First Person: We’re Young, and Working Toward Financial Freedom

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My husband and I have been married almost three years. In that time, we have added a beautiful daughter, handsome son and a hefty load of debt to our family. We make approximately $2,400 a month. We currently have two different bank accounts. Neither my husband nor I have ever had a credit card. Whether that benefits us or not, we may never know. Our credit score is not near what it should be.

Living paycheck to paycheck is a normal thing for my family. In the past year we have noticed this more than ever due to garnishments from my husbands paychecks and lack of work for myself. On a positive note, the garnishments are paying off debts one at a time; however, having had our second child less than two months ago, money is tighter than ever.

We spend more than we earn. With that being said, we do not overdraft our accounts very often. Instead, the money used to pay bills are used for other necessities such as gas and food. We make arrangements for certain bills almost monthly.

Our financial situation is our fault. We cannot blame others for our mess. Even with the state of Oregon unemployment rate being so high, one of us has always had a job at any given time. We need to fix this together so that our children can attend college if they so desire and we can retire someday. A life change needs to be made to create peace within our finances.

How does one change something so engrained as spending money so carelessly? I am not saying we don’t pay our bills; however, I will admit that most of them are a month behind. We’ve added more bills in the last two years, thinking we were ready for the monthly payments. We get by, but it leaves little spending/emergency money. We need structure, and structure we shall find.

We hope to lay everything out on the table and go from overspending to saving at least $100 a month. Our goal is to make the $1,850 we spend on bills our top priority. This leaves little left over, about $600, so we will have to learn to live on a very tight budget. After I go back to work, another almost $600 will be added to the left over for spending.

Now we need to come up with a game plan. Communication is the key. A budget will be enforced and spending laws will be laid. The ultimate goal is to get out of the hole we’ve naively dug for ourselves.

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