If you are new here: I am not an affiliate of this post program (and the bootcamp is free); this post is part of our Improve Your Relationship with Money series. Each post in this series is related to a course, book, education or tool geared toward just that, Improving Your Relationship with Money.
What some people do not know about me is, my father died two years ago. Since that time, my life has become a serious point of reflection. I still remember the day my father called me and told me about an episode where he could not take off his shirt because his shoulders locked up. Looking back now, all the signs were there and I missed every single one. Although he did not die of cancer, he did die from everything else.
I will never lose the regret of wanting to have the financial freedom to move “home” and take care of my dad; my money struggles did not end there.
Fast forward a year after my father’s passing to a blogging conference in Portland, Oregon. Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter was sitting across from a chair I had left briefly to visit the little girls room during a break. When I returned she was leading the group in an assignment. I was aware of her presence immediately. She had this way about her that is hard to explain; I later learned she use to be a police officer and that explained some of it.
I remember asking my blogging neighbor who she was when she walked away. “Rosemarie!” She said with such conviction I felt guilty for not knowing who she was (ironically, it has happened a couple times since then). I seriously wanted to look behind me, like I could somehow capture what I missed. Come to find out Rosemarie was the one and only blogger who was now earning over a $100k a month. Yep, you read that right…a month. Ummm. You can bet your last dollar I was going to find out what all the hype was about.
Let me get you up to speed from where I see it.
I signed up for the BusyBudgeter.com 90 Day Budget Boot Camp and it was free.
Here is how it went.
Day 1 (don’t worry, I’m not going to go into detail of everyday; I am going to hit the high points): You’ll Never be the Same Again. Well, that’s what she promised. I vividly remember her saying, well writing to me, at one point: “this is the first day of the rest of your life. Look around.”
I still remember where I was sitting, taking a deep breathe and looking around.
“Shit,” I thought to myself, “you don’t have it that bad.”
You see, we live in a beautiful home, and neighborhood for that matter, and we both drive nice vehicles. My husband also has a Harley, but it wasn’t that that was eating away at me per se. It was the never ending pull at my pocket book. Was this *$#! debt ever going to end?
At some point, I always thought I was going to make it big (or die some ironic ending).
Let’s get real, without a dream of making it big nothing else could keep me going under all this financial weight, which was reinforced with her first challenge.
Determine Your Net Worth.
Yeah, I may have a positive Net Worth; the debt was looming over me at $400k. Can you imagine? 45 years old and almost a half a million – 1/2 a million – dollars in debt. And I thought I had problems in college when I graduated with $2k in credit card debt. I do remember how good it felt to pay that off!
I was caught in a never ending cycle and I swear I was looking for an end, especially with three of the four children entering college within a year of each other in my near future.
What about the second challenge?
Naturally, we were spending more then we were bringing in.
We were the “typical” American family living outside of our means and I hated myself for it.
None the less, I got my homework done and we were back to work, just like she said. And I needed all of the seven days allowed for the challenge (I think most people would, so I’m sure it’s no coincidence she planned it that way), but that’s another story. Luckily, I had recently purchased the a planner and budgeted a couple months; it still required some more organizing.
No lie, I entered all of our bills into a spreadsheet for easy calculation. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or throw up before hitting the SUM button.
I was in better shape then I expected, but I still did not feel any better about my financial state of affairs.
Then the cuts began. You can read more about How-to Cut Cable Costs by Steaming, which saved us $1,300 a year!
I consider myself to be a clean person; my closet has always been a struggle. The chaos in there feels similar to debt. One suggestion Rosemarie had was a Home Stockroom. Although I live in a fairly spacious home, storage is less then desirable. So in the spirit of being a good student, that meant tackling my closet. I had been putting this off for some time and it was the push I needed. You can see the results here and how I learned to organize any space even if I took breaks. Complete with a a checklist to get organized.
Another big accomplishment from the first two weeks was organizing my shopping online. It is not practical for me to drag all my kids to the store and it helps control spending. On average I spend over $75 more when I shop in person at the grocery store. That is how I came to predominately shop and save online.
By challenge seven I was burnt out and it was one I hated….meal planning. It was that time of year (goal setting) and I landed on a FIT2Fat2Fit plan, which consisted of a Keto Diet. Collectively my husband and I ended up losing 54 pounds in three months and are still losing, inches and pounds.
Challenge eight had us initially arguing, but we are combing forces more then in the past. Money is a tough subject and I do not like arguing, so it was a long week.
Challenge nine was somewhat easier then I thought; not in regard to aging, but I have come to find a few substitutions of my own there. She has numerous ways to make substitutions that anyone could benefit from.
We were in the “messy middle” just like she said and Challenge 10 didn’t care.
Where money is concerned, I have always struggled to keep my head above water.
I have a secret: I remember taking Dave Ramsey’s course on Financial Freedom and just wanting to be that guy: crying in the shower of a multi-million dollar house and everything still working out.
Now, I’m reading in Challenge 10, hearing “just hang on”, when all I wanted to do was drop out!
The frustration. Worst than that, I just wanted to call my dad.
So, do what she says, “Build Your Dreams”. We weren’t the Jones’s, but we were sure trying to keep up with them and I wasn’t about to go into another penny of debt to keep up. This step alone bound my family and I together. Working on a budget to meet our goals and it was refreshing. We all agreed to sacrifice for the common goal (and keep each other in check).
And so the challenges went all the way through 13; I found when she said, “I get it…” the lesson paid off. She did get it. It is also the biggest take away from the BusyBudgeter.com 90 Day Budget Boot Camp, and probably the thing I resented most. Each one of those lesson has more of my time and money involved in it; the challenges worked out and are still in play. Not only for my time and money, but for future planning and goal setting. If you accept the challenges you will have future conversations with your husband and children (and friends) that you will find rewarding.
So, my dad, and the dream, what do they have to do with any of this? I just wanted to take care of my dad when he got sick. We were states away and locked into debt that limited our ability to move.
Regret is a powerful tool, because we can all use it.
Take the BusyBudgeter.com 90 Day Budget Boot Camp, it’s free!
Someone once said, “what you conceal you don’t deal.” As I brought all these challenges to a close there was a common thread: we are all just trying to make it. I concealed our debt instead of facing it head on and I was not there for my dad when he needed me most. This is one of the biggest happy demerits I feel. I do give myself a gold star as well because, now, I am working to clear my financial clutter. This tool just brings me one step closer to working through my own money blocks. None the less, it is important to share it, because we are all just trying to make it.
As always, don’t be shy… I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or if you tried it out. Please comment below!