Your Cash Now
by Constance Borglow
May 15, 2018
Eight months ago, I had a financial breakdown. I was in a store shopping for a new dress to wear to a friends’ birthday party, and when I went to pay for it, my credit card was declined. It turned out that my card was maxed out, but to make matters worse, when I attempted to write a check, I realized that I did not have enough money in the bank to cover it. The dress cost $109.00, and I had $47.00 in my account. I was embarrassed when I had to put the dress back, and I felt even worse when I got home and realized that I had only $20.00 cash on me, and I had five days to go until payday.
At that time, I had no savings account, and the only people I could borrow money from were my parents. I laughed out loud when I thought about how badly I wanted to get married, but couldn’t afford to. I was definitely a live for today girl, and I knew things had to change. As I looked around the room, I saw the best of everything lying before me like a queen’s treasure. However, when a friend called later and suggested dinner, I had to tell her I couldn’t afford to go and she admitted she couldn’t afford to treat me. I made up my mind then, that my financial life had to change as far as my spending habits, and I set my mind to it.
- I got a new hobby. Instead of going shopping or buying everything I saw on sale, I started browsing through resale shops and got pleasure out of hunting for treasure. I satisfied my need to shop and found some great bargains. I also cut up all of my revolving credit cards, and signed up for a debit credit card, which meant if I didn’t already have money in the bank, I couldn’t spend it.
- I began saving 10% of my monthly gross paycheck and putting it in the bank. It became my “untouchable fund.”
- I bought a huge piggy bank and put all my coins in it regularly. Every two months, I’d cash it in and put in the bank.
- I consolidated my bills and took out a loan and paid off all my charge cards, which left me with a much smaller payment each month.
- When I did shop at a regular store, I bought only what I needed and once a month, I would treat myself to a new item, but the cost couldn’t exceed $100.00.
- I relinquished my title of being a shoe freak. Instead of buying new shoes, I took my old ones to a shoe repair shop to have them dyed. These shoes were in perfect condition, but just happened to be the wrong color.
- I set up a daily budget and stuck to it. I learned how to say, “I can’t afford it.”
- I stopped spending $7 to $8.00 a day for lunch and started taking my lunch to work. Not only did I save money, but I lost weight as well. (I was eating better).
- Instead of crying the same old song about, “I have nothing to wear” every time a new engagement came up, I discovered treasures in my closet that had long been forgotten. With a limited budget, I suddenly became more resourceful…more creative and more determined.
- I went from $75.00 hair salon visits to $40.00 hair salon visits and my hair never knew the difference. My mentality moved from downtown to the neighborhood and I no longer cared about image competing. I still looked as good, but I had more money and discovered the wisdom of only buying what I could afford. In one year, I saved over $3000.00. For me, that’s a tremendous milestone, and I feel good about my accomplishment. The secret was self-discipline and paying for everything in cash. I now feel better about myself, and I’m on the road to being able to take better care of me. After all, right now I’m all I’ve got to depend on, and I’m committed to being able to stand on my own financially.