I think it’s probably common, that every PF blogger has had that one defining moment which hit them over the head and made them say, “enough is enough, I have got to get my finances in order!”
Mine happened two days after Valentine’s Day…the day of love (or so Hallmark says), and appropriately enough, because it was the day I had to awaken enough self-love in me to get a grip on my finances. Because the stress and worry from some things that are in my control, and some that aren’t, were eating at me slowly day by day.
This is what my rock bottom looked like:
I left my house mid-day to go donate old books to the local public library.
I wasn’t having all that great of a day anyway. I finally talked to my dentist about my tooth and the crown they recommended, and what it would cost. $1200 out of pocket since I don’t have dental insurance.
On top of that, several projects that I was looking forward to working on didn’t come through.
For several months I had been going out of my way to avoid getting street sweeping parking tickets in my neighborhood, or any neighborhood for that matter. If you don’t have this problem to contend with, consider yourself lucky.
So I parked my car one street over Tuesday night, knowing they sweep my street on Wednesday. In fact, I never even left my house on Wednesday, which is unusual.
So off I go to get my car on Thursday, and it’s nowhere to be found. Having an “am I losing my mind?” moment, I walked around the block thinking maybe I just forgot where I parked it.
Awhile later, I began to walk back to my apartment doing the best I could to hold back tears. Great.
I gathered myself and called the police department to report my car, um, “missing.” The dispatcher told me (rudely) it was impounded.
My heart dropped and I immediately felt like some kind of criminal.
I called the people who towed it and they said I was blocking someone’s driveway. I honestly had no idea, of course.
This prompted my full-on meltdown. We’re talking balled up in a little corner of the room, heaving from the pain I was feeling.
To most people this would be just a dumb, stupid, or inconvenient mistake, but to me it was blown way out of proportion.
One reason is because I’m such a perfectionist, and very hard on myself (working on it!).
The second reason is that mistake cost me just over $300. It just so happened that I had just cashed a check for that amount a couple of days beforehand, and had really needed that check to cover some expenses. And just like that it was gone again.
A lightbulb went off, that this is how I was living my life, and it was a disaster! I felt like I was always robbing Peter to pay Paul. Moving things around in my checking and savings to cover my own ass. You know the drill.
I knew something DRASTIC had to change in my life. It was time to accept my reality and not live someone else’s life, with someone else’s higher income. I HAD to live within my means and start saving!
It has not been an easy journey so far, but it IS getting easier and it IS getting better. For instance I’m still finding myself going over budget each month, but by less and less, and more importantly I’m tracking everything, which is something I would give up on in the past.
So for now I’m going to celebrate each success no matter how small!
What was your rock bottom moment?
PS, I haven’t gotten one ticket since that day! 🙂