It seems the media is full of impressive testimonies on how couples paid off debt by tightening their financial belts. But none of these tales come close to matching the hardship and ingenuity of Brad and Angie Dickerson, of Parsimony, New Jersey.
The Dickerson family knew they were in trouble when they no longer had money at the end of the month to pay the mortgage on their 4,000 square foot home.
“It was rather alarming,” Angie said, “I’m not sure how it happened. Brad and I have always been frugal.”
The Dickersons point to how they chose the base model Porsche Cayenne, skipping certain luxuries so the ticket price would hover around $60,000.
“And restaurants? We never use valet parking. We park our own car and walk. Even in the winter,” said Brad.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. The Dickersons knew their credit score would be squashed if their lifestyle continued. So they cut back.
“The first thing we did,” Brad stated, “was sell our house. Got rid of that pesky mortgage for once and for all. The only problem, though, was that we realized after the closing, we didn’t have anywhere to go.”
The Dickersons went to the nearest homeless shelter, where they were warmly welcomed.
“We were each given a cot, so we pushed them together to make our own queen sized bed.” Angie said, “it was romantic, in a depressing sort of way.”
The next step? Unloading the Porsche and Angie’s BMW. The Dickersons soon found themselves in a quandary: they had no way to work now that their vehicles were sold. The Dickersons brainstormed and decided to try public transportation. But there was a problem.
“Do you know you have to pay for public transportation?” Brad was incredulous, “have you ever been on those buses? Why would anyone pay to ride those things?”
The Dickersons went back to the drawing board. They decided to rely on friends and family.
“I started asking friends for rides to work, or asking to borrow their car,” stated Angie.
Cell phones, with hefty service plans, were another financial drain on the Dickersons. They quickly cashed those in and now communicate through the use of Native American smoke signals.
“It is inconvenient,” Brad admitted, “especially when I’m in a meeting and see Angie signaling me. I’ll have to excuse myself and go outside to answer her.”
Food bills are no longer an issue for the Dickersons. The homeless shelter provides free breakfast, and most churches offer lunches and dinners.
“It requires a lot of networking,” Angie admits, “the Methodists are fond of baked hams on Tuesdays, while the Protestants? Turkeys on Thursdays. Non-denominationals are anybody’s guess.”
But there are certain things the Dickersons can not part with, such as their Hyannis beach house and membership to the Tennis Club.
“I mean, come on,” said Angie, “we may be thrifty now, but we’re not stupid.”
The Underground Writer Reporting