Browsing Tag

debt

Blog and life updates, Family Finances, Police wife life

Financial Leap of Faith and FinCon15

September 14, 2015
Financial leap of faith and FinCon15

14 months ago, to say that my husband and I were “struggling to make ends meet” would have been a gross understatement.

My husband was working 40 hours a week at his full time job as well as working the reserves one weekend a month. I was providing childcare during the week to try to help pay the bills. I even started a small craft business. It wasn’t enough. Working more wasn’t an option. I had newborn, and we were already working as hard as we could.

My husband was already working as a police officer, but he was being paid the same rate as he was making as a security guard before he finished the police academy, which was pennies. He wasn’t earning what he was worth, and his superiors kept coming up with a lot of empty promises for his actual police rate pay (which never came).

Facing foreclosure

We were facing foreclosure. The food that we put on our table came from the garden and government assistance food checks from WIC. Too many dinners were rice with vegetables that I grew. We were one or two weeks shy of my husband re-enlisting as an active duty member of the military and having myself and our two kids move in with my parents for a while. It was a dark place, emotionally and financially, that we never thought we would have to come to.

My husband took a financial leap of faith and started looking anywhere and everywhere for a new job. He had just achieved his goal of finishing the police academy, and he was done with his term of field training, but he was willing to go back to selling motorcycles or joining the military again, just to make ends meet. We both hoped that he could find a job for a different city working as a police officer.

One town with an open position seemed like our only hope. As my husband got further along in the hiring process, first passing the physical and written tests, the back ground check, and then the home check, we had more and more hope that this position was the answer to our prayers. He wasn’t even guaranteed the job yet, but we started packing boxes.

Our financial leap of faith 

I don’t like to talk too much about my faith online, but I wouldn’t be able to explain this story without it. I had a quiet peace in my heart about this potential position. After a lot of prayer, we both felt the need to pursue this job with alacrity and ready our home for sale or new renters.  We took another financial leap of faith, and we moved to the new town before he was even offered the job. There weren’t many homes for rent, and we found the perfect house for our needs which was within our budget. We had to pounce, or we would have lost it.

Anyone looking in from the outside would have seen our decision as brash, financially irresponsible, and foolish. Our extended family thought we were insane. But I knew in my heart that it was the right decision. This was a high risk, high reward situation, and we were willing to take the gamble. Since we were already facing the loss of everything, we literally had nothing to lose. We even had a renter lined up. Our good friend wanted to rent our house for herself and her three kids. I couldn’t have imagined anyone better as a renter.

Our financial leap of faith paid off. Two weeks after we moved into the new rental house, he was offered the job.

Since that financial gamble, we have had 13 months of financial security, money for rent, and food for the table. We have met new friends that are more like family, and we are happier than we have ever been. We still have a lot of debt, but we are working hard to pay it off and be free once and for all from that awful time of our lives. Our financial leap of faith paid back in dividends. We couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.

A new financial leap of faith

I took my own financial leap of faith in March of this year, when I took a course to learn how to get paid to write for blogs. That course was worth the investment. Cat, the instructor of the course, is both my friend and mentor. She helped me to reach the level of success with writing that I now have. I even paid taxes on my earnings for the first time yesterday. Nobody likes paying taxes, but that was a great feeling.  

I love writing from home, and I love working as a contract writer and freelance blogger. I am ready to take my business to the next level though, so with Cat’s experience and advice, I am taking another gigantic, financial leap of faith. I took on $1500 dollars of debt so that I can attend FinCon15.

FinCon15

This Wednesday, I will be driving to Charlotte, North Carolina for the four day conference. My dear friend designed and ordered 500 business cards for me to distribute, and I already have a few potential client meetings lined up. I am ready to work harder than I ever have before to meet new clients, make connections, and get my name known in the financial writing world.

I have never been more nervous for anything in my life, but I have the same kind of peace in my heart about this conference as I did when we moved without a guarantee of a job for my husband. The experience we had by flinging ourselves into the financial unknown, and surviving to tell the tale has made me more willing to take risks for the reward. I have faith in myself that I will be able to pay back my debt quickly. I made $450 dollars last month writing from home. Even if I don’t win a single new client at this conference, I will be able to pay the debt off relatively quickly. I see FinCon15 as a good debt, not unlike taking out a loan for school. 

I am ready to hustle hard, work harder, and make my own career dreams come true. I’m ready to take the financial writing world by storm.

What is the biggest leap of faith that you have ever taken? Was it in pursuit of your personal goals or your financial goals?

Budget, Family Finances

Breaking the Chains of Debt

June 9, 2015
Breaking the Chains of Debt

 

Due to a bureaucratic snafu with Veterans Affairs, we had a pretty dark financial period in our life a few years back. After my husband got out of the Navy to pursue his Bachelor of Science degree, he used his GI Bill benefits to pay for his school tuition as well as our mortgage payment. He was working full-time and going to school full-time, but, without the GI bill stipend, we didn’t have enough money to cover the bills.

An important piece of paperwork, essential to receiving the benefits, got lost repeatedly within the great void that is Veterans Affairs. Because of this low-level error, we were left facing an 8 month period where we didn’t have enough money to pay the bills. It was either pay our bills, pay for gas to get to work, and pay for food on the table, or pay our mortgage payment. During this incredibly trying time, we weren’t even living paycheck to paycheck. We were living on borrowed money. We had to put our groceries on the 15.99% interest rate credit card just to feed our family.

It was a humbling, embarrassing, eye-opening eight months of asking friends and family for help, eating mainly from our garden and WIC checks, and wondering if the next month would be the month where we faced foreclosure and homelessness. Needless to say, at the end of the ordeal (when the VA finally fixed the issue) we had accrued even more debt on our credit cards than we had before the VA debacle.

Today, we are in a much better place financially, but we are still struggling to pay off debt from the credit card, our car loan, and a personal loan used to fix my husband’s daily driver vehicle at the time. During our first finance date last Friday night, my husband and I had a considerable discussion about our debt. Mainly, we discussed ways to limit our spending, increase our income, and put the difference towards the $16,172 we have in the red (not including our mortgage).

I have been reading several different personal finance blogs lately, and a common tool utilized in the personal finance community is to have a debt visual in your home that keeps you motivated towards your goal of paying down your debts. Some people like to use a picture like a thermometer to fill in as they pay down their debts. Others may use pennies on a scaleI love both of those ideas, but I wanted to have something pretty striking as a visual aid. I wanted to have something that would be a topic of conversation if someone came to our home.

Since our financial and personal freedom is so tightly bound by our debts, we decided to go with cliché but highly effective paper chains. Each link of our debt chain represents $100. The red links represent our car loan, the black links represent our credit card, and the brown links represent our personal loan. At the end of each month, we will look at the principle paid down on each debt and remove the links one at a time. We are hoping to have every last link of the chains removed in two years or less.

IMG_8470

We are going to be making a lot of sacrifices, earning money through side-hustling, and putting every spare penny we have towards removing those awful chains from our den. We didn’t notice it at first, but we have a little sign sitting on the window sill that says, “Every day is another opportunity to change your life.” We felt it was a very fitting place for our debt visual.

We hate seeing so much of our income going towards credit debt and loans every month. We want to be able to save our money for emergencies, retirement, paying college tuition, and traveling. We want to be free to live our life on our terms again. The next few years are going to be a lot of hard work, but we are so excited to get started on this next chapter of our lives together. We want these chains of debt to break free one day at a time so we really can change our life. 

Are you facing considerable debt?

Would you consider placing a visual in your home to help you pay down those debts?