Thursday, February 7, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel

Y'all, I can see a LIGHT. The past 12 to 15 months have been very very dark for us. There was simply not enough money to go around and we had to play the choices game: which bills would get paid this month, which could we delay, put off preventive maintenance for the house and car, run up credit card balances to keep food on the table. No matter how we ran the numbers, what should have been able to cover expenses just didn't. It was maddening. It was frustrating. And it beat us down. To have to tell your kids that they can't attend a friend's birthday party because you couldn't afford to buy a present? That may have been the lowest I ever felt. We made sure that the kids had what they needed and we did without; my wonderful mother in law may have helped us with groceries a time or two, a gesture that nearly drove me to tears because I AM AN ADULT. I am supposed to be able to handle this. The juggling act became frantic and by November we were desperate. There was no way out that either of us could see...until we saved our sanity and our marriage by opening the mail.

It was a simple flyer from Quicken Loans but it planted the seed of an idea in both of our heads; the mortgage on our 3-bedroom townhouse was killing us. We had bought at practically the height of the housing boom when a scant 2 years later, the bottom fell out and we were left owing more than the house was worth like so many people. Then came the kids and once Noah was in full time day care, our outlay was more than $3500 for those two things alone. Dyl's a hard worker but I make double his salary which isn't saying a whole lot. The situation quickly went from uncomfortable to strained to completely untenable. So after the kids were in bed one night, I broached the idea of trying to refinance the mortgage. Rates were incredibly low, we should be able to lower our payment and gain some breathing room and he had come to the same conclusion. We were no worse off if we didn't try. The very next day I initiated contact with Quicken Loans and within a week had a team of great people working to help us. They set us up with a personalized website that would be the primary communication tool making it easy to send required documentation. Sure, there were some setbacks like the needing to take on PMI as the home appraisal didn't come back high enough to cover 80% of the value of the loan but that was okay, it was still less than what we were already paying. Other roadblocks appeared such as confusion over a certain Note from the previous refinancing and how much we needed to bring to closing but those were dealt with and last night, we signed the papers (and signed and signed and signed) that will be the key to our salvation. 

Things are looking up: we have a lower mortgage payment now, I received a nice bonus and we've been able to aggressively pay down one of our credit cards. The breathing room from the not having another payment due until April will help us attack the others and build up our savings again. Our property tax will go down July 1st as we lost another $45,000 in our property value (and you can be certain I will be watching that number like a hawk) and we should get a decent tax refund. I am determined that we will never go through this hell again. The stress nearly destroyed us and would have if we didn't finally own up to needing help and then going to find it. Good things can happen if you are willing to ask.

Next weekend, Noelle will be going to her first friend's birthday party since starting kindergarten. That may be the piece of all this that makes me happiest.


  1. What a relief!! You must be breathing again!

  2. Glad to hear things are looking better for you guys! I understand and feel your pain immensely.


Do or do not. There is no try.