Good Things Come to Those Who Have Debt

I am so tired of being penalized for being financially responsible. My husband and I have made a commitment to pay off our house as fast as we possibly can. We put every extra penny towards the principle on our loan each month. We’ve cut cable TV, cell phones, entertainment expenses, dining out expenses, and we even sold one of our vehicles to slash insurance, gas, and maintenance expenses.

I guess you could call me crazy when I contacted our mortgage company today to see if they would lower our interest rate. I thought they might be willing to reward a customer who has never missed a payment, always pays on time, has excellent credit, and even pays extra towards the principle of the loan. What on earth was I thinking-a mortgage company reward a loyal customer? Yeah right!

So the loan servicing officer I spoke with, we’ll just call her Rosie, asked me right off if I had a financial hardship. I explained to Rosie that we were not interested in getting out of the loan. We are committed to paying back our debt in full. I told Rosie that things would be much easier if our payments were lower, and thus, I was inquiring about possibly getting a lower interest rate.

She then spent the next twenty minutes asking questions about our finances. I answered all of them openly and honestly but I couldn’t help but notice that my frugal ways were leading me down yet another punishing path.

Rosie: “How much do you spend each month on cable TV?”

Me: “We cut that so we could pay for the house.”

Rosie: “How much do you spend on the weekends for entertainment?”

Me: “We don’t.”

Rosie: “How much do you spend on car insurance?”

Me: “Only $69/month, but that’s because we became a one car family to better our financial situation.”

Rosie: “How much do you spend each month on cell phone service?”

Me: “We cut that too so we could be responsible and pay our mortgage every month.”

I could go on and on. I knew in the first few minutes that we would never be considered for financial hardship. I am one of the most frugal people I know. I just don’t spend unless it is a necessity, and when I do spend on necessities, I find the best bargain around. For instance, I only spend $160 per month on groceries for a family of four. Call me out if you want, but I think that’s well below average.

At the end of the financial hardship analysis, Rosie told me that we should have approximately $900 per month surplus. I said “We do, and we put it into retirement accounts and college savings accounts for our kids.” Apparently investing for the future doesn’t count for anything.

So, I told Rosie that I would sign up for cable TV, sign an expensive cell phone contract, buy a second vehicle, blow a bunch of money on entertainment this weekend, and quit my job, then call her back and see how things look from there.

I’ll be honest. I was upset when I got off the phone with Rosie. So often I feel like there is no reward for my efforts to be frugal and save money for the good of my family. I ask myself why I even bother. It would be so much easier to just spend, spend, spend.

After pouting for a few minutes, I remembered that the money I’m getting angry about isn’t even mine. Everything I have belongs to God, and He has entrusted me with it and expects me to be a wise steward of His blessings. He is the Lord of everything, and He is in control of everything. He determines how much money I have. God used my conversation with Rosie to remind me that doing what is right in His eyes is what is important. That’s why I budget and save like I do. God wants me to use His money wisely, and if I do that, He will entrust me with more.

Although I often feel unrewarded, I know that I will someday receive the ultimate reward in Heaven when I’m standing in front of Jesus and He says “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.” Until then, I’ll continue to clip coupons, shop the clearance racks, and share the car with my husband. And I’ll try really hard to do it all with a smile on my face!

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Comments 39 comments

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Shawna, I sympathize. Being frugal doesn't pay.

You might also consider not saving for your kids' college. When it comes time for your kids to apply for stipends, they may not qualify if you've got savings.


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

You are better off and should be rewarded. Amazingly, banks can blow billions of dollars and get a trillion dollar bailout, but for those of us who paid down the mortgage payments, didn't take horrible loans, all we get is $400. Doesn't seem right regardless of political affiliation.

Good Hub and thanks for sharing.


St.James profile image

St.James 7 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

It is time to restructure the financial instutions throughout the world. If you don't believe me, look at our economy right now. The world is colllapsing because of greed, and arrogance. Bad business, cheating and lying and who is being punished? good, responsible people.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

It sounds frustrating for your family.

