The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Phoenix! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.
When I starting blogging almost seven years ago, I had no idea the changes that would be made in my life or the opportunities I’d have because of it. I only started blogging because I had stumbled upon personal finance blogs and was desperate to climb out of the hole I was in, only after hitting rock bottom twice in one year. Hitting rock bottom sucked so badly but I’m glad it happened to me. I’ve had plenty of bad things happen since then ( a failed engagement, a job becoming toxic, a car accident that left me needing cortisone shots, etc.) but it’s when those things happen that remind me financial wellness is a journey but so worth it.
I originally had the odds stacked against me. I was orphaned at 15 after living in a house hold that went from middle class to living paycheck to paycheck to a single mother who was in the hospital dying slowly over the course of a few years. I bounced from relative to relative, who used me for a social security check, until I was 19 or so, and finally decided to live with my step father who had his own issues. I moved out officially when I was 21, after dropping out of school, losing my job, my best friend in a nasty car accident and my car, all within in a month. I moved in with my boyfriend at the time and found a part time job that got me by until I found a more current one and started saving for a new car again.
Since then, I’ve come extremely far. I re-enrolled in school and became the first in my family to graduate with an AA. I have two semesters left until I walk with the stage with my bachelors but I currently have a 3.73 cumulative GPA and I’m studying abroad in Israel this summer. I also have continued my career in non-profits, currently running a program in Phoenix, AZ where I live, in a cute apartment with a cat with six toes in a fun neighborhood with a retro feel and diverse population. I own my own car and I’m getting my braces off next week, something that has costs me over $6,000 but was well needed and so worth it.
But, all of those good things have come after all of my hardships. Because I was all over the place when I was younger, I craved stability in the wrong way and usually was in the way of living with a boyfriend playing house. Because I never found stability, I self destructed in other ways and never really though about the future until I was reminded over and over in bad experiences. Failed engagement & break ups, toxic work environments, extended breaks from school, clutter and never having enough in my checking account were the wake up calls I received over and over.
On my current road to financial wellness, I’m doing well. I make sure I follow a budget and track my spending and make tweaks as needed. I try to pay all of my bills in advance and live beyond my means, usually by cooking all of my own meals, not shopping for stuff and finding low cost ways to have fun help extremely. I talk to a therapist about my anxiety and depression and all of past that has shaped it and I work on healthy coping strategies. But I’m still not perfect. I need to start saving for a new car, work on my emergency fund and I’m way behind for my retirement.
But, if the road of financial wellness has taught me anything, it’s a journey. You are going to have extreme lows and extreme highs. That’s part of what being a grown up is. You are going to pay for things that aren’t your fault but have happened to you regardless. You are going to have good things happen to you that make others wistful. And sometimes, you are going to look up and wonder what exactly you are doing. But the journey is well worth it and all you can do is keep trying. Don’t give up.