Yes I was STUPID with Money

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I am a single mom business owner living in Ashland, Oregon who has made some STUPID choices with money.  Yes, i am a prosperity coach, and I have been STUPID with money.  Why do you think I teach about this?  Because I’m continually learning.  I was stupid as a married housewife, when I wasted money on luxury items, including car payments and a HELOC that was not required, but desired. I did not understand I was trying to “keep up with the Joneses” by building a gorgeous home studio, installing beautiful landscaping, and paying for the latest & trendiest spiritual workshops, but I sure was.  When I think about it now, I was also treating myself for putting up with a marriage that did not have emotional or spiritual intimacy.

My parents have always been savers, driving old cars and being frugal financially.  My first car I paid cash for, at their encouragement.  And they sent me to college debt-free, for which I will always be grateful.  But I felt constrained by their frugality because they didn’t seem to be connected to a Divine Abundance.  It felt tight to me.  Also, they were introverts who kept their spirituality very private, and as an extraverted and spiritual child I longed for spiritual community.  10 years ago I found a wonderful coach, Toni Stone(see http://www.wonderworks.org) who had a Unity background, and she taught me to tithe, pray, keep positive, and be a giver. Coaching with her helped me connect with the Universal source of abundance, and work on my goals.  I started a women’s support group business, and grew my income.  And I have had some amazing demonstrations:  6 figure years, great growth of my programs in the Pacific Northwest, travel, trainings, a nice car, saving a down-payment on a home.  It has been amazing.

I chose to take an in-person training with my coach, which was very expensive due to the escalating airline fees, and committed to fly across the country every other month for 5 years.  During this time I discovered my husband was opposed to spirituality. He began to abuse me verbally about my faith(and I’m sure this was partly because my faith caused me to spend a lot of our family money on this training!). While I tried to meet him halfway by going to counseling together & getting better at paying my way, he was not willing to meet me halfway and respect my spiritual beliefs.  He refused to ever give or tithe any of his income to charities or churches, it was not a value for him.  And so after 3 years of marriage counseling and trying to work it out we divorced. I would not have had the strength to do this without my coach and her training. I will always be grateful to her for this.  I am now a sovereign woman.  I do not have to “dumb down” my beliefs in trade for financial security.

But once I had the freedom to do what I wanted as a single mom, I was still STUPID with money.  I didn’t know how to manage it once I had it.  I never learned to release debt or to live within my means.  I wanted to look good.  After my divorce, I tithed 25%, continued flying across the country for training, rented an expensive house in my new town, vacationed, and bought luxury items.  I was depressed, and had a desire to rest after the divorce. I had that “I deserve it” feeling, and treated myself with a lot of luxuries.  I was also addicted to the debt cycle.   I would make good money, but then amass credit card debt because I thought I needed to develop better credit in order to buy a home.  I didn’t think I had a problem with debt because I made my payments on time, and my FICO score was going up.  Ah, chasing the FICO score, and keeping up with the Joneses.  But the payments on my debts were taking a significant chunk out of my income, and my ability to increase savings.  When my former landlady turned out to be a psycho alcoholic, and my boyfriend said the townhouse apartment next to him was vacant, I moved.  I felt embarrassed because I thought that made me “look bad”.  Now I see it was an incredible blessing, to be in a neighborhood with more kids, near a helpful boyfriend, and with a cheaper rent that enables me to save for the future.  My addiction to “Keeping up with the Joneses”  is connected to credit card debt~it’s all the same attachment to looking good.

When I listened to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover audio, I was electrified!   “Debt is dumb, cash is king”, he says.  And he outlines the very reason why many struggle in our culture:  debt payments tie up income that could be used for saving, giving, or living!  If we can let go of the need to “look good”, we can actually get good results from our biggest wealth-building tool:  our income.  His 7 Baby Steps outline common sense principles for saving for emergencies, getting out of debt, buying a home, and saving more towards retirement, kids’ education, and wealth building, all without dependence on a FICO score!  Yes, he encourages you to “live cheap” when you are first starting.  He also supports tithing and spiritual giving.  His students have had amazing results, with many paying off their home mortgages early, and going on to be millionaires!(see http://www.daveramsey.com)

Now I am managing my money with a plan that is both spiritual and practical.  I’ve come back to the money attitude of my parents, with also putting God first in the way my coach taught me.  I scaled my tithing back to 10%.  I immediately paid off the last $8500 of credit card debt.  I cut up all my credit cards.  I put my business on a budget, continuing to be generous with my clients while avoiding extravagant expenses.    With all of these changes I have freed up $1000 of extra income a month to add to my savings!   I am excited to share about these results so I am now weaving his 7 Baby Steps into all my classes. And I am teaching my kids to give, save, and spend in balance, with their allowance!  It is possible to learn from our stupid mistakes, make good money AND manage it well!  I am learning.

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