Gather Little By Little has invited bloggers to share their moment of financial epiphany – this is mine. Enjoy!
There really wasn’t anything remarkable or special about that evening in November of 2003. It was just another ordinary day by my recollection. We had found out about a month before that I was pregnant with our first child, but that wasn’t the reason for the conversation. There frankly wasn’t really a reason, it was just something that was bound to happen eventually.
Back then, like now, I took care of all the financial administration stuff in our marriage. I paid the bills, I balanced the checkbook, I juggled the money. And juggle I did. We had moved to a new state in April because of a job opportunity for my spouse, and I had not been able to find full-time employment for myself there (we live in a state with pretty high unemployment). My spouse’s salary was enough to cover the basics and bills, but barely, and we seemed to run into the red every single month by at least a little. Months that I had temp work filled the gap, but that wasn’t something we could count on.
One night in November my spouse asked me about our credit card debt. Which he knew about, and he knew we were close to the limit on our Capital One card. We hadn’t been adding to it through purchases since he’d finally found a job in May, but it wasn’t getting knocked down very quickly at all. And when I couldn’t balance our money in and money out, I’d pay the Capital One with a convenience check from our other credit card. Not so smart. My spouse thought that card was empty – and I wasn’t hiding it from him (and had actually mentioned it, but he probably wasn’t paying attention) it just hadn’t occurred to me to explain how close to the edge we still were.
My spouse was a tad upset about the convenience checks on the MBNA card. So I made a list of all our bills and recurring expenses, wrote his monthly salary at the top, and handed it to him. Looking at it, it was the first time he realized that we couldn’t just buy random stuff here and there whenever we felt like it. It was a turning point in our communication about finances. Things haven’t been completely perfect since then, and I still handle the finances on a day to day level, but my spouse stays a lot more involved and updated about them. And from that point on, no more convenience checks, no more credit cards, and many years later, we finally paid off the $12000 we owed at that point.
What was your financial epiphany?