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Over the last few weeks, I have seen my hopes and dreams take shape again. I am getting back up on my feet and taking back the life I once thought was impossible.
A big part of my journey, however, has revolved around money. Whether it is paying for childcare, renting a house, or putting food on the table every day, I come home looking at the mountain of payments I have to make. I hope and pray the total after taxes on my paycheck is going to be enough to get us through a week.
Since I was a child, the value of money and pride of working hard has been instilled in me. My partner was not good at helping me pay for things. Having children, it has always been paycheck to paycheck with barely enough left over every month.
When I think about budgets, it always seems like a bunch of stringent rules. If I didn’t get it right the first time, I never would, putting myself back at square one wasting valuable time when I should be helping my kids to a better life in other ways.
Is it just that hard? What about them makes people so successful? How do I create a simple one? These questions rushed in my brain as I thought more about it. I was on the right track, I just needed someone to try and help me with getting started with one.
I have seen a lot of programs on the internet, but I needed to find one conducive to my needs while also compensating for the situation that we are in. Catholic Charities and their Financial Literacy program was that help that I desperately needed.
One of the big topics of the course was debt management and how important it is that whether it is $10 or $10,000, having a plan to get rid of it is a game changer. It is about being smart with the decisions you make and knowing the ramifications of them so you can always be in control over it.
Something else that was applicable was tracking where my money was going. In this day of subscriptions and other lucrative contracts, it has made me aware of what I sign and when I sign it making sure there is no other “fine print”. When you put pen to paper listing everything out, nothing should surprise you anymore putting you in complete control that when those unexpected circumstances come it will help rather than harm you.
The best concept this course helped me with is the value of building good credit and the benefit of repairing it when things go bad. Before the pandemic, everything was good and everyone was happy, but since then now out of a job and out of a house due to missed rent payments, my credit also took a tumble because of it. They reiterated how consistently paying off things’ month in and month out even if it is just the little things like a $100 car payment can pay dividends when it comes to paying the big things such as a $1,000 mortgage.
My life has always been riddled with tough choices. Every night, I find myself doing a risk-reward analysis of everything I own and the pros and cons of placing some things in higher importance than others. I have found through this class making those financial decisions correctly will make a big difference in the way I think, act, and live.