And I hit rock bottom

I started my slide into my debt lifestyle (here and here) and after college it just got worse.  I graduated in May 2008 and couldn’t find a job.  Part of it was the economy and part of it was me being comfortable where I was at.  I had transferred to a retail store to live with my ex because I was just too lazy to figure anything else out.  I was going to go back to school in order to finish off my other degree but never did. (Thankfully! I can only imagine the horrible school debt I’d have if I hadn’t decided to just stick with what I have.) But this is when I really crashed.  It was my rock bottom.  And I know it’s not as bad as it could have been but to me it was and still is my lowest point.

 

 

Here are some highlights from that time:

1)      Bought books from the bookstore I worked at.  Why? Because of the discount!  I just had to buy something every single day I worked.  Yes, you read that right. Every day I worked-not every pay day or every Friday.  And it was usually just an armful of stuff that looked good so I wanted to check it out.  I’m currently reading through these and some I’m just flabbergasted at why I bought.

2)      Not finding a second job.  I knew I needed more money because I “had none” (or you know, I spent it all on books every day!) but barely sent  my resume out to anyone or even tried for a second part time job in the mall I worked at.

3)      Continuing to use my credit cards even though I could barely make a minimum payment.  I was that girl at the register in front of you handing over 3 cards to get a $25 purchase.  Or smiling and taking back the “wrong” card that I thought I had “lost and canceled” and handing over the “correct” one.  Really it was just a game of “did that payment go through? Did they not put through that gas purchase yet?”

4)      Not moving back home when my mother was sick.  Instead, I’d take off 3 or 4 days at a time (sometimes a week or so) because I needed to be with her. And yes, I did need to be with her.  That is something I will NEVER regret doing but if I would have moved back home, I could have transferred and not missed as much work as I did.  This cost me paychecks (or at least good chunks of them) and huge credit card bills.  I had to have gas, food, and pay bills right?

5)      Not calling my student loan companies more.  I had all of my student loans go into default because I wasn’t making enough for a payment—which I wasn’t making enough for a big payment like they wanted but I should have put them into forbearance and not just ignored them.  Communication is key—well, part of a key.  The other part would have been showing them the fact I didn’t have a lot of income and working out a good payment schedule that could have worked for the both of us.

That’s the five mistakes I made while out of college.  Okay the five biggest ones!  I’m sure I have more (okay I know I do) but those really stand out to me.   I’m fixing them slowly and feeling pretty darn good about myself though.  Even though I made the mistakes, I’m owning up to them and getting them fixed.  And, as always, hopefully someone reading this won’t make the same mistake I did.

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45 Comments on “And I hit rock bottom”

  1. mycanuckbuck says:

    Hey bog – wow, that was a pretty fine mess. :P. The important part is you’re fixing them. I think it’s normal to feel lost and unmotivated once you graduate – particularly in a bad economy without a job being easily available.I had a few friends who went through the exact same thing!

    • bogofdebt says:

      What can I say? I’m wonderful at getting myself into fine messes? 😉 I also had an issue where I felt entitled to take a “break” but I shouldn’t have. Knowing that know doesn’t really help me but it does help me stay motivated!

  2. Michelle says:

    I did something similar when I worked in retail. I would ALWAYS buy clothes when I worked. It was extremely rare if I didn’t buy something. And on the days when I didn’t buy something, I was actually upset.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I know what you mean. I’d leave the store empty handed and actually want to turn back because I felt I needed something that I bought. Didn’t matter what it was but I absoulutly needed it.

  3. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve never worked retail, but I had a habit of visiting friends who were working at the mall and I would walk out with a ton of clothes that I didn’t need. Either my friends were really good salespeople or I couldn’t say no to my friends.

  4. Cait says:

    Oh, do I ever know what you mean about buying books… If I could total up every order I’ve placed on Amazon, I would probably be sick. It’s been a year or so now, since I’ve ordered anything… but I used to buy a couple books every week or so. Not worth it. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. I never worked in retail, but I am sure if I did, the temptation would be there to buy stuff, especially knowing that I would be getting a discount. I would most likely buy things for others as well.

    Be proud of yourself for realizing your mistakes and taking steps to fix it. Some people live in denial for many many years, so congrats for waking up!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Oh it was great for Christmas shopping–or so I said 😉 It’s funny to think that it was only 3 years ago (or round abouts) and I’ve been working on getting out of debt for about a year now. I’m glad it didn’t take too long for me to wake up!

  6. The first step of fixing your problems is acknowledging them! I think you are doing great!!!!

  7. queenlbee says:

    Great story-you always get so personal on here and I love it. I love that you mentioned CALLING YOUR STUDENT LOAN COMPANIES. It’s so, so important. I remember I had been working a year and got laid off and they let me put my loan back into forebearance due to economic hardship. They will work with you and our readers should know that.

    • bogofdebt says:

      They will–as long as you call them before you miss a payment or two…or three! I try to reiterate that to friends–I already made the mistake so they don’t have to! And when I was talking to them a few months ago and mentioned the story behind why they were in default, they all asked why I hadn’t called before. Communication is key in so many aspects of your life as I’ve found out.

  8. Katie says:

    I always say I could never work at a bookstore, as much as I would love to, since I would just try to buy the whole store. I did that while working at Express though so I know how that goes.

    It’s helpful to look back and see some concrete examples of what not to do or lessons learned. If you can learn from it, then it’s not all bad. Good for you for trying to fix things!

