Sometimes, in life, we have to make tough choices. When continuing the path your on feels like defeat and the path you need to take feels like utter failure, often you wonder what choices contributed to your current situation.
I hate defeat. Moreso, I hate that feeling I get once I realize that I made a series of bad choices that led me directly to the situation I’m in. My parents always told us growing up that every choice you make has consequences – whether they be good or bad.
My husband and I decided to do a debt consolidation loan.
Choice: husband had “elective” surgery on his ankle. Elective in that, it wasn’t life or death. We, however, did not consider it elective as he needed the surgery to correct his ankle (problem from a surgery he had at 13).
Choice: to get a credit card. Until this point in our marriage, we only had one credit card, a Lowes card, and it was paid off. We thought that, since he would be out of work and on short term disability, we could use it to get by. We also used it for things like a hotel room, since his surgery was done by a doctor 6 hours away. To help with groceries. And Christmas.
Choice: do a balance transfer to break up the balance of the high-interest card to 3 cards with 0% balance transfers for a promotional period.
Choice: husband decided to be all macho with his new ankle, breaking 3 screws and a titanium plate in his leg. Yes.
Result of previous choice: go back to doctor to have a second surgery. Out of work again.
Choice: use open balances of cards to help get by.
So, you see, our current debt situation was a series of choices. Some good, for the better. Others not so good. But every step along the way, a choice was made. I wish I could say we have this mountain of debt because of medical bills, but that’s not true. I also wish I could tell you the debt was bills we couldn’t pay. Or groceries we had to buy. While that’s some of it, there are also things on there we did not need.
When he had these surgeries, I was working. But since then, I have become a stay at home mom. Is it financially reasonable? Somewhat. Before, I worked at a child care center that my mom owned and child care for my 2 kids was free. Now, if I were to work for someone else, it would not be free and for those who have to pay it every month, it ain’t cheap. I was also able to carpool with other family members, and this saved on fuel costs. Now, I’d have to drive, and we live quite a ways from “town” so this is a huge bill as well.
Often, I feel like staying home with my children adds to our financial woes. But, I know deep down, that me being home with my boys is the best thing for them and for our family. Not that they don’t make me want to pull my hair out, but I’m able to spend quality time with them. I’m able to monitor what they see and hear (to some extent). Raising our kids the right way is important to us, so we know this is a sacrifice we need to make.
Blogging was supposed to be this miracle solution. Seriously. I had this idea (unrealistic dream) in my head. If I were to start blogging, I’d have fast, great success and in a matter of months be able to pay off the mounds of debt we face. (Yes, this was really what I hoped for). I knew blogging was to be a ministry for me, that I needed to share with others. Of course, money wasn’t the ONLY reason to start a blog. But I invested in my blog, knowing it would make money for me one day.
However, blogging has yet to make me one penny. Actually, being quite honest, I’ve poured money into it and not seen a dime back. I hope, over time, and with more realistic expectations this changes, but my dream of magically making the debt go away has not happened.
We also considered playing the lottery. Not like the ones where you win $10, no. We wanted Powerball. Like, millions. We planned out how we’d spend the money. Of course, we would pay our tithes on it. And we would help family and friends. Let’s be honest, $200 million is a chunk of change and with all that, we could afford to pay off a mortgage or two. I also wanted to open an orphanage that was awesome and had all these plans for our windfall.
But that never happened. Probably because we don’t play the lottery. Mainly because $20 is a lot to spare on a ticket when I can buy a LOT of groceries for that. (My kids eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches, no shame in my game).
So there we were. With another choice. Light bill or credit card payment? Truck (to get husband to work) or cards? You know where this is headed. It just seemed like skipping those payments made life a lot easier. Until the emails started. The courtesy reminders about the “forgotten” payment. Then the phone calls. They. Never. End. They even call on Sundays!
Now that I’m expecting baby #3 (yes, I know how babies are made, it was still a surprise!) no one would hire me even if I wanted to work. So, basically, our choices are to
- Continue to skip payments and face (possible) court junk
- Make payments and let something else go…
- File bankruptcy or
- Debt consolidation
We decided, after much thought and many conversations, to do debt consolidation. Is this what we wanted? Absolutely not. It was one of the hardest choices we had to make as a married couple. And, I think a bigger part was swallowing our pride and realizing we messed up.
We aren’t sure this was the right call, only time will tell. And this CERTAINLY is not a post telling you to consolidate your debt or to write for a specific company. This is me, admitting defeat, being an open book and telling you the story behind a life lesson. I’m also not proud of this, and I realize that by consolidating, we are only responsible for part of the debt.
The Gist of it (for those who skipped to the end):
Life happens. We do what we can to get by, we make choices every day. Not every choice is the right one, and sometimes we don’t know until much later. When we are young we make choices that affect our lives when we’re older. Sometimes, other people make choices and those are the consequences we are faced with.
But here’s the real deal: we have to own up to our mistakes. We have to admit that, sometimes, our choices aren’t the right ones. Taking responsibility for something is a hard step, but that’s what we have to do. Make choices daily. We have to choose each and every day what’s right or wrong for our life. And that means consequences.
And more choices.
My story is about debt. Of course, I have many more I could share with you but I’ll spare you. Your story of choices might look a little different, have a different outcome. Even if you have $0 in debt (YAY!) you can still take away something from this.
Sometimes, the easy way out is not the best path out. Actually, what seems easier actually causes you more grief in the long run. And, sometimes the little choices are the ones that add up to big consequences. Consider the choice you’re making before you make it. Better yet, spend time in prayer. I’m guilty of “praying” for something which really just means I say a quick “Lord, is this Your will?” and never wait for a reply.