Hi, Jeannie. Welcome. You have such an impressive background. I have to say. Can you Share your story with us?
Yeah, I'd love to, too. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I knew I wanted to go to college and. Took my first accounting class and I was. Like, oh my God, this is. So, I went to school. I paid my way through school, didn't grow up with money, you know, I grew up with a single mom that lived paycheck to paycheck. And one of the things that I learned from her is shopping made you feel good, you know, getting out and shopping. I mean, we had a lot of fun. It was a time that we really connected with one another, and it didn't matter if we had no money, you know, you just put it on credit. And you dealt with it later. So, I count it. I'm pretty much in a high, you know position role because I've I worked my way through school. So, you know, I was climbing the corporate ladder and maintaining big budgets and forecasting and and. I I understood how money works, but I had a secret. I didn't maintain my own money. And I found relief for myself. By shopping. I mean because that's what I knew. I knew that shopping made me feel better. It gave me time to get away from myself and yeah, so I just spent money I didn't have. And one day, you know, I was in control of the finances and our marriage cause, you know, I'm the accountant. I'm the one that manages money and it just seemed like one day we couldn't pay for anything. I mean, it was like I have nothing. And I sat my husband down and I'm like. Or broke and. He's like, what do you mean? We're broke. We're both doing very well and I had to confess that. Yeah, I've charged up every credit card and we were easily 100,000 in debt.
That's got to be heartbreaking to just be faced with that reality. So, what did you do?
Well, after I gave him some space to calm down. We sat down and we did it the absolute hardest way you could possibly get out of debt, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. But we sat down with all of our expenses and said, “What can we cut?” And we came up with $100. And we literally lived on about $10 a week for groceries. Now this was back, you know…
When $10 a week, actually bought you something? At the grocery store.
Right, right. But I mean, I clipped coupons. I made sure I went, you know, triple coupon days. I mean we figured it out and once we got some momentum going and started paying some stuff off and started getting money in the bank, the relief of having money in the bank. Versus just spending money was night and day and that's whyI am so passionate about sharing with people, because even though you're getting that momentary relief, buying that pair of shoes or whatever it is that you're doing. That feeling that, that short time feeling of buying something versus looking at your bank account and seeing that you have money it, it's so much better and it's easier, it's an easier life. Life's so much easier.
Like from slavery to freedom, they call it wage slaves. Because you're indentured to working. You don't have any choice. You must work. You have no freedom. If you can't go to work and you can't get a paycheck. You're going to go under. You could be homeless. It happens to people all the time, and it'sa slow slide and then it's all at once.
This one. Yeah, it seems like you wake up and it's just there and it's like, you know.. but just a little bit more in my back story. I did it three times…
Oh my cow.
The first two times we took out consolidation loans, so it was almost like I got a quick fix. And it wasn't until I understood why I kept overspending that I changed the behavior. And it was figuring out it's kind of like I compare it to going on a diet. You know, we all can go on a fad diet and cut all the goodies out of our life and get some immediate gratification of losing some weight. But then when you get tired of cutting all your favorites out and you're left with. You know, you go right back to what you were doing. So, it wasn't until I figured out why and it was because I'm a perfectionist and I put a lot of pressure on myself and to just get some relief. It's easier to get away from myself. Oh, isn't this a pretty blouse? Instead of dealing with me and so it wasn't until I figured that out. You know the first time I went to him, we were maybe 20,000 in debt, which is a lot. I'm not trying to say it's not. Then the second time I went to him, it was like 40,000. And then the last time I really tried to it was like.
Now I can't go to him again and then like and he was like, enough we we're gonna have to figure this out.
How painful? So, you were talking a little bit before we started recording this about the dangers of what you're leaving to your children if you don't get this under control, you want to talk to that a little bit.
