Archive | March, 2013

Truth Tuesdays: My story!

8 Mar

A Credit Card.

I was approved for a credit card, it’s only for $300, but it’s a shiny piece of plastic with MY name on it.

Here’s the back story:

Received first credit card as soon as I turned 19, when I was at university partying my ass off. I had very humble beginnings, and when I got to university and learned I could pretend to be anyone I wanted to be, so unfortunately for my future wallet, I took my turn as  the girl who could afford everything. I grew up in a town where the best place to go clothes shopping was Wal-Mart, so you can only imagine how often I would grace the huge shopping mall the big city had to offer.

I did this for two years, and then when Christmas came, I ordered another credit card to be able to afford christmas gifts for my family, when those cards were both maxed out, I realized you don’t lose service immediately for not paying the bills. I then decided not to pay those on time to continue living my deluxe lifestyle. I then got so bad that when my roommates gave me their share of the utility bills (Which were in my name) I would spend some of their cash, because in my brain, it was in my name, so I was responsible for it, so I would just pay enough to keep it going and then I would just worry about paying it off later. My logic was definitely flawed, I realize this now.

The next year, I had to move home, due to my expensive lifestyle, I had wasted two years in a bachelor of arts program that had no bearing on my future, and I was $30,000 in debt and had nothing to show for it, certainly not the grades. I worked at a job, initally making less than minimum wage, then up to an acceptable pay level, and then I had the opportunity to make decent money at this job, and I was able to resume living my champagne lifestyle. I often just wasted my time and money getting drunk with my friends and going to the big city on the weekends to party. I was able to keep paying my credit cards enough to keep them from collections, but unfortunately, my flawed logic regarding the utilities wasn’t enough to keep my hydro and phone bills from going to collections.

I called to discuss the power bill with the collections company, and was put in contact with a very rude, older, asian woman.  I was a kid with a big attitude and an even bigger mouth. When I called, this woman refused to do a payment arrangement, wanted the money immediately, and instead of working with me to come to a resolution, she told me ‘I had no respect for my elders’. I always lived by the motto “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” so this didn’t sit well with me. I hate to be a blamer, but I really blame this woman for me having such a defeatist attitude when it came to my finances from this point forward. I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of thinking she was good at her job. At this point, I didn’t realize the only person affected by this gesture was myself. I didn’t pay a dime of either of these collections bills.

I then lost this cushy job I had, figured I’d move back to the big city for work a few months later when I had really hit rock bottom. I lived with a good friend and was working part time hours. She was on unemployment at the time making decent money, and I was barely working, so we would take off for the beach or the local pool bar whenever we had a spare moment. This was also an expensive lifestyle, and when I also lost this job I had absolutely nothing to fall back on. I ended up living off of value menu burgers from McDonalds. I moved home again soon after. I couldn’t afford payments on both of my credit cards and one soon went to collections.

While home, I decided I’d take a stab at going back to college. I signed up for the Business program, I started working part time at a gas bar for some extra coin aside from my student loans. I started seeing this new guy who was younger than myself, but lived on his own and seemed to have it all together. I was impressed. He then proceeded to buy a home and when I moved in he was able to successfully provide for both of us, and when I got student loans, we’d go absolutely manic and spend every dollar of it, on vacations, and designer bags, expensive meals out, etc. It was unhealthy and lead to my final credit card being sent to collections as I wouldn’t be able to meet my minimum payments.

I felt like I would never be able to recover financially, but I went out of my way to ensure that his credit wouldn’t suffer.

Big Mistake! He didn’t care about my credit, so I’m not really sure why I cared about his. I guess I thought he was my future, but I clued in and realized he didn’t care about more than my credit. I left. I simply moved into my own apartment, left college (Which I wasn’t going to graduate at this point) and I started a new job making a great entry level salary. I was really happy here, and was completely financially independent. I was supporting myself, and getting the bills paid. In this time period I decided I’d take a chance and apply for a credit card, but I recieved notice stating I’d have to pay them $300 for a secure card.  I didn’t persue this option.

I started seeing someone very important. I then started wanting things.  A new car, a house, a future.

He made me realize my potential. We moved in together, and then we moved to the big city together as we were able to transfer job locations.

Problem #1- My hydro bill had been in collections for about 4 years at this time. we had to clear my name before we could get power at our new place. It was just a little over $500, but I cleared it within a month. I felt incredible being that much further out of debt!

We moved into the new place, and money was tight, but bills always got paid first. My mom brought me any mail that she had recieved for me at her home. One day I happened on a settlement offer from one of my creditors that was in collections for a few years as well. I took this opportunity. I got a 30% reduction and paid off $900 to get rid of this one debt that haunted me.

It’s down to two. I’m paying bills and doing well. I recently applied for a credit card, just for shits and giggles as I AM trying to repair my credit, and to my amazement, I was approved!

That is a taste of my path to financial righteousness. I will post more in the future.