April 17, 2011

Financial Health

When I hurt my shoulder nearly 3 1/2 years ago, it threw my budget into a tailspin. Relying on someone else for my income (workman's comp), caused all sorts of problems. We were forced to move into a smaller, less expensive apartment for one.

The second was the bills. Two small credit cards ($1000, and $500) went down the tubes to collection agencies because I couldn't afford to pay them if the workman's comp decided for whatever reason, not to pay me.

3 1/2 years later, I got a pleasant surprise. The other day I checked my credit score. When I got divorced and went out on my own again, it was over 700. After the shoulder injury it tanked in the 300's. It is now up to the high 500's. Not great, but progress is being made.

It is giving me the push I need to get my ducks in a row and get it back up where it should be for our ultimate goal....a home of our own. I still have those 2 credit cards to pay off, now that I am back at work. That is my mission over the next few months. It will take me that long, but with this new job, I am blessed to have a little left over after I pay our monthly bills. For now it has gone to getting caught up on the monthlies, as well as things such as new tires on the truck (which is due for inspection next month). But once those things are cleared up, I should be able to pay off the credit cards in 6 months, max.

I also found out from my bank yesterday that I will be able to open a secured credit card, whereby I put $375 in my savings account, locked in, and they will give me a card with a credit limit of $500. They have had many customers use this to build their credit back up, and it shows up on their credit report within 6 months or so. I will not use it for foolish purchases, but rather to buy things that we only truly need. I will carry a small balance on it of maybe $100, and pay it off over a few months to show that I can.

Which brings me to my other realization....my whole mindset about "things". Time was, I would go shopping just for shopping....no list in my hand, just the feeling of "I can get something". That is no longer there, I am happy to say. I was in the store yesterday, waiting for the bank to open, and so wandered around the store. I bought 2 things...things I had planned on buying. Ibuprophen and a new package of socks for myself. Exciting stuff I know! I could have bought more, despite the fact that I have specific things that need to be paid in the budget this week, but the desire wasn't there at all.

I am so excited that my brain has finally latched onto the idea that my heart is attached to.....if I am going to pay a large sum of money to live in a home, why pay it to a landlord, when it could be paid to a place of my own. I have craved this since the kids were itty bitty, but for the longest time it has been out of my reach. I even went so far as to look at places online yesterday. It will be at least a year or so until I can actually do anything towards that goal/dream, but I am closer than I even realized.

Yeah for a new mindset!! We are even decluttering where we currently are. I have probably 20 boxes of "stuff" that are going to Saver's this week. Things I have moved from home to home, but almost never make it out of the box they were packed in. So I am giving it all up. It is so freeing to walk down to the basement and see the open spaces, knowing that I only have what I truly need.

If you have not taken a hard look at your budget and spending habits recently....I highly recommend you do. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you just put your mind to it.

4 comments:

  1. This post is such a good reminder to all of us to stop and do some real thinking now and then. We all get into our ruts and habitual ways of doing things if we don't remain conscious of what we are actually doing? (Did I say that right?) I'm going to do some spring cleaning in my head(!) now that you've given me the push to do so! Thanks, Stephanie!

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  2. If the country would simply practice the things that you mentioned here, we'd be in a lot better shape. :)

    Good job, faithful servant!

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  3. Mama Pea, you are so right! I was surprised actually, that my desire to buy "things" had changed so much. Now when I go into a store, I am set on certain items, and I have no desire. Have fun with the "spring cleaning"!

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  4. Q,
    I couldn't agree more, but I see more and more people doing it. They will make a difference, even if our government won't.
    Thank you!!

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