I may have mentioned that I’ve been otherwise distracted for the past few weeks welcoming my new son, Carter, to the outside. This has been an interesting mix of joy, wonder, and surprise urine-waterfalls to say the least. While I promise not to turn everything into a Carter-based story of how babies relate to finances, I did want to share the following finance-related observations from Carter’s first week.
- Emergencies Happen – I had a relatively drama free pregnancy, but after 24 hours in labor the doctors determined that an emergency c-section was in order. Once the organized chaos subsided, and little Carter emerged healthy and loud – one of the nurses remarked “unfortunately this happens all the time”. They were prepared for the ever-present emergency. Likewise, an emergency fund (Mad Money or fully funded) should be ever present, because unfortunately emergencies happen all the time!
- Change is Hard but Worth the Effort – I’m used to 7-8 hours of sleep…every night. In order to help this little munchkin grow, I’ve had to adjust. The same applies to adopting a debt free mindset after years of buy now – pay later. The change may be shocking at first, but the payoff is worth the effort.
- Filter Well Meaning Advice – I’ve received a lot of well-intentioned, yet questionable advice from friends and family. As with personal finances, you want to evaluate the source before following someone’s slightly off-balanced suggestions. Remember, there is safety in the multitude of advisors. Bounce that advice off a number of people who’ve succeeded in the area of your struggle.
- Teamwork is Invaluable – The past two weeks we’ve had friends, family, and church members pitch in on everything from meals to cleaning and anything in between. Do you have a partner in the debt elimination process that can help keep you motivated and accountable? Find a money buddy and work your plans together.
- Use the Right Tools – Babies come with gadgets. Lot’s of them. We have found that some are absolute lifesavers! When trying to eliminate debt, make sure you have the right tools at your disposal: a monthly budget, a way to track your spending, and a willing partner in the Debt Free Divas to help you stay focused until debt freedom!
- Seek Help – Nursing is hard! Period. However, there are techniques that professional lactation consultants teach to make this endeavor less painful and more likely to last the duration. Climbing out of a mountain of debt, overdue bills, and bad credit may appear insurmountable. Seek help. We’ve been there and can help you kick the habit on start down the road to financial freedom.
- Enjoy the Process – In the midst of a screaming baby, diaper changes, 4 AM feeding; I’m still enjoying everything about Carter. Each new development is amazing and must be shared with grandparents. As you progress through your debt mountain, appreciate the progress and celebrate mini-milestones. You are that much closer to your goal.