Where to Start When You’re Struggling Financially?

Common Money Mistakes
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Does this sound familiar to you?  

1. You make money.  

2. You spend money to live.  

3. You never have any money left for anything else!

It’s a constant cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. 

I was definitely saying living it… month after month! So frustrating and discouraging.

Financially struggling has an impact on more than our money situation… it affects relationships, health and overall outlook. 

Common Money Mistakes

I don’t know about you, but my parents never talked about finances. Sure, they may have complained about prices or used the “money doesn’t grow on trees” line but no real conversation about personal finance. 

My teachers never talked about finances.  

My high school economics class was only good for cleaning out my purse every day.

So at the age of 30.5, I started from scratch on the path to financial transformation. I was so fed up with the cycle!  

The tipping point for me was borrowing money from our parents for a down payment on a used RV. They were happy to help us out, but I was embarrassed.

Financially struggling feels like a huge failure. 

Failure can be our biggest enemy and our greatest friend. It can lead us to positive change because we reach the tipping point and are ready to do something different. 

In this case, it caused me to channel all my stubborn energy toward a goal of financial freedom. 

Fast forward a few years and our financial situation looks completely different.  

Different enough that I feel confident enough to share and teach others what to do to transform their financial situation.

We haven’t reached our ultimate goal yet (totally debt free) but we are on the right path.  I’m very proud of what we accomplished in the next 5 years after we made the decision to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle:

  • Paid off 15,000 of student loan debt 
  • Paid off 8,000 in credit card debt
  • Paid off two car loans
  • Established an emergency fund of 3 month’s worth of living expenses 

I’m thrilled with those results and here’s the thing that surprised me most… our lifestyle, including eating out and (simple) vacations, didn’t change drastically. We’re not living on Ramen noodles, yet anyway!  

Here’s the other part that was so surprising… our incomes have only slightly increased since starting the path to financial transformation.

Which brings me to the point of writing this….

Where did I start on this path? Where can you start on this path to end the financial struggles? 

I started from scratch… literally I mean ground zero! For me, that was googling “How to Become a Millionaire.” Yep, that was truly the first thing I did. I figured a millionaire knows a thing or two about money so that was as good as goal as any.  Disclaimer: I am not a millionaire. But it turns out that millionaires aren’t who we think they are. 

Then, I started reading personal finance books.

After binge reading 20+ books on personal finance, I can tell you these 5 made the biggest impact on our finances

However, the books, resources and tools that I gained on the journey started a change in mindset (critical to financial transformation) and “if they can do it, so can I” which led to action. 

The financial mindset change was huge.

When we made up our minds to change our financial situation, everything started turning around. Every.thing.

The actions we took? 

1. Analyzed our numbers– where does our money go and to who 

2. Created a spending plan

3. Created a saving plan

4. Set financial goals

5. Avoided previous money mistakes

Maybe you are also starting from scratch. Maybe it feels like there’s no way out of the cycle. 

No matter your circumstances, it is possible! The changes may be small at first, but every little change you make will lead you closer to your goal. 

Start by deciding you won’t out of the cycle. Tell yourself that it is time and start believing that you can achieve wealth

That is much of the battle! Once your mind is made up to make changes, your money will start to follow. 

Please, just start taking those small steps. I can tell you that life without money struggles is so much more peaceful. It is worth the short term pain for the long term gain! 

No matter your age or financial situation, there is always an opportunity to learn, improve, and change your circumstances.


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