I grew up with two parents who are absolutely hopeless with money, watching their sitution go up and down, resulting in the loss of a business, an investment property and one home mortaged to the hilt with my mum working 2 jobs to support us all. This is not an excuse for my bad behaviour, just an intro that maybe money sense isn’t in my blood.
I moved out of home at 18 and moved to the city, I had an office work traineeship and got a $4000 loan to furnish my home and start out my new life. My boyfriend at the time had a much higher income than me and supported me a lot, but he also introduced me to a nicer lifestyle than I was used to. We were both hopeless housekeepers and into food in a big way, we ate out every night and went out partying much more than we could afford, running up massive credit card debts. The BF ended up leaving his job and suffering from depression, I supported the two of us on my small wage (and a lot of the banks money) for 6 months until we split up.
After we broke up I moved to the north shore and continued living above my means, my income grew by a lot but I was unhappy with the work I was doing and spent constantly. Then at 21 I found myself pregnant, in a relationship that I had no faith in its longevity, in an industry I hated, and in more debt I could handle on my relatively high wage. I knew that if I was going to be able to take care of my baby and give us a decent life I was going to have to get on top of my finances. After working overtime and selling off most of my belongings I unfortunately was left with no choice but to declare bankruptcy, move back home to the mountains (much cheaper rent) and start afresh.
I wanted to spend as much time as possible home with my son, and want to get a real education so that I’m in a better position career wise and able to provide for the two of us on my own. So (judge as you wish) I am on the single parents pension and studying psychology via correspondence so that once my son starts kindergarten I will have a degree and a real career and income. The amount I get on the pension, grateful as I am for without it my life would be horrendous, is the smallest income I’ve ever had to work with. It has taken me nearly two years to start budgeting well enough that I am on top of all bills and able to live relatively comfortably. My new mission is to be able to do this AND start saving. Further posts will follow….