Helping You Go From Broke
Money can be a touchy subject. We don’t mind talking about it in the abstract or complaining about how the government spends it, but when it comes to talking about our own finances, we tend to clam up. It’s just not seemly to discuss your finances for some reason. I never understood why and I still don’t, but I do think the lack of open discussion about our personal finances is why we suck so bad at managing them.
I’m not here to shame anyone who’s broke or struggling with money. I believe personal finance is a lot like weight loss. We all know the general idea of how to get the results we want, it’s just really hard to change our behavior.
With diets, we can commiserate with our fellow dieters, but with money problems, we’re often alone. Since we don’t talk about money (it’s just too personal), we seldom get the support we need to deal with our failures or celebrate our wins.
My goal with this blog is to help folks out by starting the conversation. I want to be open and transparent with my family’s struggles and successes to encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, I can provide some nuggets of wisdom along the way.
When I was in college I made the same mistake thousands of college kids do: opening a credit card and spending like it was free money. I had a good job and had a scholarship to pay for school, but I still managed to find myself in debt by the time I graduated.
I knew enough to pay more than the minimums on my cards (yes, that’s plural), but I hadn’t yet felt the sting of realizing I was paying way more for all those toys and trinkets than was advertised.
The situation only got worse when I decided I wanted a career change and went back to school. This time taking out loans to do it.
In my program, we weren’t allowed to work the first year, so the debt just kept stacking up. My attitude toward spending also hadn’t changed, so the only thing keeping me in check was the lack of time to spend much (until I discovered The Home Shopping Network).
My mindset was basically, if I want it, I’ll get it. I figured (and I believe I actually said this enough for it to be my mantra for those 2 years), I’m already 20 grand in debt, what’s a little more?
By the time I earned my second degree I had $30,000 in credit card debt. I don’t even remember how much I had taken out in student loans.
It was around this time that I got a little more focused on paying off my credit cards. I didn’t go all gung-ho and move back home or eat ramen for a year (though I did enjoy my fair share of Mac ’n Cheese and PB&J), but I did start paying more toward my balances and discovered the magic of 0% APR balance transfers.
It took a couple more years (and a baby) before I started budgeting, and by budgeting, I mean telling our money what to do, not just watching where it went.
However, while I thought I was doing everything right, some unexpected and massive expenses hit us in the Summer of 2017, throwing our finances into chaos. We went from being on track to pay off our debt by the end of the year, to adding about 8 grand to it.
This led me to throw myself into the budget and personal finance world looking for information and advice to help get us out of this debt as soon as possible. A common theme I saw with others was establishing a blog as a means of accountability, so I thought I’d follow suit.
It’s my goal with this blog to document and share our family’s journey as we go from broke to hopefully reaching financial freedom. I aim to be as transparent as possible to keep me accountable as well as inspire others who need to make a change find the courage to do so. I also hope anything I learn along the way will make it easier for others to break the debt cycle and start building wealth.
My dream is for this blog to attract a community of active and encouraging supporters who help each other reach our financial goals. Similar to having a workout buddy or an accountability partner to help you lose weight, I hope this blog will provide a support network for anyone struggling with debt and financial independence.
*A Note on Transparency
I’ve been debating whether to be mostly anonymous on this blog given my desire for transparency and to use our real numbers so you can follow along and track our progress. For security and privacy purposes, I’m not super comfortable putting my name alongside those numbers. Some readers may know me, and I have no qualms about sharing our finances in person, but because the internet isn’t limited to only people I trust, I’ve decided to use the pseudonym Budget Happy Mom. I hope you understand.