I’ve been contemplating writing about this for a few months. I felt like I might get a lot of grief for revealing this way big mistake I made with my money.
It’s a doozey.
Then my friend Jessi Fearon from The Budget Mama told a similar story last week, and I thought to myself, “If she can come clean, well so can I.” Thanks Jessi for giving me the courage to share something I wanted to hide.
So, as many of you know, I’ve been caring for my mother who has end stage Lewy Body Dementia for almost six years. The stress of caring for her can be overwhelming at times as was the case back in December when she stopped attending Adult Day Care and was approved for Hospice Services.
The month of December was incredibly stressful, confusing and exhausting. I had countless hospice workers in and out of the house along with a new full-time schedule of staff caring for my mother.
The Personal Care Attendants are excellent, beautiful, caring people but if I heard, “What do you want me to feed your mom?” one more time I think I would have lost my mind.
So imagine my surprise when on the 8th of February the doorbell rang, and it was my mail carrier with a certified letter from my mortgage company.
I opened it, and it was a foreclosure notice on the house.
Now, when I tell you my immediate reaction was, this is bull sh#t, that’s no joke. Since the time I received the first and only foreclosure notice 15 years ago, I have never not paid my mortgage on time. NEVER.
I went to the computer and logged on to my banking software and to my complete and utter shock saw that I had completely forgotten to pay my mortgage in January. My February payment was heading out on the 10th, and the notice came on the 8th.
The only thing I could think of was that my stress level was so through the roof in December that I must have just completely spaced it and never made the payment. So, I got on a call with my mortgage company and told them I was sending payment immediately and that the February payment would be there the next day.
But I went one step further. I explained the situation and asked if they would remove this late notice from my credit score. They could clearly see that I had a stellar record of payment with them and I had never missed a payment in the past. I asked if they would consider the request to remove the late notice from my credit report. They instructed me to send a letter explaining the situation, gave me the fax number to send it along with copies of the credit report showing the late notices and they would review it.
I received notification last week they removed the late payment from my credit report.
I tell you this story and accept any scolding you’d like to send my way for three reasons:
1. Sometimes we make mistakes with our money. Life is stressful and despite our best intentions, sometimes we screw up. We’re all human.
2. Most of the time these screw ups can be fixed.
3. Inside every mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Despite the fact I’ve worked hard over the last 15 years to pay off my debt, increase my savings and improve my credit score (it was 801 last time I checked it) I made a mistake. It could have been a costly mistake too, but I didn’t loose my cool and just asked the company if there was any way to rectify the situation.
You know what else I did?
I took complete responsibility for the mistake. I didn’t call them up and start yelling at them they were wrong, etc. I confirmed the situation and came up with a game plan. I paid them immediately and assured them the other payment, which was already in process was on its way and would arrive the next day. Then I made sure I did what I could to repair the damage to my credit report and maintain my stellar relationship with my mortgage company.
Look, sometimes life gets the best of us. We succumb to the strain of our lives, the stress of a difficult situation and the exhaustion of just trying to put one foot in front of the other.
It’s not the end of the world. This won’t be my last money mistake of that I’m sure. Of course, I’ll do my best to try and not make another serious blunder like I did, but there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again.
So if you find yourself doing your best to get out of debt and improve your financial situation, realize that sometimes life throws a curve ball at your finances, and the best you can do is to just try and catch it before it goes over your head.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are some fantastic reads from around the web:
11 Habits of People Who Are Debt Free – A Debt Free Mess Free Life
This is a great list to follow if you’re serious about getting out of debt. Learning the habits of people who are debt free is what helped me when I was getting out of debt and it can help you too!
12 Mistakes I Made When Paying Off Debt – Believe In A Budget
I paid over $7500 of debt, but I made plenty of mistakes along the way. Here is a list of 12 mistakes I made while paying off debt so you won’t have to.
How To Live Debt Free In A Debt-Filled World – Sarah Titus
Several years ago, I looked at this mountain of debt totaling a good $30k. I saw my bills, I looked at the massive amount I owed, and thought to myself… Where did it all go? When I looked around, I didn’t see anything worth a lot. I had a car, but it was on loan.
16 Money Mistakes To Stop Making in 2016 – Frugal Debt Free Life
I wanted to share 16 money mistakes we ALL should stop making in 2016. And some of these apply to me. Just because we are a frugal family who insists on paying cash for everything doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes.
The Money Mistakes Happy Couples Avoid – Frugal Living Mom
No one is perfect, and in even the happiest relationships, people make mistakes. The most common mistakes couples make involve money. Finances can be stressful for you and your partner. Avoiding these five mistakes will help make life better for both of you.