Sunday, April 21, 2013

Freedom 85

How many times have you said a sentence very similar to this, "Oh sorry I can't go, I am trying to stay on a budget to save some money". I am willing to bet.. not often enough!

Don't worry I have been there. Here is my story.. I moved out of my mom's house when I was 18 with my twin sister into a two bedroom apartment. We were living in this nice apartment without any furniture, so we go out and buy furniture and get some pieces from family and friends. All of that was planned and budgeted for. What we didn't think of was that first grocery store visit. The fridge and cupboards are completely bare, the ketchup, mustard and salt & pepper really add up. Next thing you know, first month, and you are over budget. And of course you need to enjoy your apartment and invite friends over and host parties. All I can say to that is, potlucks are a wallet saver! We found ourselves going to school and paving our own way. With only part time income and all the responsibility, life really adds up.

At the same time, I even found myself shopping to relieve stresses at school which also helped to rack up the bills. I always used the excuse that I needed clothes for work. I was going to be starting a career as a professional right?!

In the end, I found myself with a maxed out student line of credit and a closet full of clothes worth nothing. Luckily, I got hired on at my internship full time right out of school and I could get started right away to just put all my money to pay off that line of credit I managed to rack up.


Then it becomes going out for lots of lunches with people at work, grabbing a couple drinks after work which always turned into dinner, going on regular date nights out paying $200++ for dinner because I was working so much during the week. Not that Mike would ever guilt me, but you as a woman, and ladies I know you know what I mean you feel the pressure/guilt to hang out with your man. The easiest answers, 'Let's go out to dinner and have a date night, we haven't seen each other all week. At the time, I thought I was living in style, eating at Canyon Creek on a regular enough basis that the waiters knew me by name! Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely delicious, but a $200 meal every weekend is just not sustainable. Plus a nice bottle of wine to enjoy.

It wasn't until we started saving for our down payment that we finally snapped into reality and got our priorities straight. If working late a few nights extra a week meant getting into our home sooner and not going to that fancy restaurant, I was all for it. It no longer become a source of guilt, but a motivating factor to be able to own our home sooner.

Throughout all of that, I just paid off my student line of credit last year. That's 3 years after graduation with a full time job the entire time. That being said, i am happy it is over, but not so upset it took my that long to repay it. Over that period of time, I got used to living on a lower amount of cash in order to repay my loan. Now I am using that 'extra' money for savings.

I am  not telling you this story so you feel bad about me, but I want you to realize you have someone to relate to if you are in the same/similar transactions.

How does this relate to your personal situation? Do you want to share some of your experiences.

                                     Remember: We are a slave to debt, money gives us freedom. 

When you are old and grey, you don't want to have to be worrying about the bills piling up. According to national surveys, Canadians think they will be debt free within 10 to 15 years of the age group they are in. But reality shows, that people are carrying over $70,000 of debt into their 60's and the average age for people claiming bankruptcy is in their 50's. Do you want to be part of those statistics? 

See my earlier post on Creating your Household Budget for some help on your next steps to taking control of your finances. Dealing with the true numbers aren't always fun, but you need to face the reality of the past in order to own up to it and make the changes for the future.  

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