Looking Up

Recently, my husband and I made the decision to refinance our house. We first started talking about this in September, after a couple friends of mine mentioned to me that they did something similar with the purpose of getting money to pay off credit cards and such. They now make one mortgage payment and that’s it, no more throwing money at credit card balances and never getting anywhere because of the interest rates and finance charges.

Until July, we had always had separate banking accounts. When we got married, I didn’t like the idea of joining all our money together for the simple reason that my husband was a known big spender. If he wanted something, he usually went right out and got it. This included new computers, trucks, and little things too. Knowing this, I chose to keep my money separate from his. We divided up the bills, and each of us paid those from our own accounts. It worked well enough, for a while.

When I was young, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get credit cards and go crazy with them. And I didn’t for quite a while after we were married. I only bought things if I had the money for it. Then I tried to buy my first car that didn’t have my dad’s name on it, just mine. And I found out that I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have any credit, and I still had to get my dad or my husband to cosign on it! So my intentions with the first card that I got was solely to establish credit so the next time I wanted to do something like that on my own I could.

Fast forward to early 2001. I had realized the convenience of just swiping the plastic when I went shopping. I was still okay at that point, and it was really no big deal. But then my first little baby decided he wanted to attempt an early entrance into the world, and we got nervous because we didn’t yet have all the baby stuff we needed for him. In fact, we had very little baby stuff at that time…and my husband immediately went out and got all the baby’s furniture and the necessary things that we HAD to have, yep and it all went on credit cards. I was on bedrest and didn’t have much sick time built up, so when our baby decided he wanted to stay in his mommy for another 8 weeks, I blew through what little time I did have quickly, and all of a sudden I had NO money coming in. J. was doing his best to pay all the bills on his own, and yet we still had to eat! So things like groceries, gas, and such as that went where? You guessed it, on credit cards. And dang it, nobody ever told me having kids was so darn expensive! It was always one thing or another.

It’s no secret that J. and I had a lot of trouble this past year. In July, we made the committment to work things out and along with that, we decided that one step in that direction was to finally come together on our finances. We had both reached the point that we were just making ends meet, which was completely ridiculous when you think about how much money the two of us make together. We opened up a joint account, and we pooled our money. We both kept the separate accounts, so we each have a little extra spending money for our own things, like if I want to go to dinner with some friends, or if we want to buy each other a gift or something.

The first month was fine. August and September though, I distinctly remember sitting at the table with bills stacked around as we paid them together. And there were some things we had to pay late, and that killed me. I was so baffled at how, separately, we were both paying our bills and getting by, and now jointly, it seemed like we couldn’t do that. We stuck with it though, and when I heard about the refinancing thing, I practically harassed my husband until he said we could check into it.

And so. Long story short, we are closing on the refinancing of the house this afternoon. I am so looking forward to getting that money in the next week or so, paying off all those blasted credit cards we have, and closing those accounts as soon as we can. When we first began talking to the people about this, we discovered that once we get the cards paid off and closed, we will actually have almost $400 more every month than we’ve been having. I am extremely close to paying off my Jeep, so we have toyed with the idea of putting half of that extra money towards that to pay it off sooner, and the rest we save. Once my Jeep is paid off, that will be over $700 every month extra that we have. So I’m sure you can see why I’m so excited about this! Things are finally looking up.

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