Hello again, Mothering! I've been away for a couple years. Good to be back again. :)
After 5+ years as a SAHM, a divorce that financially ruined me, loosing my home, now holding down a full time job at only $9.35/hr while supporting my kiddos with very little child support I've done what I thought was impossible. We may not have fancy things, a new flashy car (I love my PAID OFF 9 year old car!), take vacations outside the back yard, or wear designer names BUT my bank account looks better than ever! I set a goal for myself when I became financially independent after my divorce and began working outside the home again. I wanted to save $500.... then it was $1000, then $1500... etc.
After 6 short months at my grunt, entry level, low paying, dirty, job I've saved $3000! It all came from my paychecks. I've kept any child support I've received in a separate bank account and only used it for things directly related to the kids. When my tax return rolls in sometime in the next week or two I will instantly double that amount! I have enough remaining in my checking account to get my kiddos new clothes and shoes so I won't even need to touch my savings for that. My only plans for my savings when my return hits is a new set of tires for my car, a new pair of work shoes (my 10 year old high school gym shoes just aren't cutting it as I'm on my feet all day), and finally getting 2 cavities taken care of (no dental insurance has prevented me from doing so up to this point).
Once upon a time spending was addictive. These days I'm addicted to saving!
Thank you. :)
My boyfriend just moved here to WA from LA but as it was so recent the financial aspect is alone, yes. I have one credit card payment (my mother's credit card that I make all payments to that I used for attorney fees for my divorce), My only other credit card is paid off every month and kept only because it is the only credit card I obtained after my divorce so I could begin to build my credit independently. My car is paid off (it's a 2002 and I purchased it in 2004 on a 5 year loan) and I've kept it in very good shape so it only costs me gas and oil changes. It gets good mileage at 32mpg and that helps since my commute is 35 miles (school, daycare, and work 5 days a week).
I do receive $220 a month in food assistance and have been able to budget with only that. My kid's insurance is covered under the state as my income falls below the marks. I just began receiving child support (under $380 a month for 2 kids and I have them 75% of the time) after going over 6 months with no support and the previous 3 or 4 with very little. I'm paid twice a month and make sure to put $250 from every paycheck straight into my savings account. I micromanage my budgeting at the beginning and end of my pay periods and keep track of my account using my phone so I'm always aware of spending and the impact it's having. I divide my bills so they are fairly even for both paychecks in the month. I budget all of my set bills: rent, utilities, fuel, cell phone, credit card, daycare, kinder, and my monthly paid off credit card ($25-$35) then remove the $250 for savings as I consider it just as much a bill as the rest and don't allow myself to think of it as flexible. Whatever is left for each 2 week period I give myself freedom to use as I please for things like pet food, toiletries, fun activities, meals away from home, and those extras that come up every now and then like something for the home, makeup, haircuts, or a new item of clothing.
Any money I might bring in from the occasional artistic venture on the side goes straight into savings as if it was never there to spend.
That's really commendable. There are so many (ummm, myself included) who seem unable to save regardless of how much they make. You get a raise and somehow you spend that much more per month. It's hard to change your attitude about saving :)
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha
It's new for me as well. When I was married and a SAHM we always paid our bills on time but seem to spend up everything that was left. We did have some really hard times where bills were very hard to pay and we scrambled but even in the good times when money matters were more comfortable, we always found a way to spend it. We didn't live within out means. Now that I've been on my own financially it's hit me how important it is to be smart with my money and how quickly things can go sour if something unexpected comes up (and it always does). I have a new attitude about money since my divorce.
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