Backstory

In this first post, I’ll offer a short history of how I came to write this blog. In 2007, I lost my high-five-figure income job. For the four years leading up to that event, my husband had been stay-at-home-dad to our daughter. So, we suddenly found ourselves with essentially no income. Unemployment paid me approximately one-fifth of my prior income, and Brian had a very small side-business making furniture, mostly for friends. We had a little bit of savings, that got us through a couple of months. Brian took a cooking job and worked hard to make his furniture business into a viable full-time job.

I ended up being unemployed for eight months, during which time we drained our savings, cashed out my 401k to pay off debt, refinanced both of our mortgages, got on special repayment plans with our credit cards, and watched our once stellar credit rating plummet.

I found a job with a start-up company in January of 2009. The pay was substantially less than what I made at my old job, but it was more than unemployment. And, I love this job. I’m not sure how to put a monetary value on job-enjoyment, but I was willing to work for less, and confident that the business would grow. Brian’s business began to grow as well. I won’t say we could see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we were beginning to believe it was there.

As 2009 came to a close, we confidently said to each other, “2010 is going to be our year! Things are going to be so much better!” Then came the first few weeks of 2010, and the bank account continued to overdraw, we were still running out of money between paychecks and the stress remained high. Then, one day, I came to the end of my rope. I stood up, stomped my feet, and said, “That’s it! I am not going to live like this any more! I will no longer be a victim of my financial situation! Things change today!” It was a great speech, but I really had no idea what I was going to do to make changes. So, I gave it some thought and realized that I had to stop burying my head in the sand. My husband and I had lived with the idea that since we knew we didn’t have enough money, why even look at it? I had automated all my bills, so I wouldn’t have to think about it. The result was, the bills got paid, but often with huge overdraft charges, and leaving us with no money for food or gas.

I resolved to at least look at my bank statement a few times a week. If I didn’t have money to pay a bill and buy groceries, groceries would win, and the bill would just have to wait until the next paycheck. If buying something or paying a bill would mean overdrawing, it would have to wait. I cannot express enough, just how empowering taking this one step has been. I may not have any more money than I did a few weeks ago, but I know how much I have and I know where it’s going. I am no longer spinning out of control. And that is a good thing.

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1 comment so far

  1. mimi on

    Extremely wise to get rid of those automatic payments. You need to be in control of what gets paid and when it gets paid, to say nothing of avoiding those outrageous overdraught charges. Good going!!


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