This is the last of the entries in the “detox” series. I kind of saved the best for last because to me, THIS is the most important.
Of course it is, you say? It’s what you do, you say? Well, yes that is true.
But its more than that.
Because at this time last year, my business and this blog was still a work in progress. I had only had the idea to start my own business in November of 2012. Yes, that’s right, I had an idea in November, worked on developing, planning and how to market my business as well as building a website and writing business and financial plans during the month of December, 2012.
But the story doesn’t start there. No, the story starts in December of 2009.
We were the typical American family – living in a mortgaged home with two car payments, 2 kids and 4 dogs to feed ( well, maybe four dogs isn’t typical, but they are our family too), credit card debt and student loan debt.
We were living paycheck to paycheck and bringing in extra income only increased our spending. We had little to no money in savings, we had arguments about money, there was never any money to do or buy what we wanted. Once, I took out a loan against our IRA to pay a bill. Oh and yes, we paid off the car once then took out a loan against it to pay off a credit card which we promptly started using again. Saving for the boys College fund or our retirement fund seemed like such a far fetched idea.
In December of 2009, I put Christmas on credit. I was about to be very close to maxing out two of our already high balance credit cards when a certain online retail store “pre-approved” me for even MORE credit. I was thrilled!!!
Because we couldn’t tell the boys, who were 5 and 4 at the time that “Santa wasn’t coming”.
So I put Christmas on credit and while I was doing it, I realized that it defeated the entire purpose and meaning of the Holiday.
After all, I’m pretty sure the three wise men didn’t finance the gold, frankincense and myrrh, right?
So right then and there, I made a New Years resolution that I had to “get better with money”.
On January 1, 2010 I started Financial Peace University online. It was only then that I totaled up the amount of debt we owed. It was over half of our annual income!
We needed some serious Financial Detox – getting rid of that which is harmful to our financial situation:
NOT having an Emergency Fund
NOT having 3-6 months of monthly expenses in savings.
And that’s just the beginning. So we started there, on Baby Step 1 – having $1,000 in an Emergency Fund. And it took some time but it got done. And yes, we had to spend it and start over when things like the water heater broke and the car needed a repair.
Doing this meant having a budget, that we actually FOLLOWED. Because having a budget and actually following it are two different things.
3 years, 8 months and 27 days later, this happened
THAT feeling of hope and joy and success that you hear? THAT is why I do what I do.
THAT is why I urge you to detox YOUR finances. Because I want YOU to feel that way too.
I want YOU to control your money and your life instead of your money controlling your life.
You know WHY this is so important? Because it is my PASSION to get everyone to become debt free and having savings and STOP being so stressed and anxious and worried about money.
Are there a lot of Financial programs out there? Of course there are. I chose Dave Ramsey’s FPU because it was what I felt would work for me. WOW! Did it work!!! The impact that this program had on me was profound and life changing!
You have to find what works for YOU. The important thing is that you DO it.
Quite literally, I started my business on the “Starfish Principle” – you know the story of the man walking down the beach throwing the starfish in the ocean and his friends says something like “you can’t save them all” and the friend replies, “made a difference to that one!”
In my heart, I want to help everyone. But I can’t. Especially if they don’t want to be helped.
But I can encourage you and tell you that NO MATTER what your financial situation is like, you CAN detox it.
Yes, its a pain and its hard and you will often wonder, “why bother”.
But I will tell you that its worth it! It’s SO worth going through the financial detox.
I had “business people” tell me that I couldn’t have an idea and then launch a business in less than two months.
That’s not enough time to plan, they said.
I argued that the people I wanted to help didn’t have the time to wait for me to start a business that would help them.
I launched my business on January 1, 2013.
I haven’t helped everyone and I haven’t helped as many people as I wanted to help. But, like the man throwing the starfish in the ocean, I helped make a difference in the lives of people that I did help.
You can make that difference too when you make the decision to detox your finances. Because in the words of Dave Ramsey,
“Live like no one else so later, you can live and give like no one else.”
Just think of the things you could do with all that money you are currently using to pay debt.
You could live and give 😉