While roaming around the blogosphere I read an awesome post by Melanie at Dear Debt entitled Women & Money: Why are we so hush-hush? The post also featured an awesome video of women talking about being more open with their finances, and getting the knowledge they needed to make better financial decisions. What resonated with me the most was when one of the women made the statement that if you have a financial plan it means you’re taking control. I loved that statement so much for in the past when my finances was a hot mess, I actually felt like my life was out of control.
Everytime I was about to make a purchase I use to check my account to make sure I had enough to cover it. This was because I lived from paycheck to paycheck and never paid attention to what came in and what came out of my bank account. I remember the adrenaline I use to feel when standing in lines at the store, and anxiously would log into my bank account on my smartphone to check funds, just so I wouldn’t get the sorry your card is not going through phrase from the cashier. I did this for years, never realizing that I didn’t have to put myself through this stress with just a little self-control and budgeting.
I ignored 800 numbers and unknown phone calls to avoid bill collectors. This would be so embarrassing when I was with company for people always would give me the look like why wouldn’t I answer my phone. I remember my mom had giving me a credit card for when I was going through a rough time in my life, and I barely made payments to it because I just couldn’t afford it. The bill collector contacted her and I was so embarrassed and so hurt when my mom called me about this debt, for it now was affecting her credit and I had lost her trust.
Always had to borrow money for emergencies. When you live from paycheck to paycheck there is normally nothing extra to put in your savings. Having an emergency fund back then was not something that was important to me. When I had to go home on emergencies I would utilize a special program that the military offered, that would give non-interest loans for military members to purchase plane tickets to fly home. I look back now and I cannot come up with a good excuse of why I didn’t make an effort to create an emergency fund.
Too scared to apply for credit. For years I never applied for credit for I just couldn’t handle the rejection. I remember when I had to apply for a loan to pay for the removal and contamination of the oil tank for the home I had to short sale. I had no choice but to apply for a personal loan, and when I went to the bank I said and did everything including cry during the application process. That poor clerk must have thought I was nuts, but the anxiety of just asking for the money drove me emotionally over the edge. When I walked out of the bank I was weak, and believed that I wasn’t going to get approved, but thank God because I had cleaned up my credit I was approved.
Now that I have a clear financial plan and stick to a budget, I feel in control of my finances and my life. About six months ago I had to go home for a funeral and the free military flight bumped my daughter and I off the plane, but I was able to call the airlines and book our tickets home and paid cash with money to spare in my emergency fund….CONTROL. I recently applied for my first rewards credit card and I was so confident when I pushed that submit button, and smiled when the screen read congratulations you were approved….CONTROL. I paid off my personal loan 6 months early without making any financial sacrifice which again displays…..CONTROL.
So I am a living proof that if you have a financial plan, its possible to feel like you’re in control. Be inspired and take control of your finances and life.