Header: How I Got Into Budgeting

Many people have asked why I created this platform? How did I get into this? Why am I doing this? How did I become obsessed with budgeting?

So this week I am going to share the journey that brought us to Bougie and the Budget!

Growing up there was very little talk about budgets, finance or money management. I asked my parents for things/money and if they were able, they gave it to me. My dad tried to teach me at a young age about credit, but who listens to their parents at age 18 when a credit card comes in the mail and you need a fly outfit for Thanksgiving shenanigans with your friends? Not I, and that’s how my financial life began, with a Credit Card that I literally maxed out the same weekend.

I remember very vividly going to Urban Outfitters at Mandalay Place the day before Thanksgiving and getting a WHOLE outfit, shoes, accessories, the works. That was easily $300 at Urban, then I think I paid my cell phone bill and tada just like that a maxed out credit card.

I probably paid that card for a few months, before I got another and then it wasn’t fun to pay credit card bills so I think I just stopped. (all I can do is SMH at my younger self now) I was 18 at the time. I had a car that my stepmom had co-signed for me, which I am forever grateful for, especially now that I KNOW what that really means credit wise. She took a leap of faith on me and I was never late because I knew, but I didn’t really know, that her credit was on the line so I had to do right by that car note and I did. Well fast forward and that car was totaled after about 11 months. By that time I had established enough credit to qualify for a car loan all by my lonesome. I was in an accident on Wednesday midday, Saturday I was car shopping and ended up with a brand new, not even on the lot yet, Nissan Altima, with a whopping 29% interest rate or something INSANE, I didn’t know any better. I just knew how much I could afford to pay each month, I was 19 years old by now.

I was pretty good with my car note until other stuff started happening and I got behind and I stayed behind. Until I ended up getting a lump sum of money from a settlement, which allowed me to pay car off early. I was 24, this is when things really started to change for me. I was dating a guy at the time and he got me interested in the prospect of buying a house. Which lead to me getting interested in my credit. When I saw the mess I was in from my 18/19 year old shenanigans I started to try to get my financial life together. He brought Dave Ramseys, The Total Money Makeover home one day and insisted we read it together, and we did. Eye opening for sure, but I don’t think I was ready to be “gazelle intense” yet. I still don’t think I am there yet, actually.

I did however, realize that I needed to change my spending habits and pay more attention to what I was doing with my money. I opened an online savings account and started tucking away some money in case of an emergency. Then, wouldn’t ya know… along came an emergency, I went through a series of medical and life crisis simultaneously. I had found myself in the hospital, going through an awful break up and needing to move quickly. Thankfully, I had a solid rainy day fund and I was able to pack my stuff, pay some movers and get out, in a matter of days.

That whole situation gave me a new found appreciation for saving. I had always been the type to pay all my bills, and whatever was left after that was free game aka shopping, but mostly eating out money, and I would spend until it was gone. If that meant I had no money for a week, so be it. I was fine with sitting at home, if that meant I could buy what I wanted to buy.

I didn’t realize how financially unhealthy that was.

I never knew anything about a budget, saving money or really investing in myself financially. I had never been in a situation where I needed something and wasn’t able to get it. I was independent, never having to ask anyone for money. So, it didn’t matter to me but that one time I found myself in crisis, sick and needing to move at the drop of a dime I was eternally grateful for that stash and I vowed to forever have one.

That was a very dark time in my life, I was sick, and heartbroken. So many things in my life had changed abruptly. I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), found myself hospitalized, had started a new job, bought a new car and ended a relationship all in less than six months. I was in a dark place, not knowing how to deal with all of the things that were happening in life. During this time I started reading, researching and listening to podcasts and became obsessed with personal finance, budgeting and really getting my life together.

I familiarized myself with all the personal finance/budgeting gurus; Dave Ramsey, Tiffany Aliche, Suze Orman etc. I started applying some of their principles to my finances, some things work amazingly well and others I have realized are not for me.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned on this budgeting journey is that you have to do what works best for you. Whatever that may be. Even here on Bougie and the Budget, everything that I share here may not work for you, but my goal is to encourage you to simply try.

I would like to encourage you to take some steps towards a better financial future. It is a journey, and although I have started mine, here I am at age 29 and I realize I have a long way to go. I still spend impulsively, and trying to get it together. I don’t want to go at it alone. Please join me, let me know in the comments how your financial story began. Also, be sure to subscribe to my email list to ensure that you stay updated and connected with me as we take this voyage to a better financial future.

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