At the age of 15, I received my W-2 from my employer and wondered what I’d done with all the money I had earned that year. (It couldn’t have been more than $2,000 but it was a lot of money to me). I had worked all that time and didn’t have anything to show for it.
I’d heard a lot about this guy called Dave Ramsey and decided to try budgeting. I was hooked and there was no turning back. Every dollar was spent on paper and if I didn’t have the money to pay for it, I wouldn’t buy it. I must say that paying cash for my first car made me appreciate it a lot more (even if it was a Chevette).
After graduation, I saved up enough money to pay my way through cosmetology school. My fellow students teased me because I always brought my lunch and would only buy a treat for myself once a week (that was all that I had in my budget). They would always say that I was going to be a millionaire someday (wouldn’t that be cool?)!
I was married at the young age of 20. We were debt-free, except for our house, and faithfully worked our budget each week.
A few years into our marriage, my husband decided the “grass was greener” on the other side of the road and left me for his girlfriend. I found myself desperately scared because I worked out of our home part-time. How in the world was I going to be able to pay the monthly bills on a part-time salary?
As I walked down that difficult road, I knew that the only way to financially survive was to continue to work my budget as I’d always done. There were many times when I wasn’t able to go out with friends, could only put a few dollars in my gas tank, or couldn’t get a special treat at the grocery store. Looking back, I’m not really sure how my finances survived but God always provided (He’s so faithful).
Had I not started budgeting at a young age, it’s hard to imagine where I would be and what my life would look like. Believe me, sticking to a budget can be extremely difficult, but it’s so worth it in the long-run. As Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else.”
Now at the age of 32 I am remarried and God has given me a wonderful husband. We continue to work our weekly budget and I’m excited to share that we are debt-free, including our home!
Whether you have $2,000 or $200,000, I strongly encourage you to try a budget. It just might change your life; it did mine!
Tshanina Peterson is passionate about helping people save money and blogs at Thrifty T’s Treasures and Murfreesboro’s Treasures. She works as a web designer, loves to laugh, and truly enjoys the simple things of life.