Together, we’ll take life one bite at a time…
I woke up this morning knowing that this post needed to flow out of me. My purpose is to bring you some hope. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, just know that nothing is forever. There is a way out and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There could be something around the corner that could change the path your family is set on completely. Maybe not but I want to encourage you to be content in the midst of circumstances and work towards changing your situation. Many of you are here at TFF to make a change financially, by couponing you’re able to stay home with your kids or save up for a big purchase. Others of you use the deals here simply to survive. We’ve been there. Either way you’re making change happen.
A little bit about our story. Just out of my first year in college I found myself married and pregnant (you pick the order) and very quickly we found ourselves in debt. We were young and were living in the NOW. The future seemed a million years away and had little to no impact on our current day to day situation, so we spent and lived like there wasn’t a tomorrow. No we weren’t extravgent we didn’t buy new electronics, cars, etc. However almost worse…we simply failed to plan or budget. We had nothing to show for our debt, nothing to sell, just payments to make. We were living on a very meager $12/hr and the little money we had didn’t stretch far enough to cover our living expenses so out came the credit cards. We charged our gas, our food, our clothing and so on. We managed to make our minimum payments month after month, but the payments began to grow.
A couple of babies later I found myself in bed night after night just panicking, thinking how in the world are we going to dig out of this hole. We were making a little more money at that point and I was attempting to work from home but we were still just barely floating above water, all while still using credit cards to survive. I felt so scared and so alone, we didn’t know who to reach out to or where to go for help. We had made the decision that bankruptcy would never be an option but even still I had no idea what we were going to do. We had some family members try to encourage by saying “credit card payments are just a way of life, you just have to learn how to manage them and budget for it.” Crazy advice right?! I knew that was wrong but still didn’t know where to go from there.
All along my husband and I had been believers and faithfully attended church, even serving on staff for a couple of years myself while my husband was on the board. However finances were never discussed and we were never equipped for the journey that life had us on. About 5 years into our marriage we began to make simple strides towards changing our financial situation, the first was using cash only. We pulled the credit cards out of our wallets and “put them away” however we didn’t cut them up because we needed them in case of an emergency. Of course emergencies seemed to be around every corner. Also determining what an emergency was became an area for discussion.
We began to make small strides out of debt as we were learning how to use ONLY cash. The credit cards came out less and less and our income began to grow slowly. We finally found ourselves at a place 8 years into our marriage where we were making exactly the amount we needed to survive on, but even still we were at bare bone levels and the only reason we had groceries in the cabinet was because of coupons. This is when our friends started to see that even in our financial situation, we didn’t feel as hopeless any longer. Something about a pantry full of food and enough toiletries to last a couple of months brings a peace of mind. We began to help our friends out by putting together boxes of food for them and they began to ask how we could be doing this. Did we get a raise, was I working more? No, it was plain and simply coupons and learning how to use them strategically and using cash only. That’s when I started my very first blog. I called it “Cash and Coupons” but in the famous Julia style I wasn’t happy with the name or the look of it so we moved here, to The Frugal Find.
I was sharing the deals I found and teaching my friends and family how to coupon by posting my shopping trips, etc. Very similar to what I’m doing today. Except we had no idea what would lie ahead for our family. Something would rock our world.
To be continued tomorrow…