How do you come together when you feel so lost? When there is darkness all around you, when you’re struggling just to find your way through it, how do you find your way towards the light at the end of the tunnel? What do you do when the money runs out?
This is how my life felt when I was financially struggling just to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. It felt like I could barely breathe, as if the walls were closing in all around me.
I was drowning and there was no one there to throw me a lifeline. I felt lost and abandoned, but the cold hard truth was that I was the one to blame for this hell.
Of course, God never abandoned me even though it felt that way. I kept hitting my knees hoping and praying for a miracle that never magically showed up.
Then one day, when I hit the bottom of the pit of financial hell, I looked up with tears in my eyes and simply asked that God give me his grace because I couldn’t climb out of this hole on my own.
God didn’t give me a miracle that day, he didn’t make me win the lottery, and he didn’t make my long lost Aunt Edna die and leave me a fortune to squander.
Instead, he gave me peace in my ability to pull myself up out of the darkness.
Even though this was almost ten years ago, I still remember that feeling – that feeling of overwhelming peace that can only come from above.
I know many of you reading this right now know that same feeling of darkness and helplessness. It’s not a fun way to live through life and it can feel so debilitating when you’re deep in the clutches of financial hell. If this is where you currently are in life, I want to offer up the ways that I was able to start pulling myself up out of that ugly, dark and lonely place. This won’t be the “end-all, be-all” to financial peace, but it’s a start for those of you on rock bottom.
One thing that was keeping me in the dark was that I was refusing to accept responsibility for my own actions.
Now, I get it; trust me I do because I had an ex-boyfriend that helped me to spend thousands of dollars unnecessarily. And even though yes, he should have been responsible for a portion of my enormous debt, the cold hard truth was that I ultimately signed my name with my credit – not his.
I had accepted the responsibility for those payments the moment I signed on the dotted line, not him. This is the first step in pulling yourself out of the darkness – accepting responsibility for your own mistakes with money and letting go of the excuses.
You knew this one was coming and now it’s time you actually do it. Make a budget, keep it simple, and stick to it. A budget will be your roadmap on how to get out of the pit so don’t put it off.
The first budget I ever made wasn’t easy because I was forced to see just how much of a mess I had made of my finances. And chances are, this won’t be easy for you either. However, I encourage you to face your fear and to do it because it really is the only way you’re going to find your way out of the darkness.
Let It Go
Climbing out of the pit will take sacrifices. Just as losing weight doesn’t happen overnight, getting out of financial hell doesn’t happen overnight either. It will take you sacrificing things you once thought you couldn’t live without – like a nice car or organic produce.
The sacrifices you make will look different from those of your neighbors, but in order to find your true financial peace, you’ll need to let go of what doesn’t support your climb out.
Sell off items that you don’t need, even if you still want them. Get rid of expensive debt-ridden items like your car or maybe even your home in exchange for one with a lesser price tag.
Do what it takes to give yourself a ladder to help make the climb easier.
Look Behind You
There’s someone behind you on this journey. You may not know them, you may not know their story, but they could use a hand up so give it.
You don’t have to have an elaborate plan or a finance degree to do it. All you need is to share your story with others because God gives us struggles and obstacles not just so we can learn from them but so that we can help pull others up through our own lessons learned.
These are just a few of the ways that I was able to help start the long trek out of the darkness of financial hell. It hasn’t been easy, in fact it has taken a lot more than I ever thought it would, but I can tell you that it is entirely worth it and it is the reason why I wrote my book Real Life on a Budget. Because helping to pull others out of the pit is what God designed me to do and I designed Real Life on a Budget to help others become face-to-face with their money and to start tell it where to go.
Jessi Fearon is the founder of the popular personal finance blog, The Budget Mama, where she shares her family’s real life on a budget in all its gory details. She is the wife to the handiest man around and mama to two wild boys. She is devoted to helping her readers live and thrive on a budget while becoming better money managers.