    • bogofdebt says:

      I’ve been kicking around trying to find a part time job but the only one I would really want to work at is my local bookstore. I’m holding back from that for now for obvious reasons! I don’t trust myself fully yet!

  9. The important part is you learned from your mistakes! It would be nice if we could all go back in time, armed with the knowledge we know now, and change our lives. But who knows where we’d be now? You are prob so much smarter than you would have been if you hadn’t made these mistakes =) And that goes for all of us! Have you tried selling those books on Amazon maybe?

    • bogofdebt says:

      I actually go into my local book store and sell for credit. This way I can buy those select books I want and rent some movies without having to pay for postage. The in bad shape ones (they aren’t terrible but aren’t the storeworthy) I donate to the library for their booksales.
      And yes–I always think that I’m smarter for going through the experiences I have.

  10. It’s good to acknowledge where you’ve been so you can see your present and future more clearly. Good for you for recognizing that. We all have our own version of rock bottom so we understand!

  11. Everyone makes mistakes. Regretting them is futile. You learned and grew from them, and really, if you didn’t make those mistakes then would you be where you are now? Probably not. It’s great that you can recognize where you went wrong.

  12. seedebtrun says:

    I have made a bit of money in recent years selling off of some of my used books.. I went through them one by one and asked myself “Do I think that I will read this again in the next 5 years”, and if the answer was “No”.. I listed them on eBay or Half.com.

    I don’t think you should beat yourself up about the financial you hit for choosing to spend that time with your mom, when she was in need. It was the right call, and I am sure you would make it again.

    jefferson

    • bogofdebt says:

      Oh I don’t and I would. A lot of people ask me if she would have wanted me to do what I did and the answer is “probably not but I did it anyways and would do it again.” That time meant more to me than a paycheck or buying items. I just wish I would have transfered closer to her–it would have been easier to see her. (I only lived 4 hours away but that’s quite a bit of driving.)

  13. kathleen says:

    This was beautiful. Seriously. You are brave for writing so honestly — and really? There is something positive to the bottom — you have nowhere to go but up from here!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thank you very much! I appreciate honesty so I figured readers would too–and after all, I couldn’t be in this much debt without having some mistakes right? (Well, I suppose I could but I don’t see how).

  14. I love the fact you put this out there for all to see!

    People make and have made these mistakes day in day out for too long. I think one of the only good things to come out of this financial crisis is that the lack of available credit is making it harder for people to get into serious debt!

    Keep up the hard work getting your problems sorted and don’t stop writing about it. It will inspire others to confront their problems too!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Thank you! I’d rather less people make the same mistakes that I did but no one will know the mistakes (and the repercussions that come about from those mistakes)if I don’t share them.

  15. belowhermeans says:

    Our slightly younger selves sound so alike it’s eerie.

  16. I like that you emphasis keeping in contact with your creditors…..it’s surprising how understanding some of your creditors will be if you simply call them and tell them your situation.

    • bogofdebt says:

      That was a surprising twist I found out–if you tell someone an issue, they will listen. (Okay most of the time) But I didn’t think they would care and when I hear all of the companies asking me why I didn’t let them know sooner, it really gets me. Hopefully someone will read this and not make the same mistake.

  17. Bridget says:

    Ouch!

    …..been there =\ lol I remember working as a server through my undergrad, and I would spend all my tips on the weekends. All of it. I just went to the mall and blew it all. It didn’t matter if I had $30 or $300 I just felt like I had to get rid of it as fast as I could for some reason. It was awful. I hate thinking about how much I wasted.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I won’t add up my amazon orders during those years because I know it’s going to be a lot and I don’t want to see how much I spent uselessly.

  18. Oh the bookstore one is one I worry about! I’ve been thinking about trying to find a side gig like that, but working in a clothing or bookstore (or worse, a running store!) would be so bad, I’d spend everything I earned!

    As or the time spent with your Mom, that I understand. Family first.

    • bogofdebt says:

      That’s exactly why I am hesitant about the finding a part time job–the only places I’d want to work at involve clothes or books. Two very scary places for me to have access to money!

  19. I know it’s probably hard to share your failures but I appreciate your honesty and hopefully will learn from you and not make the same mistakes.
    Chase

  20. […] I touched upon in my post about financial mistakes after college  was the regret I didn’t try to move closer to home and transfer work places when my mom was […]

  21. […] {Bog of Debt} wrote about her rock bottom. It’s so well-written that when reading it, you know exactly how she felt. In fact, you really should read every darn thing she wrote this week — her writing is amazing. […]

  22. […] Bog of Debt, I read about a college experience almost identical to my own. Well worth the […]

  23. Mike says:

    I’ve been fortunate to have a great paying job for many years, but I’ve also had the unfortunate habit of spending what I’ve made, so I’m well behind where I’d like to be at my age. We’ve had a ton of great experiences, but too many were made on the backs of debt. So, at least you’ve figured this out now and you are making the change. My first visit to your site, but I’ll be back! I’m also blogging my own efforts and am also aiming at transparency! Take care!

  24. […] And I hit rock bottom on Bog Of Debt […]

  25. I worked at an Athletics World one xmas and bought 4 pairs of soccer cleats and a few pairs of shoes for my then- bf. I quit when i noticed I pay them money to work there.

    • bogofdebt says:

      That was really the news flash for me on why I cannot work in a book store. I’m not getting paid-I’m paying them! The really bad part is when my paycheck was less than what I spent at the store that weekend.


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