Hello! I began this blog because I’m thoroughly addicted to reading, learning, writing and teaching about all things money! How to save money, how to spend less money, how to get out of debt, how to invest money and so on. I also love reading about how other people are winning with money by being frugal and working hard with side-hustles. My daydreams consist of being financially independent and retiring early to take on the open road in an RV with my husband whilst attending my college football games and being able to create the life we want–everyday.
I’m sure you all have similar stories with money. I came from a middle class family where my mother worked outside of the home. A cognizant child of the 80s, capitalism and consumerism were at their height. On TV were Lamborghinis, mansions in Dallas and material girls ruled the day. Money seemed important. My parents seemed to live within their means, but my brother and I didn’t really “want” for anything…if we asked for something we usually got it.
We were also given a weekly allowance of $5 for cleaning our bedrooms, and were paid for grades ($.25 for every A paper we presented, $10 for every A on the grade report and $100 for making honor roll)…and it worked.
At age 16 I went to work at a department store with a wage of $3.85/hour (yes seriously). I vividly remember getting my first MasterCard during this time and basically charged it up with clothes, fast food, movies, etc. This began my long journey of living with debt. I worked at that department store for five years during high school and while going to college at a nearby university. I was so broke. I ate only once a day (Taco Bell burrito and a Pepsi), lived in crappy little apartments…I knew something needed to change.
In 1996 with only $500 to my name, I dropped out of college, moved to a city 100 miles away and began working two jobs to make ends meet. I enrolled in Consumer Credit Counseling, and really worked down my debt. Then I decided I would finish my BA degree, but to make it work I would need to take out student loans. During this time, I foolishly bought a “new used car.” Looking back, this was a very immature purchase. I had a car that had nothing wrong with it, I just wanted this particular car. Other than these two mistakes, I really learned how to buy things on sale and ration the student loan funds to survive. I don’t regret the move…it changed my life. I earned my degree and met my much later to be husband during this time.
Overall, I was good with my money…except, I had a boyfriend who seemed to be able to use my money for his “toys.” Ladies, be careful of these types of guys–I paid traffic tickets and tuition for him. I also bought him golf clubs, pool sticks, and other stupid things. He was supposed to pay me back–and it NEVER happened. Because of this, I keep my money somewhat separate from my husband’s money–although we work towards he same goal on the same track.
Fast forward to 2002, I had just earned my Master’s degree by racking up more student loans. I was hired for my first job in another town. This is where I really began to learn about becoming debt free after hearing about Dave Ramsey. I followed him religiously. I bought My Total Money Makeover and absorbed every word. I set up a budget, saved an emergency fund of $1000, and began to get out of credit card debt. I worked three jobs, side-hustled and downsized (full-time job, teaching and retail, worked a side-hustle on Ebay, and downsized to another crappy apartment). I had another car payment, but was working through it. I never got completely out of debt, but really learned some frugality skills during this time.
I was promoted with my job back to my college city in 2007. My husband-to-be just moved back there too and we’ve basically been together since. We purchased a small house and worked to rehab it; we purchased another house down the street; and then bought a catering company. Sold the catering company, and both houses are now rental properties. We’ve since moved to a mountain state where we are ferociously working to pay off all of our debt. I’m finally in a place where this can happen. I take about 50% of my income to pay off debt, I work side-hustles like Ebay, Ibotta, Ebates, Etsy and bank bonuses. I am putting a small amount of money to a retirement account, but EVERY extra dollar goes to debt repayment and I budget my money to be able to afford my cost of living.
I tell every dollar where to go…my money doesn’t dictate my life.
Credit cards. In thinking about my life with debt…they are my vice. They are so easy to use. I’ve done it again over the holidays and once I get started, it’s hard to stop. This blog will be my accountability to my goals. We will be debt free, we will be financially independent, we will retire early.
My debt includes the following as of March 26, 2016
$1,128.45 car loan–estimated pay off April 15, 2016
$4,664.89 credit card–estimated pay off June 15, 2016
$34,660.73 rental property No. 1 lovingly called 2122–estimated pay off April 2017
$76,905.92 rental property No. 2 we shall name 2209–estimated pay off May 2019
$26,484.16 student loan–estimated pay off December 2019
$214,471.68 mortgage–estimated pay off August 2023
Read my disclaimer here.