I remember the early days of my adult hood. I was young, free, and naïve. In those days, I had two credit cards to build my non-existent credit history and a store card from Old Navy so I could get a great discount off my work clothes. I was 24, single, and working a great job in corporate America.
I spent freely in the cafeteria when vendors came in daily with clothes, socks (I bought TONS of colorful socks), perfumes, jewelry, and other baubles. Those were also the days that I paid my car insurance off for the whole year so I wouldn’t have to bother remembering to pay the bill every month. My credit score was 800 and the only thing held against me was my lack of credit history. Those were the days….
After working in that job for a year, I wanted to go back to school. By that time I had an Associate’s degree and was determined to get my Bachelor’s. I honestly had no real goal or direction. I just cared about getting this degree that I felt I was somehow denied by circumstances out of my control! The details are another story for another article.
I had some savings, but unfortunately I developed migraines a few months before leaving which caused me to miss a lot of work days. These absences greatly diminished my pay and so I wasn’t financially prepared to pay for school on my own.
The sad part is that I wasn’t concerned about paying for school. Because I knew I would do well, I assumed that my academic achievements would make me eligible for scholarships and I would be okay. I didn’t mind starting off with a loan, believing that I wouldn’t be taking out loans the whole time. Boy was I WRONG. I did do well – I graduated summa cum laude with a 3.9 something GPA. And in my time at Rutgers, I received no scholarships or grants.
So I took out loans for school and board, and I was planning my wedding during the last 3 semesters. At this point I was using my credit cards to pay for my groceries and other needs, and we relied heavily on my credit cards in planning for the wedding. This is when I started feeling the yoke of debt start to stifle me. I found out what it was like for credit card companies to suddenly change my interest rates and lower my credit limits.
The rest is history. I left school with around $30,000 of loan debt (most of which was from my student loans) and my credit card debt was tied so much with Khaleef’s at that point that I don’t know where mine ended and his began.
Now I just feel like a slave yearning to be free.
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