But I think, perhaps, it is better to be financially stable and be able to save for retirement, etc, than not?


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

Oooooohhh!! Very good hub, Shawna. Isn't it funny how responsibility sometimes seems to be a donwnfall? I think people get so used to ir-responsibility, that they don't know how to handle anyone otherwise.

Good thing God pulled you out of your funk, huh? No need to let the mortgage company ruin a perfectly good day, I say!!!

This is excellent!!


Kim 7 years ago

I had a very similar experience myself recently...it's so maddening! Thanks for the reminder that it all belongs to God anyway...we're just stewards...it's so easy to lose sight of that in the everyday business of life!


Rhelena profile image

Rhelena 7 years ago

It is sad how the world has turned around and decided to reward the irresponsible instead of those who are responsible.

I had someone call me the other day about lowering my interest rates and I got all excited...they asked how much debt I had besides my mortgage and when I told the lady the amount which wasn't much she said there was nothing she could do for me! What a messed up system!

It's a game and if we keep doing what we're doing...we'll win eventually!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Wow-what great comments!

Aya-Great to hear from you. Since I can't guarantee that my kids will get scholarships or stipends, I think it's important to save money for college. I sure hope they do get some financial assistance though!

Bgpappa-I know we're better off being financially responsible...I just get frustrated sometimes with the system and today was one of those days. Thanks for stopping by.

St.James-I believe you for sure. I wish there was something we could do to change things, but I think it's out of the peoples' hands, don't you?

LondonGirl-yes, it's definitely better to be financially stable. It's just frustrating that people who made poor financial choices and are rolling in debt get bailed out. My family will be fine. We'll continue to pay down our loan, and one day we'll achieve complete financial freedom. I can't wait!

ProudMom and Kim-Thanks for your positive comments :) God knew just what I needed. Thanks so much for reading.

Rhelena-It was the same way on my call, she kept asking, "Well, do you have a line of credit? No. How much credit card debt do you have? None. Do you have car payments? No." I guess it's "normal" to have all that debt. Rosie probably wondered why in the world I was even calling. Oh well. You're right...we will win in the end. Thanks for your comment!


RVilleneuve profile image

RVilleneuve 7 years ago from Michigan

I agree, that is just not fair. At least you tried to change and you are setting a great example.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Thanks RVilleneuve. It was worth a try to call and see what they said. I actually found the whole conversation somewhat amusing amongst the frustration of it all. Glad you stopped by!


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

Shawna, it is disheartening when things like that happen; however, you have the right attitude.  Check to see if the current mortgage rates that you are able to secure are at least 2 points lower than your rate.  If so, get in touch with an accountant or real estate attorney (maybe the one that closed on your original loan), to see if you can lower your mortgage note that way.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

DarleneMarie-the problem with refinancing is that our house is worth less than the balance on our mortgage. We live in Arizona where home values have dropped 43% in the last three years. As far as I know, lenders won't refinance a mortgage that is greater than the home's value. If I'm wrong, please tell me!!


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

It is possible to be able to refinance a home that is valued at less than what you owe if you have good credit.

The difference would have to be rolled over into the new loan. The only way this would be beneficial for you is if the new loan would have a significantly lower-interest rate; therefore, lowering your mortgage payments.

Talking with a mortgage professional like a real estate attorney would be able to give more details on your options specific to your situation.

If you research mortgage rates for your area, you can use this loan amortization schedule calculator to calculate monthly payments:  http://www.bretwhissel.net/amortization/amortize.h...  Its worth the research and GOOD LUCK!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Interesting...thanks for the information.

When you say the difference would have to be rolled over into the new loan, you mean the difference between the home value and the current loan balance? And then that difference is added to the current balance? Just want to make sure I understand.


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

Yes, the difference in what you owe and what it is worth.  Example:  The current value is $100,000 and you owe $130,000.  The new loan would be for $130,000.  If current mortgage rates are much lower now than the original loan, it may be worth it to refinance.

