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Financial Planning: The “Oh My Gosh Factor”

“Ms. Money Diva” Cory Staff

When I met my husband I had almost 400 pairs of shoes!  My closet was a bedroom with double closet rods on all four walls.  I got my first credit card when I was 19 and promptly maxed it out in the first store I went into.

My husband and I got married, bought our first home and made about $140K per year combined.  We had no kids and our mortgage payment was $368 a month, including our property taxes.  Thing is, we were broke and fighting all the time.

It wasn’t until we sat down with a financial planner that took us through, what I lovingly refer to as the “cash-flow homework”, that our habits and life changed.  She had us go back three months and categorize every transaction from our debit and credit cards statements.  “OH MY GOSH”!  We discovered that we were spending over $1500 a month on… wait for it… fast food take-out, and Blockbuster video rentals. We knew this had to change!

We made a commitment that day to put $500 towards our debt, $500 into our retirement savings, and $500 was our entertainment fund every month.  Was it easy?  Hell no!  It was one if the hardest things we ever did, until we started seeing the results.

Two years later, we were completely debt free, had a nice little retirement nest egg started, and as an added bonus we were a few pounds lighter.

If you find yourself with more month than money, or you and your partner are constantly fighting about finances, it’s time to find your “OH MY GOSH” factor and make some changes to your spending plan.  It will be the most grueling exercise you have ever done, but I PROMISE you will be glad you did.

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