My husband and I had been married for over 11 years and had three small children when one day he told me, “I don’t love you and I don’t want to be married anymore.” Talk about a gut punch. I was shocked. I was scared. Faced with telling our kids that our world was about to come crashing down, I realized it was time to make some difficult financial decisions and take action.
First, I knew I had to cut spending on anything non-essential. I worked up a bare bones budget. I used what money I had to pay off my trusty, old minivan (which I swore I would never drive!) and refinance our home – my kids were losing a lot but they would not lose their home!
Those days were pretty tough, but I was doing it! Having married at age 18, I was now fully relying on myself for the first time in my life. We didn’t have much, but I was putting food on the table and a roof over their little heads. I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride that I was standing on my own two feet as a single mother.
Life can sure throw us some curve balls. I’m sure you’ve experienced some gut punches yourself in one way or another but if you haven’t yet, or just want to navigate the next one better, let me share a few things I learned to help you prepare:
1 – You need a written budget. Every month. I had to make my money stretch as far as I could and the best way to do that is to tell every dollar where to go. If you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll be wondering where it went!
2 – Get out of debt! There’s no way I could have stayed in our home while I was juggling a car payment and credit cards. Debt steals your paycheck! You work too hard for your money to give it all away.
3 – Realize that YOU are the hero of your story. Don’t like the circumstances you find yourself in? Change them! You have the power to stand up and write your life story the way YOU want it to turn out.
4 – This is the one I wish I would have done more of… SAVE money. Having a savings account for emergencies (or life changes) is like having insurance for life’s curve balls.
I definitely haven’t done everything perfectly, then or now, but I know these simple (but HARD) things have helped me live with much less stress, so I can focus on the things that matter, including those not-so-little kids of mine.
Angie currently serves as an Accounting Analyst at TS Bank with a total of 18 years of banking experience. She recently earned her Financial Coach certification and is passionate about helping people discover the freedom of debt-free living and reaching their dreams. To contact Angie, call her at 712.487.0461 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.