What a difference 6 months can make.
In January, we were informed by our mortgage company that despite all of our best efforts to reduce our bills to the lowest possible, cut our spending down to nothing but the necessities, and do everything we were supposed to do… the economy had taken it’s toll on our finances. We were given two options: Wait it out until our bank accounts were completely dry and our credit wrecked then go into foreclosure, or we could try a short sale. (If you don’t know what a short sale is, check out this YouTube video, I’ll wait.)
What a lousy choice. Either way, we would be losing our home. It had been our home for 7 years, the longest we’d been in one spot in our entire 15 years of marriage! This was not easy to hear.
For what it’s worth, I meant it when I said we had done everything we were supposed to do. We had worked hard and paid off both cars while the military was providing housing. When we paid off a car, the payment went into a separate bank account so we could “pay ourselves” and build up a nice savings account. Our credit was excellent. We paid off our credit card every month and were never late with a bill payment. We even planned well when we bought the house, so that our mortgage payment would equal what we knew DH’s military retirement check would be – that way the mortgage would always be paid. DH got a full-time job at JCP when he retired from the military, and we continued to save what we could. When JCP started to decline fast under Ron Johnson, DH was a casualty. He got laid off from his full-time position. We immediately took measures to cut our bills to the barest minimum possible. Then several Obamacare regulations kicked in, including the one that effectively reduced part-time hours to 29 a week instead of 39. DH was able to find a part-time job with Big Lots, thanks to a good friend. But you can’t support a family of five on 29 hours a week. So we cut every penny out of the budget that we could, and started enforcing strict energy & water usage rules. Then the City Council raised our property taxes and our water bill by 10%.
We filed a hardship packet with our lender, and in the process spoke to two different credit counselors & walked them through our budget. Both were blown away by how tight we’d managed to make our budget, and neither could find a single thing to cut or reduce any further. We were done for. We’d already burned through so much of that nice savings accounts, we would be lucky to make it another 6 months.
I can already hear you asking, “But, where’s the blessing in this? You’ve lost your home, you’re pretty much broke, how is this good?” Stay tuned for part 2.