The following guest post is from Ashley of Wide Open Wallet. Ashley was inspired by my own “Soggy Hotdog Story” posted a couple months ago, which detailed the point of my financial meltdown and subsequent turnaround. Be sure to visit Ashley’s site, and subscribe to her feed for more great articles like this one!
Hello Frugal Dad readers! First and foremost I would like to thank Frugal Dad for the chance to write a guest post for him. It’s a real opportunity for me. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to this large group of new readers. What can I say that will entertain, inform, provoke thought and represent who I am and what my site is about? That’s a pretty tall order for one single post. I’ve decided to write about a time in my life when I wasn’t being true to myself, and as a result I ended up in the worst financial position I’ve ever been in. In just three short years I went from having a good sized savings account to being $3,000 in debt.
I’m a natural born saver. It’s always something that has been important to me. From those first few paper route dollars, to the over time at a call center, I saved. As a result of that by the time I was 22 I had no debt of any kind and had saved up about $15,000. This is when I met my daughter’s father. He is a natural born spender. If it weren’t for getting pregnant our relationship would be nothing more than a distant memory. But I did get pregnant so I tried very hard to make this doomed relationship work. I didn’t stand up for myself. I kept quiet to avoid fights. I agreed to things I knew were wrong. I convinced myself that everything was fine.
The first thing to go was any new savings. He wanted to spend every dollar we made. It was always just one more thing. He didn’t value saving so to him it just seemed like a waste of money. He would argue with me about putting money aside. We just need a new DVD player and then we will save some money. Just one weekend getaway. Just one more toy. It was never worth the fight, so I would agree. Closing my eyes to what I knew was on the horizon.
But if you live spending every dollar, eventually you need even more. First my ex lost his job. Since he was unwilling to make lifestyle adjustments, I dipped into savings to keep the stress level down. Then we moved, which cost money. Then the car broke down. More money. We moved again. More money. We took the baby to see family out of state. More money. During this whole time I knew we were on a road to destruction, but I pushed it out of my mind. I was lying to myself that this is what was best for my daughter.
Eventually the savings ran out. But the spending didn’t. We needed a new couch. And a new this, and a new that. With my savings account drained I turned to a credit card. Before I realized it the balance was over $3,000.
I couldn’t take it anymore. That’s it! No more! I lost it. We had the fight that had been building up for the past three years. He moved out shortly after. I was a new person. No more relenting. No more thoughtless spending. I was focused only on paying off this debt and rebuilding my savings. I didn’t care about the fights it caused.
We were both happier once we separated. It should have happened long before it did. I know that it’s not ideal for my daughter. But it’s the lesser of two evils. This way we can both be true to ourselves. I don’t know what his financial situation is like, but once I started doing what is right for me my life turned around. I paid off that credit card debt in record time, and started to rebuild my savings. I felt free again.