While sitting here trying to think of something more original to consider other than money management, I realize that I can’t. In fact, money management has been the only thing on my mind since I was let go from my job recently. So for me the time in my life that comes to mind in which I had to look at something a little closer to have it make sense was three months ago. This is my first time being unemployed since the age of 14 (almost 18 years ago). It’s also the first time in our five years of marriage that my husband is the bread winner, and the only one making money in the family. With no job, no back up plan, and being in a pending status to receive unemployment, I was left feeling helpless, and hopelessly overwhelmed. Bills started slowly piling up, multiple social events cancelled or missed, future travels put on hold, not to mention having three children with summer birthdays and upcoming school shopping to do for all five of our children. It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel, crawl under your covers and never come out. But once I was done crying all I could cry, I pulled up my big girl pants and began to plan.
Choosing not to continue sulking, I closely examined my situation by compiling a list of our family’s monthly expenses and monthly events in comparison to our new monthly income. With this list, my husband and I began to prioritize and separated the different expenses in various categories. These categories are things like home expenses (ie: mortgage and mortgage insurance), car expenses (ie: car payments and gas), utilities, food, events, personal (ie: barber shop or nail appointment), and Savings. Under these categories we listed everything that we usually pay for every month, and even added things that we randomly have come up, like birthday parties, gifts, or date nights. We examined my husband’s income and had to decide which items we could comfortably continue with and which ones had to go. Once we did this, we discovered that before I lost my job, we had an abundance of money and we were, like most American’s, over spending in ways that we could have been saving. This clearly was why I was overwhelmed in the first place. We have cut down in ways that we are still able to live comfortably without over spending. For example, instead of having two car payments, we did a trade in for an older model on one of them and now have only one car payment with more manageable insurance. Another example is instead of having a $300 monthly cell phone bill, we went down to a basic $50 prepaid plan. Now that we have a plan, our financial future looks a little more promising than when we first took a look at it.