Have to Get Things Under Control Again

I find myself intrigued by the personal finance blogs. I actually was feeling depressed by many of them, because the people seem to make so much money and they have retirement funds and 401Ks and a plan for the future that they are working toward. But then I found Mr. DebtBeater and I felt encouraged. He’s actually going in the hole each month!

I used to be SO good at keeping track of my/our money but my life got really busy a few years ago and I started slipping and losing track. From November 2006 to March 2007, our family went through a very traumatic crisis and even my practice of listing every single purchase in my check register went by the wayside. I didn’t figure our finances for several months, just letting the money set in our checking account and using credit cards. I have managed to get back on track enough to look at our money once a month. And of course it takes a long time to go through all the reconciliations, trying to remember what was spent where, etc. Thank goodness for the Internet and access to accounts online.

I am hoping having a personal finance blog will motivate me to crack down on what’s happening with our money. We have plenty of money to cover our bills, and yet it seems we keep spending it willy-nilly. It makes me feel a little bit sick, because that is how I observed the adults as a child. Wasteful and unable to keep track of their money.

In my 30s, I found myself with some credit card debt. I have never liked the idea of being in debt, so decided to stop myself in my tracks and get out of debt. I had purchased an old mobile home and my stepgrandparents financed me. They loaned me $10,000.00 at 3% interest. My payments were $150 per month. I also had incurred $6,000.00 in credit card debt. I participated with Consumer Credit Counseling (not every company using this name is legitimate!) and agreed to cut up all my cards and pay $160 for 52 months. I also decided to stop having a car at that point in my life. I was a divorced stay at home mother with a disabled child. We used evaporative cooling and our electricity bill was low. I did keep up with my plan and paid off all my credit card debt. I continued on paying off the mobile home and by 2000 I was 100% debt free. I began to slowly build my credit scores again. Astonishingly, they were still high, although the credit counseling place told me that I would have slow credit for a while.

In 2000, there were a lot of major changes. I began working, we moved out into the “country”, had to buy a car since my work commute was 100 miles round trip, our new home only had air conditioning (we live in the desert), got dairy goats, chickens, lots of cats and dogs. My ex-husband and I have reconciled and are remarrying in October. We recently added him to my banking account and he now has his own debit card. We incurred close to $10,000 worth of credit card debt in the past year trying to clear up some issues from the past. We are both working and we should have enough money to pay off our debt at about $1000 per month. But that doesn’t seem to be happening, in fact we seem to be going in the other direction. At least when I look at our budget on paper, we should have $1000 per month left over.

I feel it is because I have lost interest and motivation for keeping track of our expenses. As I said, I hope having a blog will motivate me to regain the financial accountability I have had for most of my adult life.

I plan to blog at minimum once per week. I have a wedding to plan and hope to keep the expenses under $2000 with an estimated 100 guests.

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6 thoughts on “Have to Get Things Under Control Again

  1. I think it’s awesome that you’re giving this a go. Getting started (again) is 1/2 the struggle. The other half is making sure you keep up with it, and that can be harder than you think. Here I am only a month into blogging my progress and I constantly feel like I’m just a little behind.

    At least it’s constantly on my mind though! Thanks for the link, and I’m glad I helped inspire you to get started!


  2. Mr. Debtbeater, thank you for the encouragement to stick with it! I am hoping once the wedding is done and over with I can focus more on our money situation. And again, thank you for the inspiration! I’m looking forward to watching you and your family’s financial success!


  3. Mrs. Accountability, I’ve been enjoying your blog so much, I thought I would hop over here to the beginning. I feel exactly like this. On paper, we’re fine, but in actuality, we’re always short. I am really hoping to get much better at tracking our spending and making it match the budget! Also, it seems that so many of the PF blogs are twenty-somethings. I’m your age and I feel like I relate so much more to you than the others. Thanks for putting all this out here. It really is SO encouraging.


  4. Bettsi, I am honored that you started at the beginning of my blog! Yes, I do also get the impression most PF bloggers are 20-somethings. Nothing wrong with that, but I do remember being twenty and thinking I knew it all! How sobering it is to look back twenty years ago!! It drives me nuts how it all looks great on paper, but we just don’t seem to be able to stay on track. We are doing better, but it feels like an ongoing daily struggle. Thank you for posting!! You will soon be in my #1 commenter position, lol. 🙂


  5. Can you believe it’s been 3 years since you wrote this?! I am amazed at this story of how you began your blog and I am so excited to start reading all your posts!

    We have slid into a hole of debt AND are trying to save money to build our house. On paper our budget seems to ‘work’ too but in real life it just doesn’t. I’m hoping more money blogs like yours from REAL people will help get me motivated to try to stay on top of our spending so we can reach our goals (and help me continually try to motivate my husband to do the same!).

    Good luck and Happy Anniversary!


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