About Me

My Purpose With This Blog

As someone who struggled with debt for decades, I understand the stress and lack of freedom living paycheck to paycheck brings.

It’s my mission to help others break free from that hopeless feeling by educating you on the basics of personal finance, encouraging you to think differently and experimenting with different methods and strategies to achieve your goals.

What This Blog Is

This blog is my way of sharing what I’ve learned about personal finance over the past couple of decades as well as what I continue to learn as our family pursues financial independence.

It will be more heavily weighted towards those that are struggling with debt or just getting started on their financial journey.

My goal is to offer my knowledge and experience to help you follow me out of debt and towards financial freedom.

What This Blog Is Not

This is not a retirement (or early retirement) focused blog, though I may talk about those things occasionally.

This is also not a high-level advice or strategy blog. While I enjoy reading about more advanced strategies for building wealth, my goal with this blog is to simply help others start along the path to financial freedom.

It is my sincere hope that you outgrow this blog and can move on to those advanced strategies someday soon.

My Story

I imagine my history with money is a lot like yours, and most Americans for that matter.

We weren’t taught much, if anything, about finances and were largely left to figure things out through trial and error.

Consumerism was celebrated, debt was normal and while you were discouraged from keeping up with the Jones’, you were also told there was no need to delay gratification when you could just delay the payment.

At least, that’s how I remember it.

My Attitude Toward Debt in the Past

When I was in college while working on my second degree, I remember inviting my classmates (there weren’t a lot of us) out for a tasty Mexican lunch, on me.

I was met with looks of confusion. We weren’t allowed to work for the first year of the program, so they all wondered how I could afford it.

I simply responded, “I’m already 20 grand in debt. What’s a few more dollars?”

Thinking back on that makes me sad and honestly, a little embarrassed. I may not have known much, but I wish I’d at least have had the foresight to realize future me would have to pay for that.

Shifting My Money Mindset

I wish I could say that I had a mindset shift shortly after graduating, but it actually took another decade.

It wasn’t until I realized I was only barely managing things that I decided I needed to wake up and master them.

Debt-free Disney (v1.0)

In 2017 we planned to take a family vacation to Disneyland.

As a family that deals with food allergies, Disney is like the Holy Land of vacation destinations, so I wanted to do it right by staying on site to take advantage of the allergy-friendly restaurants.

Despite knowing it was going to be crazy expensive, we made a goal to enjoy a debt-free Disney.

Yes, we had other debt, but the goal was to take this Disney trip without adding to it.

And we started strong. We managed to save half of our goal in just a couple of months.

And that’s when all hell broke loose. Car repairs, vet bills, housing repairs, and other unexpected expenses had us emptying out the Disney fund in the span of a couple weeks.

Duke
The face behind the debt – well, a good chunk of it anyway.

 

The smart thing might have been to cancel the trip, but everything was already arranged so we just decided to enjoy the moment and deal with the cost later.

Disneyland '17
The debt was no fun, but the trip sure was!

 

While I had an excuse for why debt-free Disney didn’t happen, the failure still stung.

So I started 2018 with the goal of paying off our debt as soon as possible.

I was able to consolidate our debt onto an interest-free card and thanks to our excellent credit scores, we could have kept rotating it across 0% cards indefinitely. But I just wanted it gone.

Getting Budget Happy

I had been using YNAB for years, but not the way it was intended. I had been tracking our spending, but not prioritizing it.

So I dove headfirst into learning the ins and outs of the 4-rules. I attended online classes, read every blog post, and binged on the podcast and Whiteboard Wednesday videos. I fully embraced the method and finally managed to make our budget work for us.

By prioritizing and being intentional with our spending we were able to slash our expenses and payoff our debt in only 8 months.

My New Money Mindset

We were fortunate to have fewer costly surprises (there were still some) and another windfall to help us hit our goal faster than expected, but primarily I credit our success to a change in mindset.

Instead of accepting debt as a given and something that was simply managed, I started viewing our finances as something I needed to master.

It’s that subtle shift in perspective that I hope to instill in you as you read through this blog. I’m thankful for all the personal finance blogs, Facebook groups, and podcasts that have educated and inspired me along the way and I hope this blog can be a point of inspiration and education for you along your journey.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking around.

If you want or need help to get started check out the Start Here page for a step by step approach.

I really do want to help break the debt acceptance that’s so prevalent in society right now so if you have any questions or issues or just want to reach out, please email me.

 
That's Me!

Natalie

Budget Happy Mom

All you really need to know about me you can find out from my t-shirts.
Hover your mouse over each image for a brief description

If you've read anything on my blog my love for YNAB should be pretty obvious. If I had 7 of these shirts I would wear them every day of the week.

The perfect mashup of my 2 favorite universes...Doctor Who and Harry Potter.

The Sorting Hat says…RAVENCLAW!

Little GFB's throat swelled shut after touching a pistachio shell. It's part of my life to educate others about how serious food allergies are.

This ConvertKit shirt pretty much sums up my personal purpose in life.

A Pat Flynn original...love the guy and love this message.

The ultimate standoff...if you understand this shirt, we should get along just fine.

Yes, I'm a Potterhead.

This year is our year! #YNWA

I love all things Mac...even the pinwheel of death mesmerizes me.

I don't get to play many video games, but when I do, I love to play in the Fallout universe.

Combines my love for Doctor Who with my love for scripted font tees.

Close Menu