I was 8 (almost 9) months pregnant with Bennett. I was at the grocery store buying gifts and supplies for Simon’s birthday party that night. Simon was really into Ninja Turtles that year and so I was purchasing soda and beer for all the pizza we would consume. Earlier in the day, we had also purchased a trampoline for Simon.
My debit card was denied. Before I left, I had asked Matt if there was money in the account. He assured me there was.
I apologized to the clerk and ran the credit card.
I was so ashamed.
It was the first time I had ever had something denied. I’m not going to lie, I grew up in a family of privilege. I was used to getting what I wanted. I was used to always having money in the bank.
The previous year and through summer school, I had worked full-time as a teacher at the deaf school. Bennett was born that August and so I immediately went on maternity leave. I also had resigned my teaching contract to only work part-time. So the full-time check we were used to the previous year? Cut in half. I milked my maternity leave for all it’s worth and refused to return to work at six weeks. My paychecks were practically nothing.
Our checkbook was in a constant state of red. We had no money. Everything kept bouncing onto our credit card. We had overdraft protection and any time our account was short, even just $10, money would be transferred over from our credit card. Every overdraft came with more fees.
We were paying for Matt’s student loans, a car payment, and suddenly a huge credit card bill.
That winter, in desperation, we packed all our things and moved in with my sister. Matt got a new job and so we decided to attend a Dave Ramsey class. I really didn’t want to go. But finally gave in because I felt like we had nothing left to lose. We didn’t even have our own place to live. The class began in April and by the following June we cut up our credit cards. We canceled the overdraft protection. We pulled out cash and changed our spending habits.
Tonight Matt called the bank and made the last $407 payment.
It took us 21 months.
I am not ashamed anymore.
$28,294.00 has been paid in full.