Big Changes in not much time

Have you paid off your debt? Managed to save for your dream home? Had an awesome investment pan out? Share your personal finance success stories here.

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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:53 pm
Location: New Mexico

Big Changes in not much time

Postby lukehan » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:17 pm

My story is my own as well as that of my future wife. Two years ago I had a good job at the college I graduated from. It didn't pay much, but it had lots of benefits and I was renting a small house for $275 a month (great deal!). My girlfriend (soon to be wife) was working at a local mental health facility, she had her own apartment. We both basically lived paycheck to paycheck, trying to save a little, but we each had school loans and had expensive tastes in restaurants. Then one day I got a call at work to come home. She had lost her job because of an off hand comment overheard by one of the big wigs at a restaurant when we were out with our friends. She was unemployed for almost a year. During that time we changed how we spent money, we moved in together, did more cooking at home and I decided I wanted to go to graduate school. I applied and was accepted, so now, with only one income and a small amount of money from a part time job she was able to get, we were going to move 3 states away to start all over again. We held a garage sale and made almost $800. I sold some audio recording equipment I had used in a previous job and did some freelance sound system installation work to raise some moving capital. With the help of our parents we moved to a rental. Despite some good leads and even one employer paying for a trip down prior to moving, my fiance was still unemployed. That first semester was tough. The first day of class she woke me up at 5am and we made a trip to the emergency room, her with a kidney stone. That added a $1200 hospital bill to our other moving costs. I was paid to teach undergraduate labs, but with the cost of school and health insurance my take home was only about $800 a month. We lived off of savings and I got some school loans. Finally, things turned around. She got a good job as a pre-school teacher (pay is not great, but she absolutely loves her job) and with careful tracking of expenses we are in a much better place today. We have no credit card debt and with a small interest free loan from my grandparents we have purchased a very modest fixer upper house. We have a small emergency fund and automatic savings plans set up as well. We still have more debt than I would like (aside from the mortgage), but we are doing ok and don't have to juggle bills throughout the month anymore. Part of the credit for where we are today belongs to blogs like Get Rich Slowly. It is a daily reminder that we can make it and other people have gone through things like this as well. In hindsight, all of this has happened before we are even married and both of us feel like we are even closer and have more trust and faith in each other having been through something like this together. Now, to just get through the wedding in one financial piece!

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