I am sometimes overwhelmed by the fact that I feel myself sinking into the darkness, into the muck of instability, and feel as though largely I ignore to cater to my own ego. When I grew up, it wasn’t in the suburbs or in a flashy house, my parents divorced when I was young. In all aspects, our dirty laundry stayed behind closed doors. I never saw financial security and my mom struggled to help give us everything we wanted or should I say needed. We lived in a one bedroom house on a ranch for a little while but I enjoyed it. Looking at the crops in the late afternoon sun from our back porch, was intoxicating. After that we moved to San Diego, where I lived in a two bedroom house with no A/C or Heat. I mean we had those old school gas heaters.
I don’t remember ever being unhappy with our house. It was just what we had. I have been pretty content with what I had. I never went on vacations or anything like that. My husband’s upbringing was far worse. Big E would be a rag to middle class story. He has been on his own since he was 16, working mainly blue collar work. When we met, I had just started teaching and he worked as a Warehouse Helper for an Oil and Gas company. Together we made about 45,000 a year.
Big E became a driver a few years later and I had a good job teaching in a better district. We were making up to almost 90,000 a year but guess what we were IDIOTS. Neither us had ever made that much money or had that much money growing up. We blew a lot of money on too expensive places to live, eating out, going out, buying clothes, and ruining our credit. No one ever taught us how to be financially secure and even though I was educated, money poured out of my wallet like liquid.
Big E and I were not prepared for the collapse. He lost his job and I was the bread winner while he stayed home with our first baby. A few months later, he found temp work as we were preparing for our second child.
I made a dreadful decision which was to stay home while we were so unstable (monetary wise) but that decision did one thing. It showed me that I am strong and able to buy groceries on 300 dollars a month and survive. There are tons of articles on upper middle class families becoming homeless and the likes. I have been there, we lived in a hotel for a little while before we found our starter home.
We had amazing friends who helped us in our time of need. True friends who we love dearly. I also became more aware of what we were doing to our credit and over the years have become “Tight-Fisted” as Big E calls me. Rather, he says a very inappropriate spanish word which he learned. Always the bad words learned first…dios mio.
I pulled our credit score and I was appalled. Talk about looooowwwww….was that enough letters to emphasize low. We are rebuilding like everyone else, re-learning our economic strategies so we can have that ever elusive Financial Freedom. We got in touch with our local Catholic Charites which believe it or not has FREE credit counseling.
We also had a car lien (to pay for some necessities when Big E was between jobs), some RAC loans for furniture and a washer (Ridiculous Interest Rates BTW), and our Owner Financed Home.
Here are the Steps we are taking:
- Pay off Lien
- Pay off furniture
- Pay off Second furniture Account
- Pay Off Washer
- Pay off one bad debt a week.
- Get in touch with Credit Counselor
- Pull our credit report
- Student Loans (Scariest one on the List)
It is in addition to our expenses which are cable (I am getting this disconnected soon after True Blood), light, water, rent, gas, and food. We have started to go Real Food and it is a little cheaper. I buy meat in bulk from our local farmer about 200.00 worth and it has lasted a whole month.
The only thing is reeling in Big E, because he is an impulse buyer which unlike me, I put stuff back. It is hard, people. Very hard and challenging to stay on this schedule but the end is what I want. I want to be out of debt and know our money is our money and those 20 acres will be mine.
Financial freedom is necessary, read, get educated on it, and don’t ignore it. I am trying and hopefully will get an A for effort.
I like Military Money Chica, she has a great To-Do list.
Any advice to a newbie like me trying to be debt free?