Monday, October 8, 2007

Guest Post- The Total Money Makeover Series, Installment 1

As promised...our first guest post! This is the first in a series of Total Money Makeover stories from shegazelle's readers. There's still time to volunteer, so step right up!

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  • Name or Alias: MG
  • Age: 46
  • Marital Status: Married 20 years
  • # of Children: 2, 1 living at home
  • Occupation: Homemaker

September 19, 1961.…
I grew up a middle class neighborhood. I was taught good strong moral values and how to have good work ethics, although I didn’t use the latter much until much later. I had it pretty good as far as the material amenities went. The problem was this; there wasn’t a lot of financial teaching so all I had to go by was example. My parents were frugal for the most part but still borrowed money and used credit cards. They did the best they knew how but I guess my parents didn’t get much financial teaching either other than “waste not, want not”. Mom did very well stretching dollars when it came to clothes and food, as I recall. I must have picked up on that concept because those are also my strong points. I found out (when I had to cook for my own household) why we ate sooo much ground beef while growing up (I swore I would never eat it again when I was in charge), it was cheap and it would stretch far enough to feed eight people. Thanks Mom - I now know 365 ways to cook ground beef and “like it”.
Spring 1978….
So, like I said, I turned out to be a fairly frugal adult. I think I could even “out frugal” Mom these days (no offense Mom).
Alas, as frugal as I was, I still had issues: I still believed in borrowing money, using credit cards, and couldn’t get my budget to work very well. Here’s how it would go; paycheck comes in, goes in bank, pay bills, then spend the rest on food and miscellaneous items, until it was all gone, which usually meant within the first two weeks, and then tough out the rest of the month, or, “rob” Peter to pay Paul again (Peter, by the way, never got paid back). There was always more month than money, always. Basically, (I hate that word, but it works) I had my budget upside down. Something had to change….
April 2007.…
The scenario is a common one in America; I had much debt and zero savings. A plan for retirement was nonexistent. I own Whole life insurance (but not for long). I had nine credit cards, all with balances. One of those cards being a “90 days same as cash” beauty (I paid twice for that computer!). Oh... yeah…I pretty much made every mistake in the book. Then I attended Financial Peace University and all I can say is, to use the well worn cliché, “it changed my life”. As a result of “My Total Money Makeover” I now have a budget that actually works, paid off seven of the credit cards and in just three months managed to save the $1000 for Baby Step One (for me, that‘s a miracle). There’s always a few dollars left at the end of the month, and Peter and Paul have moved out and bought a Timeshare together! Amazing how this plan works!! I say this not because I want kudos, but to show that anyone can do this no matter how much or how little one has to work with. Suffice it to say, I am on a mission…I want FINANCIAL PEACE!! My endeavor to do so may seem a “little over the top” to most folks (it was I who submitted the $10 dollar grocery list to Shegazelle which, by the way, I have not tried. It was just a fluke at the time. I have since reconsidered, and may try it in future) but it’s what works for me. I am willing to go to great lengths to reach my goal. For me that means “when she pinches pennies, nickels pop out”. I am a dangerous consumer. By that I mean I don’t consume much anymore and when I do rarely pay full price. I’m sure Wal-Mart and Costco miss my frequent $200 visits. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you. I have such a long, long way to go, but I am enjoying “the ride“. To those of you who have recently joined us, or perhaps, are pondering the idea of joining The Total Money Makeover, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely“. ~Karen Kaiser~
MG

6 comments:

A.L. said...

MG is an inspiration to us all. My hat if off to you!

SheGazelle said...

Seriously! MG used the clothes dryer 30 minutes last month- I used mine that much the other night for just one load! Then again, considering where I live, I can't very well hang all my garments out to dry...

Anonymous said...

To MG and Shegazelle,

Hats off to both of you for the wonderful choices you have made. It is an honour to know both of you, even if it was for a short 13 weeks :D

Look forward to many more years of your musings!

Sincerely,

The "Facilitator"

SheGazelle said...

Thanks!
Everyone, that was our FPU Facilitator who did a great job even though we were his first class! He's now a seasoned veteran and moving on with his second class on Oct 22. So if you live in my area-GO.
I'm so hooked I'm lookin' forward to joining the group for the "Super Savers" lesson on the 22nd!

Anonymous said...

As a matter of note, I am pleased to inform your readers the price for the FPU kits has dropped dramatically! If you decide to join a local class, it will only cost $89.00 for the entire set of materials. This is a $50 drop in price! If anyone has been hesitant because of the cost - now is a wonderful time to take advantage of Dave's wisdom and guidance.

Sincerely,

The "Facilitator"

SheGazelle said...

89 bucks is a STEAL. Anyone who's been thru the class knows that at that price it's practically a gift.