Yeah. So. My mom, I learned a lot of my money habits from my mother, which is very common. We have all these money beliefs based on what we what we grew up with and once I realized, you know, having money in the bank is so much better than the way that I was living. I started trying to help my mom. And she had come to us to borrow some money. She couldn't. She had paid off her house, and she couldn't come up with property tax money. And I said OK. I will loan you the money, but we need to sit down and look at your where you're at and let's figure this out so we're not here next year. And she dragged her feet, dragged her feet, and then she unexpectedly passed away about a couple of years, a year or two later from that original conversation. And I was always hounding her well in those two years she had taken out a mortgage, you know, an equity loan off of her home. Was heavily, heavily, in debt, I mean heavily in debt. And she had, you know, unexpectedly we're standing in the ICU and they're telling me, you know, they're we need to turn the machines off. And instead of that moment of being sad or of realizing what I was signing to do. I was mad and I was scared. Because it was like, how could you have… I didn't understand how bad it was, but I knew there was debt. And I was just standing there going how am I going to tell my husband we have debt again? And what are we going to do? In, you know, looking back on that. I mean. It was like she didn't do it to me on purpose.
I know. Yeah, I know. I think there's a misconception that when we die, our debt goes with us. And that's not true. It does become part of the estate and somebody has to deal with that. And so, the two years after my mother died, I didn't really get to mourn because I was in probate and I was dealing with life with her, not here. And it wasn't until. After the estate was actually settled that I got to really sit down and go, wow, I don't have my mom here anymore. And that's what's really driving my cause. Because as moms, that's the absolute last thing we want. To do we. Do not want to burden our children and.
Yeah, for sure.
So do you have any advice for people when it comes to that? Maybe talking with your own kids or your parents. Because a lot of us have older parents and…
Yes, I do.
Some of us just really aren't sure where they are financially.
And you know, like our parents don't wanna sit down and talk about that day or it's none of our business or, you know, whatever. But it's a, it's a conversation that you have to have. I mean, if nothing else, you need to know w here their wilils. And I mean you should have seen me trying to find her will and. And it was in her kitchen pantry, which is not where I would have put the will to begin with, you know? I mean, you need to sit your parents down and say who's the executor? Where is your will? Do you have life insurance? I mean, you have all of those questions that need to be asked and then for us, this new generation, we need to be open to talking to our children when they're old enough. You know how this works. What's set up? Maybe setting up a binder that has all the information in it? I mean, there's a lot of different options that you can do.
And people could learn about those sort of things from you?
Sure, sure. I mean, I haven't until we started talking, I didn't know if there was a need. I was more focused on helping people get out of debt. But if there's a need, absolutely, I'd be. I'd be honored to help people step through.
That part of, I mean, it's a part of life that's going to come.
So, it's going to hit all of us and you know, I talk to people all the time. In fact my sons in laws. They live like 2. Doors down from us. It’s a really small community anyway. His parents died like within two weeks of each other in February and they had their will in a safe. No one knew the combination to this. Safe so they couldn't get to the will. And there were five kids or 4 kids and all of the assets got divvied up. It was. It was kind of a nightmare. It was a terrible situation because they couldn't get into the safe to get to the will I mean these kinds of things happen so often.
Yes, yes. And I have a friend that lost her husband during COVID and I live in Texas. It's a Community property state. And so, I just believed, you know, the surviving spouse automatically gets half you know, the other half of what they own. No! She had to go through probate and fight for what her and her husband bought together and prove that she was the rightful heir to all their assets. And I was like. . .That's crazy. So, they were in their 50s didn't expect that he was gonna pass, and nobody knew this pandemic was coming. And she ended up having to go through probate after losing her husband to COVID. And it was like…
And it's so expensive and it takes so long and nobody learns about these things in school. You would think there would be like a class on taxes, a class on, you know. ..Preparing for death? Something that's going to happen to all of us. Let's get the elephant out in the middle of the room where it belongs and talk about it, yes, everyone is going to die.
Well, I mean, we don't even teach money in school. I mean, they're starting to. I know that like my daughter went through a Dave Ramsey course. And Dave Ramsey's wonderful and he's helped a lot of people. He really has.
