The moment when I knew I needed a miracle was when I got off the phone from one of the debt consolidators. I had spent half an hour on the phone with her going over our finances with a fine toothed comb and she said three words to me. "You are eligible." My heart sank.
I was one of THOSE people. The kind of people that lack judgement, racked up debt with their head in the sand and living on credit until the credit was so high you have no idea where to start!
I cried. No that's a lie, I completely bawled my eyes out like my two month old when he has trapped wind.
The adrenaline kicked in and I went into overdrive. To say I gave my internet usage a good work out is an understatement. I googled every comparison site, make money from home, jobseeking site and financial advice column i could find. I can hear many of you saying, why not just get a job?
It sounds so easy doesn't it?
As a family we made the decision that someone would always be at home with our children (currently one.) If we struggled too bad, we would make it work.To have someone else raise our kids just wasn't an option for us.
The way I see it, Australia's childcare is designed for people climbing the career ladder. It's hard to find a "casual" centre, it costs almost half your wage to have your child there ( so you better be earning some serious moolah) and all the while you are slogging it out at some job you're probably not appreciated at and no doubt indispensable. On top of that you have your child bonding with someone else that you only know on a professional level if that.
I can understand what some of you are thinking... " You don't understand, some people have no other option."
Sure I get that, but for me I decided that i would not take this set back lying down. I would CREATE my own options. It's not like my partner earns a pittance either. He earns good money. It was the debt that was really killing us.
So for several weeks for almost all day every day (in between caring for my son) I did EVERYTHING i could think of to make a dollar. Nothing was too small as it all meant 20 cents less i had to find for a bill or $30 less at the supermarket next week.
I researched home businesses but found that almost every single one involved some sort of layout to start that we definitely didn't have. I ended up settling on catalogue deliveries which i could do with bub in tow. I was shocked when i had $400 worth of orders in my first pick up. The profit from that covered our monthly credit card payment. First step in the right direction!
I scoured the internet for recipes and taught myself how to meal plan and budget everything down to the cent. I managed to have our groceries go from $2-300 a week to $100 flat. I must admit it took a LOT of creativity but i am also a health nut so we weren't without a nutritious diet! In fact my partner lost 17kg and i have lost ahem 30kg and counting.
All our things were categorized into wants and needs. Things got sold with the money being paid into the credit card debt, power providers were changed for a better deal and phones went from fancy plans to pre-paid. I suddenly knew where all our money was going. I felt RELIEF.
As we went on and we saw our debt decreasing, I again turned to the internet to see if we could consolidate with a bank. Challenging the banks with questions, pinning them against each other and not for a second allowing myself become defeated each time i was knocked back. I managed to talk to one bank about securing our car against a loan and get a low interest rate even though we had only paid off half the car. They would be doing me a favour because if I rolled everything in together with them i would have less outgoings than now and i would use the tax return to pay of a chunk of the current debt. They approved it. I was on a roll.
Just by doing all of the small extra incomes and researching where I could cut back I managed to knock off close to $300 a month off our outgoing expenses. Our tax return paid out our credit cards and I felt elated when I was able to contact back the young girl from the debt consolidation group to let her know, thanks but no thanks.
I have had some amazing moments in my life but i must say this is one of my proudest. My partner is so happy that while we still need to watch our cash flow we don't have to get stressed wondering if we can afford nappies or petrol and i can still be at home watching my son grow up. I even managed to start an emergency fund and also celebrate my partners thirtieth and hold a party for my sons first birthday which is something we thought we may not be able to do.
If you are challenged by debt or a lack of income head over to my other blog PimpinMyCash to get informed on some ways to change your situation and fast.