When I speak about being irresponsible with my money, I specifically mean I wasn’t saving enough and I was accumulating debt. Yes, I’ve always contributed to a 401K. Yes, my bills are paid on time 100% of the time. That was never my issue. Like so many I found it hard to save yet easy to spend. My credit debt utilization was insane in 2016. I couldn’t figure out how I got there. So let’s back track…
In May 2014 I had just began working at the job I happily quit in 2016. I increased my income by 19% with that move. I lived at home with my family, I had savings, I had NO credit card debt, my only bill was a car note and I was truly living lovely. I shopped a lot, I ate out whenever I wanted and my father always gave me a hard time about living this way. I remember going on a mini shopping spree in summer of 2014 where I bought new clothes and later a new MacBook Pro. All cash. Aside from all of this, my commute was hell. I really wanted to move out of my dad’s house, get independence and be in the city. So in October of 2014 I moved into my first apartment in Lakeview. Back than I thought the neighborhood was cute, groceries stores were in walking distance, it was train and bus accessible, and on a beautiful block. So I moved out of my parents house with $5,000 in my savings. Let me just tell you now, hindsight is 20/20. I should have saved double if not triple that.
I had NO FURNITURE. My dad is not the kind of parent who furnishes your home. So I had to buy everything. Could I have bought used? Probably, but as someone who slept on someone else’s bed bug infested bed, I wasn’t taken that risk. $5000 doesn’t go that far at Ikea no matter what you think. Making new friends in the city isn’t cheap either. So now I’m buying new furniture and I’m going out more often. I’m even shopping more because unlike my previous position, this job doesn’t have a uniform. This is how I made it to 2016 with 75% credit utilization and no savings. Living beyond my means. For me living beyond my means wasn’t Chanel bags and new phones. Shockingly enough I don’t really need a lot of STUFF. Most of my money went to food and hair. I spent a good portion of money going out eating, drinking, parties and etc. I wasn’t thinking about responsibility at 25 & 26. As long as all my immediate needs and bills were taken care of I was happy.
At some point in 2016 I went to a family member to get help with my budget and although it was somewhat helpful, it wasn’t the key. It’s hard to be vulnerable about your money in a society where you’re taught not to discuss it. It’s hard to get help from someone when you feel you’re being looked down on. It’s is difficult to deal with other people judging you, or you thinking they’re judging you, when you are harshly judging yourself. Getting financial advice is like getting relationship advice. I get all my relationship advice from my happily married friends who’ve been through some shit and now are better for it because I can be vulnerable and honest with them. So I began searching for someone who I could be vulnerable and honest with when it comes to my money. Someone who I can trust. For some people that is someone close to them but for me that wasn’t the case.
I began transforming my money mindset by listening to financial podcasts. I came across Farnoosh Tarobi’s So Money podcast and it was a major key in changing my money mantra. I wasn’t a believer in manifesting or energy but over the course of the last two years that’s become my guiding force in every area of my life. Like many of us, I didn’t have a complete understanding of financial literacy. I was smart about so many things but I wasn’t smart about MY money. So 2017 became the year I got off my ass and made real changes in my financial life. I came across a non-profit group that provided me with a financial coach in 2017 and she changed my life like never before.
To Be Continued…
Leave a Reply