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As I mentioned in Part 1 of Our Journey To Frugal Living, there were a lot of money management and stewardship skills my husband and I just didn’t have. This would continue to be a problem for us for several years to come.
As the years passed, my husband worked his way up the ladder of restaurant management and our income increased. When we had our first child in 2000, I was able to become a stay-at-home-mom. Even though money was tight, it was also manageable.
We kept a small emergency fund, had a mortagage and car payments, and we thought we were doing okay. We tried to never charge too much on credit cards but from time to time we’d slip and carry a balance for a few months.
In 2005, we had our first wake up call that we’d gotten a little too comfortable with the new income level. We had 2 children by then and I was guilty of wanting to buy my girls cute little matching outfits. I would always buy them on sale or clearance or even at thrift sales so it wasn’t like I was being wasteful. At least that is what I told myself. My husband bought a car we really couldn’t afford as well as an expensive life insurance policy because he wanted the girls and I to be taken care of in case something happened to him. And suddenly, it seemed, we were starting to have trouble getting by each month.
I had heard about Dave Ramsey from someone at church. I bought The Total Money Makeover, read it, and suggested following his plan to my husband. He balked at giving up the credit cards but agreed to implement some changes to correct our financial situation. However, we didn’t fully commit to the plan.
We traded the car for a more affordable one, dropped the insurance policy and just had the one offered through my husband’s work, and I reigned in the clothes shopping. We made a few other small adjustments and, once again, felt like we were doing okay.
Shortly after that, my husband received a promotion and we moved to the Louisville, Kentucky area from the small town in Mississippi we’d lived in for the last few years. Thankfully the promotion brought a pay increase which helped balance out the cost of living difference.
Unfortunately, we would continue to make unwise financial decisions which included buying a house in Kentucky that was beyond what we could comfortably afford. And we did it in 2006, when housing prices around the country were over-inflated. That decision would eventually come back to haunt us. And we still had those credit cards.
Check back next week for Part 3 of Our Journey To Frugal Living: The Turnaround.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. See my disclosure policy for more details.