I’ve shared numerous times with you the financial step that saved my life…or rather kept me from having to file bankruptcy. And in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, it was a budget. Yep, that “b” word and if you’ve never created one before, head here to learn how to quickly set one up.
So, now, I’m going to share with you how it is that I jumpstarted my financial clean up, because I was in a mess.
I was 21 years old, in over $11,000 of credit card debt, facing an eviction notice on my door, and my budget was negative – meaning that I had no choice but to put things like gas for my car and groceries on a credit card because I literally did not have any cash left over after paying all my bills and the minimums on all my credit cards.
I was cash poor.
So, I had to get creative in my approach to jumpstarting my clean up. My budget was my first step, but now I had to find some money and FAST.
Here’s what I did:
I ransacked my apartment and literally threw a ton of stuff to sell onto my living room floor. I stayed up until 2am going through that pile, categorizing items, and making a list of the items, their descriptions, and the price I wanted to sell them for. Then I took photos individually (this was all before smartphones took over the world) and the following day I spent time at work uploading those photos and creating listings on eBay and Craigslist.
I didn’t have the internet at home so I did this while I was supposed to be working for my boss….I definitely don’t recommend you get yourself fired by doing something you shouldn’t be doing at work but thankfully, my boss was cool with it but most aren’t.
Even though my haul netted me a few hundred bucks, it wasn’t enough. Sure it paid off one of my credit cards (whose balance was only $140) and put a little money into my penny less savings account. But it wasn’t enough. I was still negative every month.
The next thing I did….
So, I had to do something that I HATED. Yes, I just used a bad word because it’s true. I absolutely despised it.
I took a second job.
Yep, I not only worked 40 + hours at my day job, and took 4 classes that semester in college, but also worked a part time job waiting tables.
And it was awful.
BUT, by the time I quit that second job, I had paid off another credit card (balance was around $450) and I finally had some wiggle room in my budget. I was no longer negative.
Don’t get me wrong. Things weren’t perfect. I needed to kill off more debt in order to add more room in my budget, but I was finally starting to breathe again after so long being under the crushing weight of my financial mistakes.
How I got through it all….
The only way that I was able to get through that month and half of working that second job was because I set myself a goal and told myself that my reward would be quitting the waitressing job.
My goal was to pay that next credit card (the $450 balance one) and then I could quit waiting tables.
Set Your Goals
So that’s what I want you to do if you haven’t already. I want you write out (yes, actually write it out) your goals. All of them – not just the financial ones.
I want you to write them down and write down what your reward(s) will be when you accomplish them. Then I want you to write down your action plan for making for your goals a reality.
Dreaming of an all-inclusive beach vacation? Make it a goal and make it actionable by setting a savings goal $5,000 with an end date of July 31st, 2017. Then brainstorm the different ways you can hustle in order to save up the money to go on your dream vacation.
Now, that’s just an example, so don’t get bummed out if your dream is to just have a $1,000 in a savings account. That’s still a big goal to accomplish and you should approach it the same way – set the goal, set the end date, and then brainstorm how you’re going to hustle to meet that goal.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Take the first step in order to accomplish your goals.
Do you have a success story? If so, I’d love to hear about it below!
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