It may also serve you better to look to a different mortgage company or bank since the representative’s unwillingness to help probably stems from one main reason:  mortgage companies and banks only make money if they generate a new loan.


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

continued: When they generate a new loan that makes them money. The representative will not make commission unless it is a new loan. If it is not in their best interest, why should they help you?


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Don't you mean $160,000? The difference between the two is $30,000, added to the original loan would be 160K. Unless I still don't understand.

I will keep looking into our options. We just want to pay the house off as fast as we can, and if refinancing is an option, it would expedite the paying off process even more. Thanks for all your advice DarleneMarie!


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

Glad to help! This is what I am saying using 100K as an example for the value of the home:

Value – 100K Mtg Co/Bank sees that as =100% Financing. You Owe – 130K Mtg Co/Bank sees that as  = 130% Financing.

It is *possible* for a  person with *good credit* to be able to get a loan that looks like that. The ONLY way it would benefit you is if rates are MUCH lower now than your original loan. The key here is good credit.  Maybe you can talk with a loan officer/representative at a different institution to see if that is something that can be done if it lowers your mortgage payment making it beneficial for YOU.


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 7 years ago from USA

***The difference is the value of the home and what you owe. You will not fianance more than you owe.


DrMemory1701 profile image

DrMemory1701 7 years ago from Occupied France

"No good deed goes unpunished..."

I guess you could call me fiscally irresponsible. Our health insurance proved to be inadequate for the medical bills that my wife and I were forced to pay. We were in bad shape after her cancer and my heart attack. We reluctantly put whatever bills we had (and there was a lot) on our credit cards. WRONG!! We were almost $100K in debt. I called the credit card people and asked to get an interest rate that was lower than our current one. The representative I spoke to was very sympathetic, but wouldn't budge on the interest rate. I talked to representatives of credit counseling services and they all gave me the same indifferent responses I got from the credit card companies.

After having a double A credit rating for more than 30 years, I like you, made the mistake of believing "they should cut me some slack." After I thought for about 5 minutes, I contacted a bankruptcy lawyer and filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We settled with our creditors for 46 cents on the dollar and finished our last payment in April of 2008. During that period of 3 years we paid off an $11,000.00 loan, a new $5,000 oil burner, and are now within 5 years of paying off a 30 year FHA mortgage.

This past Valentine's Day I bought my wife a new car for $20,000 cash out the door! You arre a victim of the system. So was I. I felt guilty about having financial difficulties. My lawyer had to tell me to stop paying my credit cards so that the bankruptcy would be in force. All my life, I paid for what I needed and never borrowed from a friend or relative. If Donald Trump can declare bankruptcy numerous times and not shed a tear, why should I?


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Thanks again, DarleneMarie. In our case it would be over 150% financing. I'm not so sure any lender will go for that, but it's worth looking into. We do have excellent credit, so that's a plus. I've seen rates recently that are almost 2% lower than our current rate, which seems pretty significant. I appreciate all your help.

DrMemory1701-I'm glad to hear you and your wife were able to overcome bankruptcy and recover from it. Paying cash for a car is so smart. I know that many people facing foreclosure and other financial problems never expected to be in that situation-like you said, medical bills can deplete the finances in no time. Congratulations on paying off your debt! I can't wait to have that freedom when we finally pay off our house.


amber lynn profile image

amber lynn 7 years ago

shawna.wilson Thank you for this inspiring message. As a newlywed my husband and I are saving and cutting back costs as much as possible, and its hard. It's nice to know we're not the only ones out there working hard to pay off debt and not using the crutch of credit cards any longer. God is our #1 source!! Praise the Lord, for He is truly good.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Hi Amber! You and your husband are wise to start your marriage off making responsible financial decisions. The earlier you start paying off and staying out of debt, the younger you'll be when you achieve financial freedom. What an amazing day that will be! Enjoy being a newlywed and God bless you!


chioggiabeetroot profile image

chioggiabeetroot 7 years ago

Thanks for your inspiring story about stewardship. God bless you and your family!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

