On a cold winter evening in January 2018, I was skimming through my credit card statements and suddenly stopped to notice a strange thing. There was this one recurring charge of $18.99 that was applied to my card and I couldn’t nail the source. For someone who never spent time going over his credit card (ignorance :D) but just pays off the entire balance every single month, this was a wake-up call of sorts.
On any other day I would have ignored it as a one-off charge and simply moved on; but not that day. Something inside of me told me, I was ripped off and I definitely needed an answer. What followed was a series of follow up calls with the credit card company and I found out to my horror, this was going on a for a good 14 months! Now you get a picture of how much attention I was paying to my personal finances!
Our newest addition to our family, my son (then 8 months) had fully kept us occupied and my habit of not paying attention to my finances only added fuel to the fire. Discovering this unexpected charge only made us more angry and mad about our carelessness. We couldn’t continue to live the way did. Besides, we really had big aspirations in terms of purchasing our first home in the US and our current state of personal finances were not going to allow us to get there. We had to change!
How did we get here?
Until that fateful day, we were a happy couple spending money without ever thinking where it went. Fortunately, we weren’t short on income. Given our incomes, we were sort of taking it easy and never really looked at how “being in debt” stopped us making the most out of our fabulous income. Like they say, “instead of telling money where to go, we spent it and wondered where it went.”
I had falsely believed that a good credit score was an indicator of wealth. How silly of me! So in order to achieve that perfect score, I had about 7 credit cards to my name including one store card (these are some of the worst cards you can own, more on them in a different post) and bought a car with 72-month loan term. I should have known better that playing the credit score game was never going to allow me to get out of debt since credit score only indicates how much I borrowed and how well I paid it off. I knew I missed something very basic about personal finance.
Even though I earned a 6 figure salary, I hardly had any funds left for emergencies and it freaked me out! It was this feeling you have when you wake up at 2 am in the morning from a dream only to realize the reality could be equally bad. We were just one bad emergency away from going deep into debt. How could I earn so much and still be broke?
I had to crack this code. I had to set my financial house in order. Something had to give.
It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness ~ Confucius
From what started as a curious journey of educating myself about personal finance I found myself getting deeper and deeper into this subject. As days went by, I stumbled upon several books, podcasts, and videos that really helped me understand money really well.
The more I read about the subject of personal finance, the more I felt: “I was a why waiting for a what to happen!”
Stay tuned as I take you on my journey of all the wonderful lessons I learned in my debt free journey.