I ask this question because it came up often when I was a single mom. My daughter and I, being the extroverts we both are, loved to be on the go. Always. Looking back, I wish I would have done things differently, but those thoughts are for another post.
Back to our plans for the weekend. Lot’s of fun options to choose from here, ladies!
Dinner and drinks? At my home, yours or out? Take the kids or not? If we take the kiddos we can’t drink as much and that doesn’t sound fun… So maybe your house?
Shopping on Sunday? I see your outfit rotation is getting pretty sad and those shoes. They got to go girl. Like yesterday.
Movie? Mmmm, probably not.
Hang out on the couch with a bottle of wine? Watch Billions or Home Land on Showtime, talk about our wildest dreams, fun nights out and worst loves ever while the kids play? Always a favorite!
Now for the kicker and what you probably never dreamt was as an option when planning your weekend as a single mom …
“You want to hang out, put together a five-year plan, and see how that monthly budget came out? I have been dying all week to see the spreadsheet”.
OOOOOFFFFF, COURSE not.
No, thank you.
Group Financing? Friendships & Finance? Sounds like a geek squad from the finance department carrying spreadsheets and US weekly magazines with a special focus on viability, stability, and profitability.
But why not ladies?
Why is it that as women our finances are off limits with one another but we can share our deepest secrets? Why can we shop together and spend money together while talking about our biggest mistakes but never really sit down and support one another in managing our finances? It’s like to each his own.
This is about as far as the finance conversation ever went for me and my friends…
“Ugh, my bank account. I can’t even look. I get paid next Friday. I hope my car insurance doesn’t go through ’til Monday. Those freakin’ overdraft fees are KILLING me”.
“I know. I think I’ll pay my electric bill NINE days late. IN.PERSON. That way I’ll at least have an extra $32.51.”
“Thank you, God, for the $1.32 I found in Jr’s piggy bank. Now I can put $7.23 in gas. Should last me two days in my gold Dodge Neon.” Hey, don’t hate. You could do that in 2002 with a gold Dodge Neon….
Lots of other hustles were pulled off in the Land of Single Parenting. LOTS.
The saddest part?
I lived that way when I was dead broke and barely getting by in college while raising my baby girl.
Years later, when I made $60,000? Not much changed. There was more money and the bills got paid, but I still spent it. Not on expensive shoes, or designer purses. It just goes, kids birthdays, credit card bills, late payments, overdraft fees, student loan debt, car debt, Christmas, Easter. You feel me?
You get the drift…
Sadly, I had created a bad habit. A routine that needed to shift like a muscle never exercised.
Being a single mom is hard and very costly. So why aren’t we planning financially?
Dont’ get me wrong. I was concerned about my financial future and I am 100% sure you probably are too. I was aware my daughter would need more as she got older. I stressed about her first car, college, my retirement, and savings.
Below is an example to show you just how bad my old routine for “budgeting” was:
On payday or a couple of days later, I figured everything out on my handy “budgeting” notepad. Incoming and outgoing. Then I proceeded from there to keep calculations in my head. Yes. I calculated in my head! What the what?! Who does that?
Now, to give myself a bit of credit, this was before smartphones and bank apps. To give myself a little more credit I would check my account online, which always and inevitably left me with a, “OH! I forget I bought that. Great, I have $127.82 less than I thought…”.
I know. Totally humiliating myself putting this out there.
For most of us, in this financial illiteracy boat and as single moms, we are simply overwhelmed. We want to do a better job with our money. We want to take care of our family financially. But managing and planning finances are just more things we have to do in a long list of to-do’s mounting faster than we can say “excel spreadsheet financial planning committee”.
So what to do?
The financial world I lived in on my own as a single mom? I didn’t stay there forever and I didn’t create the change all alone.
I, without a doubt, needed an accountability partner. Someone who cared about my finances and my daughter’s future.
But because I was so exhausted and because I had so much weighing on my shoulders, I needed help.
I needed to learn a new way of doing things.
I was in financial crisis clean-up mode in 2009 when I met my future husband. Guess what the handsome stud got me for Christmas? A book titled “Financial Peace” by that crazy finance guy, Dave Ramsey. That was the beginning of the end of our financial debacle.
We went on to pay off $85K in three years. That was nearly five years ago.
If you are passionate about having your finances in order, I highly recommend finding an accountability partner that has already conquered debt. One that is passionate about supporting others and knows how to help you get started and see you through, regardless of the financial stage you are in. Becoming debt free is 80% behavior. It is a lifestyle. You will be exercising new muscles and creating new habits.
The hardest part?
Food for thought: When I began the journey of learning how to become debt free one of the first challenges I faced was the concept of debt. What do you consider debt and how would you define it?
**This is the first blog of a series of finance blogs I will be doing. Stay tuned for the following week’s blogs that will offer more insight and step by step approach to helping you master your debt and live a debt free life.
Photo credit: pixabay.com/en/time-money-banknotes-stopwatch-1558037/