I'm 49 years old. My husband is 58 and we have been married for 29 years...We have both always worked hard.. a full 40 hours or more a week. We have one son who is now 18. We have never been able to get to far ahead with our finances. I worked as a certified nursing assistant in nursing homes and my husband as a maintenance supervisor in nursing home. We have always had medical insurance. Thank God!
2000 was our best year. We bought our first new car and our first house. For a few years we didn't seem to have many money problems.. But once we bought our house we were slammed every week from banks wanting us to take their credit cards.. three or four offers a week. Before we had our home we never had any credit cards but we gave in and took the bait to some department store in the mall and a few major credit cards.. we said it was ok to use them just for emergencies...
The emergency happened in February 2003 when I was working at my work as a c.n.a. and hurt my back...a herniated disc that sent shooting pain down my left leg. I was immediately put on disability and was scheduled for back surgery.
So now money was short and we began using the credit cards for gas, food and Christmas gifts. As time went on with me on disability for three years and I was told I could never work as a C.N.A. again I became very depressed, which led to me taking longer to heal and find a new job...
Now we could see this housing bubble and we could see that we couldn't continue making our house payment on just my husband's paycheck and survive on credit cards and my disability checks. So we decided to sell the house before we lost it.. Oct. 2005 we sold our house and put all our stuff in storage and lived for months in a one bedroom apartment. We had no Christmas that December. We found a 3 bedroom house to rent in February 2006 for $1200 a month. We were still buying groceries and all our gas on credit cards. In November 2006 I found a job-- low paying $9.00 an hour, 6 hours a day. Now I have a job and I'm off of disability and feeling better for the first time since my injury.
We hoped that we could leave our money shortage behind and pull out of our recession. But we were in deep credit card debt. We spent all year cutting back. First to go was the cable tv... then eating out at fast foods. We stopped buying presents for birthdays and anniversaries . When Christmas of '07 came we had another "no Christmas." After Christmas, everything began to snowball. Since I need to drive all day for my job..(I am a support staff for mentally and physically disabled adults in a day program,) my car was using to much gas Lucky to get14 mpg. We traded off my car and got a new car with better gas milage.20 mpg. with a car payments now. Gas has been going up every week in America so in order to keep our tanks filled to get to work we had to make some more cuts in other areas in our budget ..now ..no lunches at work and less food in the house.
We had to file for bankruptcy in January of 08..Today we are broke as ever..no credit cards for gas and foods to get buy on. we can't make it from paycheck to paycheck any more. Today my husband and I decide we can't make it any longer in California and maybe the best thing to do is split up. He needs to keep his job and my son and I will move back to Illinois to live in the basement at my 75 year old mother's home, who, by the way, just took in my nephew, his wife and their 1 year old son. My mom said "we use to all live together and sleep 4 to a bed in the depression we can do it again." "We can all pull our money".
If my back holds up I will start a small garden and my mom can teach me to can our food. My husband, well, he will find an apartment close to his work. We figure we may be separated a few years. I hope I can find a job in Illinois, but my mom says there is no work there. The only thing keeping us from pulling off our new plan is we are too broke to move. Illinois is 2000 miles away we can't afford a u-haul truck to put all the stuff in. plus gas to move. Now we are waiting for the Bush stimulus rebate check so we can move. But that won't be enough either.
When I look back over these past years I think. What did we do wrong? We had our hopes and dreams to "live the American dream" we worked hard we wanted to own our home, retire and play with our grandchildren as we grow old. Why didn't it happen?
Well, good luck America as you go through this so called recession. Cuz this family has already been there...we are already in the depression.
I just felt like telling my story. You can find me on myspace
pamela's protest at http://www.myspace.com/radicallysaved59