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Posted on Feb 3, 2013 | 6 comments

Getting into Debt: How Did We Get Here?

Getting into Debt: How Did We Get Here?

I’ll admit it; none of this is easy for me to share. I don’t want to have to tell people we messed up when it comes to our finances. I don’t want to have to admit how much we are in debt or how we let ourselves get here. None the less, I’m going to share our story to help keep us motivated to get out of debt and maybe during all of it, to be able to help someone else get out of debt. So, how did we get here?

All the Little Things that Lead to Debt

Sometimes, I don’t even want to think about how we got here. Obviously, we weren’t living within our means to get into the debt we have, but it was so much more than that. Sure, we splurged at times. We went out to eat when we shouldn’t. Spent more on stuff we really didn’t need. The list goes on and on. However, there were other things that happened that lead us to where we are today and lead us to becoming AfterGlobe.

Car Issues

First, Drew’s car kept having issues. It wiped out my savings account of over $5000 I had even before we were together to keep fixing it. It sucked. We got to the point that we didn’t want to fix it, anymore.

We couldn’t get rid of it or sell it though because we were still paying off the debt connected to the car. It sat in our driveway for over a year while we made payments on it every month and had to pay full car insurance on it since we had a car loan. It was ridiculous! We were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Finally, Drew bite the bullet and asked to borrow the money from his mom to pay off the car. It was a personal loan that we didn’t want to take on in any shape or form. We just didn’t feel like we had any other choice to pay off the car loan, so we borrowed from Peter to pay Paul. We sill owe Paul.

Losing More than One Source of Income

Besides the car ordeal, we were pretty happy and content in our lives. We’d gotten engaged and were happily planning our wedding on the beautiful island of Maui. Then Drew got laid off. What he was told would be one month, turned into 4 months.

Shortly after this, my daughter’s father also got laid off resulting in the loss of child support. Both of these things greatly affected our finances resulting in a lot more going out then coming in. Our income was more than cut in half with our bills staying the same. How did we make up the difference? Unfortunately, through credit cards.

Debt Kept Growing

Now we had a personal loan and credit card debt that was growing more and more each day between Drew being out of work, the reduction in child support, and wedding expenses. That didn’t even include our mortgage, my school loans, or the additional debt we acquired while restoring our house. Plus, I took on another personal loan when I started my own home based business hoping to bring in some more income for us.

Even once Drew was fully employed, all of our debt continued to grow. I kept telling Drew that we needed to make changes in how we spent our money. He agreed with me, yet we still never did anything to make any changes. We continued to not live within our means and instead get instant gratification from going out all of the time.

My “come to Jesus” moment came to me in December 2012. We were at one of our favorite restaurants and the one card I thought we had room on was declined. I remained calm on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming and frantically trying to figure out how we were going to pay our bill. Yeah, all of our other cards were maxed out by this point. Luckily, a check that we had out hadn’t cleared the bank and we were able to pay the bill. Unfortunately, the check cleared the next day and we had to pay an overdraft fee.

At the moment, I knew it was time to really take a look at our finances and finally get them under control. I wasn’t fully ready to look at them though with Christmas being the following week. I also didn’t really want to think about it. I knew something needed to be done, but instead, I just pushed it back under the rug.

A few days after Christmas, I stated going through our finances. It took me two full days to go through all of it. I gathered all of our debt, expenses, incomes, and anything else related to money coming either in or out of our pocketbooks. Once I had it all in front of me and down on paper the horrible reality of it smacked me in the face and knocked me off my feet. All I wanted to do was cry. But, I didn’t. Instead, I started drafting a plan to get us out of debt and back on track toward financial freedom.

I made us a budget in Google Drive for the next year. Once I put my mind to something, I’ve got to have it. I’m all about tackling things like this head on. I was not about to sit on the sidelines any longer watching our financial situation come crashing down around us.

Getting Everyone on Board

The part I was the most scared of was getting Drew on board. He likes to go out. And by like, I mean, he really, really loves it. I was scared he wouldn’t want to make any lifestyle changes or work towards the goals I had just made for us. Thankfully, those fears were short lived.

Once I sat down with Drew, showed him how much we owed and our whole financial situation he was 100% behind me in wanting to get out of debt. I was actually pretty amazed at how easily he said yes to no longer spending money on wants and no more going out. I really expected him to put up at least a little bit of a struggle. I was so relieved when he didn’t. I guess the whole hard reality right in front of him was exactly what he needed to get on board. It was good I spent those two days getting our finances all in order and creating the budget for 2013.

Making Financial Goals

With a new year quickly approaching, we made the goal to get on a spending fast, no longer throw our money away and get out of debt as quickly as possible starting Jan 2,2013. We had other dreams we wanted in our lives that we would never be able to pursue with so much debt. The American Dream of drowning in debt was only going to continue to hold us back. It was time to jump ship and swim like hell out of that debt.

Have you found yourself in too much debt? Did you ask yourself how did we get here?

About Kimmy Hayes

Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.


  1. Thanks for sharing. So happy that you’ve taken the first step in getting out of debt. Sometimes knowing and admitting that debt a problem and not simply ‘the way the world is’ is all it takes. That first day when you realise that you owe nobody anything is a truly great feeling. You’ll get there! Good luck!
    jill recently posted…Volcano Boarding in NicaraguaMy Profile

    • Welcome to AfterGlobe, Jill. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I agree that much of the US does think being in debt is “the way of the world”. I can’t wait to let that way of the world go and find my new way in the world. While being free of debt. :)

  2. This is not an easy story to tell or admit to, but you’re so right–it’s very important to share. To get the stigma attached to it out in the open so it doesn’t get to rule your life anymore as a “dirty little secret.” I know so many successful, responsible people who have gotten themselves into a similar situation. It is not easy and it takes boatloads of patience and motivation. But with practice, it gets easier, right? We all have to hit our “bottom,” whatever that means to each individual. I came close to paying off my credit card debt so many times, but it wasn’t until I finally reached my breaking point (right before OUR wedding) that I sat down, told Shawn the plan and said, this is what we’re doing. And you know you’re with the right person when he says, Ok, let’s get started.

    I’m really impressed by your story and can’t wait to keep reading!
    Carmel recently posted…MY UNDERWATER FEARFUL ADVENTUREMy Profile

    • Thanks, Carmel. I think admitting the problem is really the first step. Attacking it like crazy the second. We have already made a lot of progress and I’m so proud of it. :)

  3. Wow Kim, this must not be an easy story to share, so thank you for sharing this. I think a lot of people could relate to this story and it’s important to talk about it.


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