Agree. You know, I don't believe there's a one solution fits all problems. I think everybody's circumstances are unique. And I think you have to build a unique plan to serve, you know to serve what you what you want in life and it and it can't just be you know step one as this step. Two as this. It there's kind of a broad overview that needs to be tweaked for your circumstance.
I think I was asking you early on when we first met is, is there a way to do this where you're not, like having to give up everything in your life.
Absolutely, absolutely. And it and it all comes down to planning. I mean, so coffee gets a bad rap, right? I mean, everybody says you gotta ditch your coffee. Well, stopping and getting coffee every morning did not get you in debt. But the key is to plan, I mean you, get your paycheck, or however you get your money, and you plan it. You assign every dollar to have a purpose, and if you spend $100 on coffee a month and you love that, then plan it. You know, I mean. It if you take everything away, which is the way that my husband and I did, I mean, we took everything away there was no joy at all. And sat and looked at each other, mad, for about 3 months! That is not the way to do it. And you can do it in other ways. So no, you don't. You sacrifice what you choose to sacrifice.
That's good to know. I think part of the reason that people are just like they're gonna put their blinders on when they're in debt is that it's just so painful. And the idea it's like dieting, you know, I know. I need to do this, but you know I just won't look at the scale. Problem solved. Wear baggy dresses.
No one will ever know, right? Just look at this part in the mirror, yeah.
You're still in the back of your mind. You're dealing with it, right? I mean you never escape it. If that's how. You want to live. It doesn't work as a long term solution though, because it's always there. I mean, it's always in the back of your mind cause I can remember. You know, I was in my 20s then and it would be like everybody's going out tonight and it'd be like, uhhh, I really can't afford this but. ..And so it's always there always there.
And it limits your opportunities to participate in things or to invest in things. You know, there might be something really cool that comes along that you could get in the front of and actually make money doing it. But if you're so far in debt, it really limits your opportunities.
Well, and you lose sleep. I can remember.
It affects your health.
Yeah, I can remember laying in bed going. I need to be working, you know, maybe I should be working right now. And yeah, you're trying to find ways of trying to get ahead of it and. And the more miserable you are, the more you fall back into your bad patterns. And so, it's just this vicious cycle that it just doesn't seem like you can ever get out of it. So, I believe in small changes I don't. It's kind of like dieting because I think we've all dieted so. I don't believe in cleaning out the whole pantry and starting over I. Believe in very small, small steps. Small changes get some momentum going and before you know it. You're doing more than you even expected. You to ever do.
It makes it easier that way. It has been really great chatting with you about all of this is there, is there one thing that you would really like to leave our listeners with?
I have a 30 day find money challenge that I would and I would love for your listeners . They can come and join us – it’s free. Everyone has found over $100 of more than $100 actually, but I advertise, you know, let's see if we can find $100 because that's where I started in my debt journey as I tried to find $100 and it's 30 days of emails where I give small tasks and you start opening your mind up to the possibilities, and I'd love to invite everyone to go through it. It's free and I'm here to help and support and answer any questions that anybody has.
That is great. I think that will. Help people a lot. Just starting out with something small that you can put towards your debt. To like start shrinking it down and you know, just those little bits of momentum just make a huge difference. Just yes form the snowball and then push it gently.
That's right, that's right. Small changes. And with me being the money guru that I am. When I went through it, we found $10,000 a year that we were just throwing out the window. But it's the little the little charges, you know, the $9 and the $0.99 and the kids and this and it's just getting in there and looking and understanding what you're spending your money on. That's really all it is.
And being diligent about going back through. Every six months or so, and relooking cause those little things they add up and you forget about them, but they're not forgetting about you, your bank account.
That's right. That's right. So, I'll send you that link and then you can post it when you post this.
OK. We'll put it in the description and we'll get people to sign up for that and help them find at least $100, which? Is great $100 raise.
Yes, please. That's right. Without doing much.
It's been great chatting with you. Thank you so much for joining.