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Where I Went Wrong Last Week

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This post has been one I’ve been dreading for a few days, because I let myself down. There was another post I had planned for today, but it hinged on me actually working on the steps that I mentioned in my last post, and I took none of those steps. Not a one. This week was a professional and emotional hurricane, as many weeks have been for me this summer. That’s not an excuse, and I need to plan for these better.  

Professional challenges

It’s another new work-week, and I am profoundly behind on everything. It’s not usually like this. The project I’m on, which was supposed to take about two weeks, has taken over six weeks so far. We continue to find new pieces to add into the scope of the project, and it’s exhausting. Some curveballs lobbed out of nowhere have meant that my carefully-crafted agenda might as well be garbage. Those surprises landed me with two full days of crisis calls, culminating with the senior VPs and I hanging up the phone at 8:30PM Friday night. Prior to that, on Wednesday I was woken at 5AM for a similar work emergency. That one concluded with me wrapping up one of my employees’ shifts at 7PM. I had called him in early to help and there was no one else to cover the evening.

As the person who manages the people who support our products and clients, I sometimes need to drop everything and set up a command center when things go awry (as seen Wednesday and Friday). The other days of the week, I worked until 8 or 9 PM trying to get ahead on the project that won’t end. The demoralizing thing is that I am an exempt employee, so there is no overtime pay in my future. My boss is generous with bonuses, raises, and stock options, and I can take almost unlimited time off when it’s slow. Historically, I’ve tended to not do that, but that changes now! Dedicated vacation time is the first thing I’ll take once my new hire is trained, late summer. 

Emotional Challenges

My ex (Mike) has been at my house, helping with my animals and housekeeping. He’s happily unemployed and is the only person available who knows how to care for my diabetic cat. I am eternally grateful he has been able to give me a hand, but it’s messy and difficult for each of us. I am not paying him, but I did get him some wine and steaks to say thanks. He’s been eating all his meals here, but they’ve been cheap. We went for half-price chicken wings on Tuesday and he paid for himself (we each paid $20 tax and tip included). Otherwise, we have eating inexpensive leftovers. had fish tacos for a couple days made from frozen fish, and I also made a giant pot of chicken soup from some chicken in the freezer and stock made from veggie and bone scraps laying around. I did a big shopping trip on Sunday and he sent me money for his share, so if he’s around this week, it will cost me nothing. 

What to do next? 

I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. My checking account has about $150 and other than $15 I’ll need for some groceries towards the end of the week, I don’t need to spend any more money. This workweek is going to be just as hard as the last one, and my single objective will be to minimize spending. I’m in the middle of my rent paycheque, which is usually difficult to save money on. I need emergency meals for the freezer at home and work, and I’ll have some ready to bring in for Tuesday. 

Next up is a spending diary for this paycheck on Thursday. My next paycheck is Friday, and I’ll set aside my first big chunk of money into savings then. I’m giving myself a deadline of August 9th for those calls to my service providers. It will take time to inquire about lowering fees and to get a meeting at the bank about consolidating debt. Realistic goals are important here! 


Blast From The Past…

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Hi Friends! It’s Beks! I blogged from 2009 – 2012. I slogged through some pretty miserable debt during those years. I’ve been invited to do a cameo post. What have I been up to since becoming debt free?

Whelp, I went back into debt…to the tune of $70,000. And no, that’s not a typo. SEVENTY THOUSAND.

Yeah. Y’all would have lost your minds if I had still been here.

Around 30K of that was within 6 months of becoming debt-free. I was pregnant with my second child, incredibly emotional, and driving a car that died at stoplights. Rather than do something silly like fix my car or buy a car we could actually afford, we bought a brand-spankin’ new car. Then, because heck, we were already in debt, we just. kept. going.

We continued this irresponsible behavior until I was on maternity leave with baby #3. I could only afford 6 weeks with this precious bundle. I was looking at our debt payments and realized I could be a stay-at-home mom if we hadn’t been such financial idiots.

I felt sick.

It took three miserable years to knock out the debt the second time. We had baby #4 during that period (kids are awesome). We always followed Dave Ramsay’s advice to set aside extra debt payments until after babies are born. Without going too far into it, we learned why that was good advice. Emergency C-section, NICU, delayed recovery. All painful things that would be made more difficult without a financial buffer. We brought the baby home, paid off the rest of the debt, and cried really, really, really happy tears.

Here’s what I learned… living debt-free needs to be a lifestyle, not a temporary diet. It was a lesson we had to learn twice.

We have been debt-free for 2.5 years now. We’ve paid cash for everything since including two cars. We have an emergency fund. We invest. We have become more generous. We have peace.

In a couple weeks, my husband will become a stay at home dad. It took 7 years longer than I thought because of self-inflicted stupidity but we made it.

You can too.


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