Going on a financial diet.

I really hate diets….

I want us to be successful in working towards paying off our debt so I am making it a point to find out as much as I can on the subject of personal finance and debt reduction.  Oh man, there is a TON of information out there on the subject! I read blogs, watch you tube videos, listen to audio books (I pretty much work out of my car) and have recently discovered Podcasts! While there are so many great sources out there to fill my empty mind with knowledge I have come to the realization that that personal finance and weight loss have a lot in common!

I know what you thinking…….Magan…WTH?….. Personal finance and weight loss are not the same at all. Well thank you Mr/Mrs smarty pants 🙂 As someone who is overweight (lifelong foodie here) I have spent countless hours listening/reading/watching just about everything out there on how to lose weight, and you know what? Everyone out there has some special recipe, tip, trick, advice, or sure fire way to lose weight (especially if they have done it already).  Don’t eat meat! Eat only meat! Lemon water only! Grapefruit diet! Atkins! Low carb! Calorie restriction! They all have different methods but the basic fundamentals are the same…. Eat less junk, eat more whole foods and move more. The worst part is that I know all of that! Everyone has heard it at some point in their life, whether from a doctor or a TV commercial, so why am I not doing it?!

As I spend more time learning about personal finance and debt reduction I see the similarities in that everyone has a special plan…(especially if they have done it already). There is TONS of advice out there about what to do first, what expenses to cut, needs vs wants, baby steps, debt snowballs, invest vs not investing…etc. But it seems to me that, just like weight loss advice, the basic fundamentals are the same… spend less, earn more money, no impulse buying, and make a budget.  This is where I really see the similarities with how I handle both weight loss and personal finance….I know all of these basic fundamentals….SO WHY AM I NOT DOING IT!!??

The magic pill

As I really start to look deep inside myself I know that, just like with my weight loss, I have always been secretly looking for the magic pill that will just make it all go away  with my putting in as little effort as possible and without me having to change my life style. It has taken a very long time but I think that it has finally sunk in that no one is going to fix this financial (or weight loss) mess for me, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be uncomfortable, and it’s going to suck…..but I don’t have a choice! It’s definitely time for my family and I to get a little uncomfortable and change our habits and stop this over consuming life style that has gotten us know where except broke, in debt, and fat.

Over Consumption

I wonder if there is any doubt at all that we are so badly in debt and also overweight. My husband and I are the overweight ones; thankfully our kids have not followed in our footsteps, and I if I have my way never will! We clearly have a problem with over consumption, whether it is food or stuff, and it’s something I know that we both learned from our parents. We are taking the rest of this month (March 2017) to look at what expenses we can cut and then working on a budget in April….. so I guess if we are keeping with the weight loss theme that’s when we start our calorie counting J I am painfully aware that my husband and I have never stuck to s diet and exercise routine but I am hopeful that the discipline that we learn from cleaning up our finances will trickle over into other aspects of our lives! At least we won’t be eating out or buying snacks any more so that should help the ole’ waistline a bit 🙂

Making hard decisions and being grateful.

Moving in with mom and selling the house 😦

When life hands you lemons be thankful for those sour little devils and make some dam lemonade!  I won’t bore you with all of the stupid choices we made along the way that landed us in roughly $230,000 in student loan, mortgage, credit card, vehicle, and medical debt…I’m guessing you can probably figure it out. Yep, we were doing all of those things that you are “supposed” to do like going to college, starting a family, and buying a home…and of course trying to keep up with all of those people you know, and come to think of it, even people you don’t know….who the heck are the Jones’s anyway???

A couple of months ago I had enough, we have had a very fortunate thing happen to us…. moving back in with my mom (thank you Granny)…. and we were still living paycheck to paycheck! We were very lucky to get a renter into our house to cover the cost of the mortgage and utilities but one day the renter called up and said that the furnace had went out. We had absolutely no money saved to replace a furnace and, of course, it was in December (2016) up here in the cold upper Midwest.  We once again had to put our tail between our legs and ask parents for help, and that was the last straw….I had absolutely had enough!

Where is our MONEY!!!!  After years of being totally ignorant of our finances I sat down and started looking at our expenses, and then I started adding up the debt. I don’t think that I have ever felt a panic so deep in my soul before that day. No wonder we didn’t have any money, we were $230,000 in debt and had an annual household income just shy of $70,000. I was mortified, what the F*%k were we going to do?! After I told my husband, I cried and he held my hand and in a very calm and soothing voice said “it will be ok” WTF!!!! NO IT WON’T!!!  It took me a while to regain composure but after I cooled down I started to realize that wouldn’t you know it…he was right J

We were going to be ok. We were going to have to make some pretty hard decisions but we were going to be ok. The first decision was to continue to stay with my mom, that was a really hard one, but I need the security of knowing that my kids will have a roof over their heads and a loving grandparent here to tuck them in some nights because mommy’s butt was going to have to get a second job.

The next hard decision that we had to make was to sell our home, which we plan to do this spring. We do have a little emotional attachment to it just because it’s our first home but we can’t afford to keep it around.  Plus, if we are able to make any money on the sale we can use it towards paying down our debt.

The next thing is really going to be the hardest…. We need to stop spending needlessly and cut our expenses.  We are starting with obvious things like not eating out, no movies, and cutting cable (that one makes me tear up). But we don’t really know anything about budgeting or living below our means so this should be interesting J

P.S. We are complete newbies at this so if anyone has any tips/tricks, or advice…we would greatly appreciate it!