In mid-August of 2014, I pulled into my driveway after a day of running errands, checked my bank account app on my phone and started crying. I’d been paid a mere two weeks before and I was already down to a slim $14 which was supposed to get me through the rest of the month.
I was 27 years old, had a full time job that paid well, and I had absolutely no clue how to manage my finances. I had $29,941 in debt – the sum of 3 credit cards, 2 personal loans, and a car payment. I was overspending by about $400 every month and I had no idea how to stop.
I was clueless, disheartened, and ashamed. I felt out of control.
However, on August 14th my life changed forever.
I was working as a volunteer with an organization in my hometown when I met Loni. Loni was another volunteer and I had interacted with her exactly one other time in my life. I knew .5% about her. At the end of our day of volunteering she made a comment that was something to the effect of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class had changed her and her husband's life.
“Oh wow,” I’d said, recalling that I had recently been sent Financial Peace University, the book, by a really good friend of mine (Hi Kristin!). “I’ve tried to read some of his books, but I could really use some help.”
To this day I swear I said this in the most casual way possible. For me – it really was just a passing sentence as an attempt to add to the conversation, but there must have been something in my voice or something in my eyes or simply just a nudge from God because Loni took me very seriously.
“Our church is hosting a Financial Peace University class soon,” she'd said. “I’ll look into the details of it.” The next day I received a confirmation of registration for the class. Loni had signed me up and paid for my registration fee for Financial Peace University starting that September.
My life was about to change forever.
Fast forward 3+ years, 2 Financial Peace University classes (one taking, one teaching), and countless one-on-one budget meetings with Loni later (plus a lot of sweat, hardwork, and tears), and I am less than $10,000 away from being debt free ($9,268 to be exact but who’s counting? Oh wait…me. I am. I am counting.)
I went from being discouraged to encouraged. Budget-oblivious to budget-savvy. Ashamed to empowered. Out of control to in control.
And now all I want to do is talk about it and help others feel the same way.
On these pages you’ll find real tips for getting in control of your personal finances. And believe it or not – you can take control without having to give up a fun life or live solely on red beans and rice. It’s possible to still live a full life, experience a lot of things specifically in regards to food and fitness (what can I say - I like to talk about things that start with F), and live within your means and pay off debt. (What I'm really saying is a budget lifestyle is a sexy lifestyle and it doesn't have to be boring.)
If any of the above is at all relatable, take a deep breath of relief and know that you can turn your situation around. There is hope on the horizon and we’ll get there together.
Now, let’s get in control.
*All photos of me are by the magical bethany takes photos.