do the same.
Amber Clark is a former English teacher who is now the proud mother of three beautiful children. She is the author of The Hormonal Housewife and hopes to use her blog to encourage women to be better wives, mothers, and home managers.
photo credit: LemonJenny