Wanting Change: Success Story in the Making

financial changeOne of the many benefits of running a blog is having your readers share their success stories.

Success stories are the equivalent to In-N-Out Burger, I can’t get enough of them! :)

A GFC reader, Holly, was gracious enough to share her story. Holly and her husband made some financial decisions that they would later on regret. As the debt continued to pile on and stress followed suit, an ad that arrived in her mailbox would change their lives for good. Here’s Holly’s story….

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My husband and I had just moved from Phoenix AZ to South Weber UT for my husband’s job change. We had a nice house in Arizona that we sold to move, and so we knew we would want to buy one in Utah. After being in Utah only one month, we rushed into buying a large house, even though I didn’t have a job yet.

We were optimistic in thinking,

“I will soon get a job too and besides, this is the house we plan on spending the rest of our lives in…..raising our kids here.”

Coming up Short

The problems came when I kept searching for full-time work, but nothing came. I started teaching piano lessons to offset our expenses, but we were still coming up short every month. We started incurring debt when we have never had debt (outside mortgage debt) before.

After more than a year in this home, I still didn’t find work and we were getting deeper and deeper in the hole. One day, in our mailbox, was an advertisement for books on sale at a local Christian bookstore. One of the books listed was Debt Proof Your Marriage by Mary Hunt. I didn’t have much extra money, but I felt like I needed to buy that book. I went right out that very day and bought it.

A New Direction

I read that book cover to cover, took notes, and started turning things around immediately. Progress was slow because I still didn’t have full-time work, but I did find a part-time job and continued teaching piano lessons. My husband and I created a budget for the first time ever and tracked our spending too.

The first month we ended up $300 in the hole. Ouch! But we kept trying hard and focusing on our goals and at the end of the second month, we were only around $200 in the hole. Not good, but we were making progress! And by the end of the 3rd month doing a budget, we came out even! phew! Then I landed a full-time position at my work and the ball started rolling faster and faster.

We’ve never been in the hole since then.

Making it Work

Fast forward 8 years to present day. Things are tight again because I quit my full-time job to stay home to raise our daughter, but we have a smaller, more manageable house payment (because we moved to a different home in UT), a second home in Arizona that we rent, money in savings, a 401k with a match that we contribute up to, IRA’s for both of us and an account for our daughter that we contribute to each month.

My husband’s federal job is a little uncertain right now because of a 20% pay cut due to recent furlough, but we are still hopeful that by using discipline and financial smarts, we can be okay. We have no debt except for our mortgages. We feel pretty good despite the pay cut.

We still have a long way to go and love reading your articles and blog posts! I love reading Mandy’s posts too on House of Rose blog. You two are truly inspiring and I can’t thank you enough!

Thanks a million!

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Thank you, Holly, for sharing your story!

Do you have a financial success story? Please share in the comments below.

photo credit: AndYaDontStop via photopin cc

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Comments | 5 Responses

  1. says

    Awesome story, Holly. It’s crazy how a budget can really turn things around. We have gotten out of a bit of debt, and though we had some inheritance to help, it really was the change in mindset that allowed us to make the RIGHT decisions with our money. 4 years later, my wife is now at home, and though we;re on a tight budget, we’re doing well, and none of it would have happened without a budget. I hope to be contributing to Roth’s and an ESA by the end of the year. Thanks for the inspiring story :)

    • Holly says

      Thanks for your comment! I was hoping that my story would help others make amazing changes and it sounds like you are doing just that! The budget, or “spending plan” as I have come to call it, has made all the difference! It’s crazy to me to think that I ever functioned in life without one. :)

  2. The Twins @ Double Saving Divas says

    Holly, your hard work is going to pay off in the end. You’ll be able to look back and see how wonderful the journey actually was. Thanks for sharing your story, people need more real life examples like this so that they can know that they can do it too!

    • Holly says

      Thanks so much for your comment! It made me feel good about sharing my story….hopefully to inspire others to make great financial changes too. It truly is all about priorities. Before, we didn’t make our financial health a priority. We thought time would heal the wounds, but thank goodness for that book I bought! It was a great turning point in my life. :)

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