Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting my personal finances under control

The past week and a half has been rough, but it has forced me to come to terms with some things and face one of my biggest fears head on. Let me recap for those of you who don't know what the last week and a half have been like in my world.

Monday I had a great day! I was excited about where I am in this stage of my life, which is a big deal in my mind. Contentment has been a roller coaster journey for me in the past, but I have felt it settling in little by little over the past few months. (Mostly because I have made purposeful decisions to be content in my life right now. And it has not been an easy road.)

Then Tuesday came... I left my house as usual. I was out of the house on time and everything. Traffic was a little heavier than usual, but nothing too bad. I got less than a mile from home before a woman in a blue minivan misjudged her timing and collided with my car, sending me into another car. When I came to a screeching halt on the side of the road, I was glad to be unharmed and saw the other drivers emerge from their vehicles unharmed. My vehicle got the brunt of the damage, given that I had been pinned between the 2 cars briefly, and I knew it wasn't a good situation.

Here is where I began to freak out a little. I don't have the money to buy a new car right now. I don't have a full time job. I work hourly, and those hours don't add up to as many as I would like them to. I do some babysitting on the side, but nowhere near enough to make a car payment. The stress began to set in a little, but it didn't really hit until Wednesday over a week later.

Wednesday through Friday were relatively unremarkable. The insurance adjuster was due to take a look at my car to decide its fate, but it continued to be pushed back.

Monday should have been decision day on my car, but it was again pushed back.

Tuesday the final word came letting me know that the insurance company had decided to total my car and not to fix it. I was a ball of mixed emotions. I liked my car, and my lack of car payment. But I wasn't too keen on getting back a car that had been "fixed" either. I drove a Saturn vehicle. Saturn doesn't exist anymore, so, mixed with the fact that it was a 2008, the parts would likely be hard to find and expensive.

Wednesday morning I had a conversation on the phone with my mom that sent me into an emotional spiral. I walked into work with red, puffy eyes and spent most of the day on the verge of tears. After work I met my mom at our bank to figure out what kind of loan I could get for a car. The insurance company gave us a generous amount back, a few thousand more than I was expecting, but it wasn't enough in itself to get another car.

I had this sick feeling in my stomach that I wouldn't qualify for any amount, let alone enough to get myself a decent car. We sat down with a bank manager and discussed my options. She ran my credit score and gave me a nasty insight into credit and responsibility. My credit score is not what I would like it to be, mainly because of my student loans they tell me, so my interest rate is higher than if I had a higher score. But overall, I qualified for more than I expected, giving me plenty of money to find a reliable car with low miles and a few perks that I am looking for, but not too much to give me a ridiculously high payment either.

I hate dealing with money. I hate every aspect of money, except the idea of spending it! The idea of talking about money, or the lack of in my case, sets me on edge and brings uncomfortable tears to my eyes every time. This made me realize that I have to get my money under my control. I will have a car payment soon and the bank doesn't accept IOUs.

So I am on a mission to get this aspect of my life under control so I can have that contentment and peace back. I am going to try to document my efforts here, while staying slightly vague to protect my privacy.

One thing that has helped me so much has been watching video blogs from Rachel Cruze (Dave Ramsey is her dad!) You can check her out on Youtube here.

Her specialty is college students and young adults, but she has great insight for everyone!

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