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I’ve had a rocky relationship with money. It’s interesting really because as a teenager, I started working at the young age of 15. My first job was a scooper/cashier for the first Rita’s Italian Ice in Florida. And I have to say, I was pretty responsible in those days. Sure I went out to eat a lot and bought a lot of CDs, but for the most part I held it together. When I got married at 18 (another story) I saved a couple thousand dollars and took care of everything necessary to get into an apartment, start the utilities etc. So, while it sounds like a cop-out, I am going to go ahead and blame my financial woes on my divorce, just 11 months later.
It was during that time that I lost control. I was depressed, angry and easily approved for credit. I got the cards, I abused them and I started paying the minimum balances. Even then, I would pay late and frequently got calls from collection agencies. It was a bad pattern and one that I am not proud of. It does however, give me a somewhat sympathetic view of people who are trapped in this kind of lifestyle. Like many other issues, trouble with money is usually a symptom of something deeper.
I repeated this pattern for a scary 10 years going through periods of plenty and of want, relying on my family and the mercy of others to get me through. My truck was almost repossessed. My landlord almost evicted me. Thankfully, and by the grace of God, I was given a second chance. It’s not like that for everyone.
When I met my now husband, Jerry, I realized that he was in much better shape than I was financially. He was actually doing it right and I was embarrassed. Yet, he didn’t judge me at all. We had conversations about values and priorities and he helped me get involved with a program through our city that helped me purchase our first house, in my name alone. It was such a victory to pay down my debts and work together with someone I trusted to have a healthy relationship with money again.
Now, over 4 years later, with only student loan debt remaining from that past life, I feel well again. We work on our finances together and we use a budget. We aren’t perfect. I am not perfect. But I am so proud of my husband for helping me take the steps I needed to take. And I am proud of myself for climbing out of a desperate and deepening hole. If you are still digging alone, please find someone to talk to and get some help.
It is SO worth it!