Last year, I packed up my belongings, converted my first home into a rental property, and chose to settle 50 miles away to be closer to my parents. My husband and I chose a $179,000 house in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, as our second home. This wasn't our first time buying, so we were aware we'd spend a bit more money over the sticker price. We'd need to buy a few new appliances (and add in closing costs, of course)—but after planning it out, I thought it was going to cost $5,000 more, at most. We lived in a house, we were moving to another house—what could be so expensive?
But by the time I sat down at the settlement table, I was so tickled with the visions I had created in my head of our new future that I had missed a very important part of the picture, the price tag of our dream home was changing—and a lot of it wouldn't be paid over the span of 30 years.
The house we chose was on a dead-end street with a cute park and an elementary school within walking distance. And unlike other ones we looked at, it didn't make me want to tear it down to the studs and start over from scratch. However, there were flaws: We would need to build one bathroom and enclose the carport to make more living space.
We thought that our low mortgage payment and no credit card debt to speak of would allow us to quickly save up, make these renovations, and create our dream home. However, you know what they say about best laid plans. Nine months into living here, we haven't saved much, done any renovations, or changed the home, really. What we have done, though, is rack up nearly $10,000 in credit card debt.
What happened, you ask? Here's how that debt came to be: