We both have to start somewhere! I know I have put off budgeting for far too long and now I am in a hole of epic proportions. Maybe you are in the same situation. Living paycheck to paycheck and even more each month which led you to a mountain of credit card debt. We are in the same boat then! I feel like I have one paddle made like a basket weaved with many holes in it. This paddle I have makes it very difficult to move my boat upstream against the strong current that is my life. Enough of the sob story, it won’t get either of us where we want to go.
So this is our starting point. I want you to know where my family sits on this journey. I want to explain my plan to get out of this, and to document my struggles on this journey. If you are reading this and have any suggestions please add comments. Any help or advice you can give will help out tremendously. As you will see, my situation looks pretty bleak at this time. I have not lost all hope that my financial situation can get better, yet. Maybe you are in a situation similar to mine, you can’t give up and neither can I. We both have to budget and take control of our financial lives. I am going to treat my family like a business, because honestly it is if you think about it. If you want to know more about me and my family situation, check out the About page here.
I am the sole provider in my family situation. Due to high costs childcare and the fact my wife and I have young children we have decided to have her stay home with the children. I have a very stable job and am under contract for another 4 years. I don’t necessarily have to worry whether I will get laid off, which is a great plus in my situation. I make $2606.54 every two weeks after taxes. That equates to $5,213.08 per month and $62,556.96 per year. So all in all I make decent money. The problem in my career is the chance for promotions are limited and climbing the ladder is difficult. So the chance of me increasing my income is slim. This highly predictive income every two weeks does make it easier to budget.
We both probably have similar expenses. My expenses are pretty typical for the average American family. I will break down the expenses in the budget excel spreadsheet below. Feel free to use it for your budget as well. We have a mortgage (actually two), homeowners insurance (included in mortgage), cell phones, tv/internet, wife’s cigarettes, a car note, gas expenses, groceries, electricity bill, water bill, trash bill, vehicle insurance, school lunches for the kids, dog food, Netflix, household supplies, diapers, and credit card debt.
Ok now the embarrassing information. Yes I know I shouldn’t be embarrassed but I am. I know better than to use credit cards. My dad taught me better than that growing up, and I have Bachelor’s in Finance to pete’s sake. Here is the ugly part of my financial life, grab the tissue. We have a credit union credit card with a balance of $13,670.73, another bank credit card of $1,749.60, a big bank credit card of $5000.00 (which I got as part of a balance transfer mistake), a Rooms to Go account of $1,546.19, a cell phone financing of $1,043.56and my wife’s credit card of $4,100.00. This ends up giving us a grand total of $26,066.52 in credit card debt. This debt sucks our lives dry each month and we can’t get ahead of it. Now my dirty laundry is out in the open. In some ways I feel relief, but I am ashamed of where I have led my family financially and am determined to take control and dig us out of it.
After exhaustive research, I have determined that there are actually only two ways for me to get out of debt and regain control of my family’s finances. Read the next post.