That conversation sounded like JP Morgan Chase to me and being rewarded by them is like trying to pull teeth from a horse, however God is and always will reward you as look at what is in your life that you are greatful for. He certainly is a good God and the bank he knows is corrupt, when they should have helped they didn't so he has a bigger plan in store, keep looking to him and he will always take care of his own.:)


multimastery 7 years ago

I can definitely relate to your situation Shawna. I just went through a similar situation trying to refinance my car loan. The whole financial system is backwards and designed to keep people in debt if you ask me! Many people just don't know what to do.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

I agree, multimastery. That's why my husband and I are trying to pay off all our debt and become completely free financially. That way we won't be slaves to anyone else when it comes to money. Thanks for reading!


CRMoneysaver profile image

CRMoneysaver 6 years ago from Eastern Iowa

I really needed to read this today, especially about answering to God about my spending habits, not a bank.

Thank you.


writingmom profile image

writingmom 6 years ago from USA

Really good article. Yes God owns it all and if you are wise over little, He will greatly reward you. You are already so blessed!! Hang in there. God bless!


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 5 years ago

You should try other banks and see if they can help.The banks want to have you at their mercy.Your too smart for them.Be patient things have a way of working out.You are both very smart and our going to raise your children to be even smarter.Great hub.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 5 years ago from Canada

This is a great article, and so true. When you are irresponsible, then you become someone they can "help." It is so ironic. Good for you, for doing the right thing, and being frugal. I admire that! I try to be frugal, myself, but we spend about 5 times that amount on groceries a month! You must have VERY good money-saving habits!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Bravo! Looking forward to coming back and perusing the comments section on this hub. :)


2cateyes profile image

2cateyes 5 years ago

This was a great hub that definitely taught me a few things, as well as reminded me of a few things. God is a great God and it is wonderful to see someone be so blessed financially and actually be responsible with their money. It's more refreshing than a breath of fresh air or a cool glass of lemonade. I see the dilemma you faced, as all Christians face at some point or another, "I worked so hard" or "I've been on my best behavior, so why can't I get a little credit for that here on Earth?" It is then that we're reminded that our treasures are in Heaven. Thanks for the great hub! I am now one of your followers.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 5 years ago from Arizona Author

God has blessed us so much, and you're right, 2cateyes, my treasure is in heaven :) Thanks for the reminder! It's so easy to get caught up in things of this world. Thanks for the nice comment!


C-Bless profile image

C-Bless 5 years ago from Canada

Beautifully written--made me smile at what you said to Rosie. I'd be rattled too. But I especially like when you reminded us that we are only stewards of the blessings God grants us. I always pick up pennies from the ground as I believe that when God sees His children taking care of the small things, "He will entrust me with more."


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 5 years ago from Arizona Author

C-bless- completely agree! God has blessed our socks off, more than we could ever deserve. I'm so thankful for that :) thanks for your comment!


Pat Finnerty profile image

Pat Finnerty 4 years ago from Ireland

Terrific article. We are in that very same boat. Matthew 13:12 one of my favourite excerpts. Also James 4:6 God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Because you are wise with the riches you were born with, you will have immense satisfaction and power to do good with the riches you are about to receive. I Highly recommend you read Napoleon Hill 'Think and Grow Rich' A quotation from that book that I love is a mantra I use every day "Devine providence, I ask not for more riches, but more wisdom with which to use wisely the riches you gave me at birth, constituting in the power to direct my mind to whatever ends I desire. I can see that your gratitude underpins your whole belief system.

I look forward to reading more of your articles. Keep up the good work.

Pat.


Laurie Paul 4 years ago

Your last paragraph so true thanks for your words

Although I often feel unrewarded, I know that I will someday receive the ultimate reward in Heaven when I’m standing in front of Jesus and He says “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.” Until then, I’ll continue to clip coupons, shop the clearance racks, and share the car with my husband. And I’ll try really hard to do it all with a smile on my face!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

You have reminded us of what it means to be a good steward. It is amazing how we can increase our quality lifestyle by just cutting back on those non-essential habits or purchases. Great advice.

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