BG – Before Gail
Posted by John | Filed under Uncategorized
Yes, I admit it. I was a princess. I am now older, and slightly wiser…and definitely still paying the price! I am realizing that adult life is not always fun. Responsibility sucks, but c’est la vie!
I had quite a few false starts – I tricked myself into believing that I wasn’t a princess for quite some time. I also tricked myself into believing that I knew a lot about finances and knew what I was doing. Now, as I end my evenings washing ziploc bags and packing homemade lunches; I realize this time, I am really turning over a new leaf.
So what made me realize that things had to change? I found myself with no safety net, that’s what. I was divorced, out almost $50K after legal fees and the payout for my ex; and stuck with the same expenses that I had before except minus the second income. I had maxed out my line of credit to fill the house with stuff that I was now missing. It wasn’t pretty.
The day my line of credit hit its limit, I panicked because I knew I had a credit card bill coming in and no “money” to pay it off. I may have been financially irresponsible, but even I knew that 19% interest on credit card debt was plain stupidity. (Although somehow in my mind, the 7% interest on my line of credit seemed to be an ‘acceptable’ rate…Gail would totally whack me on the backside of my head for that one). I played with the idea of asking for more credit as I have a good credit rating; but then I realized that wouldn’t solve any issues. I realized that my daughter depended on me to get my sh*t together, so that, ladies and gentlemen was my wakeup call.
I’ve always believed that people are capable of change. HOWEVER, they can only change if they see the need to change for themselves. This was the first time it really dawned on me that I NEEDED to change my financial habits. I had no safety net and no extra disposable income. My parents were not happy with my decision to divorce my ex as they didn’t think it was good for a “woman to be on her own”, so I was damned if I was going to ask them for any help. My pride wouldn’t allow it.
Fate was on my side. I was watching TV one day and I discovered my financial guru – none other than our own Ms. Gail Vaz-Oxlade.
Wikipedia defines “guru” as:
A guru (Sanskrit) is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom, and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher)…Finding a true guru is often held to be a prerequisite for attaining self-realization.
Gail is a tough, no-nonsense woman who won’t put up with any sh*t – the type of person I can really respect. She is my financial “guru”. She helped me get to that point of self-realization. Her shows really hit home for me. After watching a few episodes, not only was I hooked; but I realized that I embodied so many of the same characteristics as her clueless subjects (BG – “Before Gail” of course). That’s when I realized that I was living in my own little bubble. I never had to worry about money in my life – my parents gave me everything when I was younger. Then when I married, between the two of us; we were making good coin. We both had HORRIBLE spending habits, but we made enough that those spending habits weren’t getting us into too much trouble. Then all of the sudden, I saw my household income halve and my expenses remain the same…not easy.
So, I created a budget and made a plan. I bought myself some mason jars, labeled them and I have been living on a tight cash budget ever since. It’s not easy, but it is so fulfilling and empowering to know that I CAN DO THIS.
So I am officially a recovering Princess and 4 months sober.