“After I graduated college, I was living with my parents and working two steady jobs, and I got to a point of really needing my own car to drive back and forth on my own schedule. At the time, I had decent credit, so I got a pretty good deal on a 10-year-old car from a nearby dealership.
A few months later, I was fired from the better-paying job, and my 6-month grace period on my student loans had ended, and suddenly my bills heavily outweighed my income. I was paying less than the minimum on both my car and my student loans, sometimes even skipping a month entirely. When the collection letters would come in the mail, I’d read them and say “yeah, I know, I owe you $750, I’m working on it,” but I’d never actually contact the collectors to tell them that.
And when they started calling, I’d let it go to voicemail, and make jokes to my friends like, “who would be calling me from Alabama? Must be a wrong number…” but I knew exactly who it was.
I let these things pile up for months, until one day, I woke up and my car was missing. I called the cops, thinking it had been stolen, only to find that it had been reposessed. I was extremely lucky to have a mother who was willing to a) drive me around until I could get it back, b) move around her own money so she could lend me enough to pay off my balance and get my car back, and c) not make me feel any guiltier, dumber, or more ashamed than I already was.
Even with her amazing (and, honestly, undeserved) support, it took two weeks and a lot of unpleasant phone calls to get my car. That was the reality check I needed to get my act in gear and start applying for “grown up” jobs that would actually allow me to pay my bills. I have one of those “grown up” jobs now, and living within my means is still definitely a struggle, but now I’m extra careful to always, always, always pay my automo-bills before they are due and more than the minimum.”
Like The Financial Diet on Facebook here.