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No. of Recommendations: 8
I happily learned early that LAYM is not the way to go. I grew up in much the same situation as bookgrrl. My parents split when I was 8, and my mom raised us below the poverty level - living on a meager child support and her wages as a child care worker. I was on my own for college and since I had a scholarship - it wasn't a big deal. Well, my senior year in college came and I decided that I needed a car. I took out a student loan - paid cash for the car and life went on.

Well, then my DH and I got married. We were both in school and so whenever things got tight - money was just another student loan away. In November 1997, we bought a new car and sold my old one to my brother. We now had a $11,000 loan to pay as well as all of the student loans that were in deferral. In December 1997, my husband fell while we were hiking in Pheonix and while we were on the less than adequate University Medical Plan. Well, several months of ER visits, surgeries, physical therapy visits, and hospital visits later - we had hit bottom. We had borrowed money from my mom to pay off medical bills that were going to charge us 18% and the rest we were just paying the minimum on. That is when we changed our ways. I didn't find this board until a while after that.

Luckily I was graduating with my Master's degree that year, and even though DH had another couple of years - I managed to secure a pretty good paying job. We lived on about less than half of our after-tax income for almost two years and paid back everything - most with interest. Then we started to save for a house. We would never go back to the months of stress we had when we owed over 18 different people. I would spend almost an entire day every month calling different doctor's offices, radiologists, etc. to negotiate an amount that I could pay that month. After living on so little for so long, we sort of got in the habit. Plus, it's kind of fun to see your net worth go up each month in Quicken.
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