In high school and over summers off from college, I worked for my Dad at his business. I learned a couple of important things. First, it’s very possible that manual labor is not my cup of tea when it comes to work. Second, while I might not have enjoyed the work all the time, I now have some good skills that I can use in my home. Third, even if you don’t like your job, work equals money, and that’s a good thing.
You see, working for my dad got me a few nice things. I was able to pay a little money into college (though I wish I’d paid more). I got a car in high school that I paid for completely. The other thing I paid for? A diamond ring which I used to propose to my wife. I wouldn’t trade those summers of work for anything (particularly the latter) because the work was worth what I earned. Now it seems I’m back in the same position.
I was excited when I got the job I have now, working in radio. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since high school, and I thought that it meant I could put jobs like working for my dad behind me forever. Except I have this problem, and it’s called debt. My wife and I both accumulated some student loan debt from the college where we met, we owe on our car, and on our house. I think the worst offender is our credit card, something I told myself I wouldn’t use and then kept using for emergencies (a terrible way to use a credit card by the way). Stack all that up with basic needs and we’re scraping by at our place, but not comfortably.
We could continue to make minimum payments and eventually pay it all off, possible just in time to watch our kids grow up, leave the house, and end up in the same situation we’re in now. I find that option totally unacceptable. We’re currently enrolled in a Financial Peace class where I’m learning some new things, being reminded of old things, and most importantly getting a plan and accountability to stop doing the same run-around and get out of debt. At this point, I’m realizing that if I want to stop doing what’s necessary to just get by, I’m going to need another job. In today’s economy (and the time of year) that’s a daunting task going up against college students and those who are unemployed. Plus it means facing the fact that I wont’ be around as much for a bit and will probably be exhausted a good amount of the time.
So I’m just going to keep my eye on the goal. Someday, I’m going to cut my budget in half because I don’t owe anyone money anymore, and then I’ll be able to hang out as much as I want with friends and family, actually go on vacation, and buy my wife something awesome (maybe a re-visit trip to Puerto Vallarta) for our anniversary. Until then, it’s time to dive back in to looking at job applications.
Note: I’ll probably give an updated every once in a while as I find more work or eliminate debts. If you’d like more regular updates in our journey out of debt, visit my wife’s blog where she shares about family and efforts to save money (and cute pictures of our daughter).