Hi everyone! Welcome to SurvivalForWomen.com. I wanted us to get started with the ultimate foundation of our survival preparations – and that is money.
Money is not only going to provide us with peace of mind, but all of the potential things we need for everything from minor inconveniences to major catastrophes.
No matter where you are right now, your finances are always under construction. There’s always more we can be saving, more we can spend our money on in terms of survival – so not one of us here is finished with finances.
Today I’m going to give you a transparent peek into my own financial disaster and show you how far I’ve come as well as what I’m doing to get to where I want to go so that my survival finances are intact and ready when I need them.
Surviving a Wide Range of Financial Emergencies
When we talk about survival, we often think of doomsday situations – the economic collapse, the terrorist bombs, the weather situation that levels an entire city.
But the reality is, most of the emergency situations we face are much smaller, and no less important. Because when you’re stuck in a dire situation, it doesn’t matter if you’re going through it alone or with millions of others – it’s just as scary.
If our economy collapsed, as we’ve seen in other parts of the world, what would you do? You’d probably make a run on the bank like everyone else and be turned away with little to no cash in hand. How would you buy food? Pay bills? You couldn’t.
If a terrorist bomb or even a solar flare knocked out our ability to get cash from the ATM, how would you get money to survive when the banks were closed? You couldn’t. You need cash in hand.
There are tons of smaller financial emergencies many of us are not prepared for – like medical funds being needed, major home repairs cropping up on you, or tax payments coming out of nowhere.
We need to be:
- Paying off debt – this is like a noose around our necks.
- Getting an emergency savings in place.
- Spending some of what we earn on other basic means of survival.
Take a Peek at My Financial Survival Journey
I was never raised with information about how to be financially strong. I made sure I did this with my children – didn’t burden them, but showed them what happens when you make poor financial decisions and they have learned their lesson of what not to do.
My adult son has amazing financial sense and a higher credit score than me. He listened and saw the struggle. Don’t freak your kids out, but don’t be so quick to shield them, either.
A little backstory on me because it lets you know how I got into this situation – I’ve worked since I turned 16, paid for my own car, and was always responsible in terms of taking care of myself and my son in my early 20s.
Then I got into an abusive relationship in 1997 (escaped it legally and for good in December of 2013). I was well educated, attractive at the time (although he quickly let me know how disgustingly fat I was at 130 pounds and 5’8″), and a go getter in terms of career, college, etc.
Over the years, as my self worth was chipped away at, I became obsessed with making sure all of his needs were met to make up for his disappointment in me. I was intimidated, physically and verbally over the years – spat on (literally), pushed, yelled at, and more.
You become a mere shadow of yourself, hoping someday you’ll find the courage to be strong again.
When the marriage ended, we were about $72,000 in debt. I agreed to take it on for reasons I won’t get into. Let’s just say it gave me and my children peace of mind and we were able to end things quickly and easily with this arrangement.
Here it is a little over two years later. I have had an array of emergencies come up, including:
- Major plumbing issues under the house (to the tune of over $5,000).
- Waking up one morning before the divorce to find the other person’s paycheck had been funneled to a separate account, leaving me with nothing to pay bills with.
- Car breaking down and the need to spend thousands ($3,000) repairing or buying a new one.
- Tuition balloon payments coming up that we had to get paid by a certain deadline.
- Tax payments that were done on installment agreements that I had to pay off quickly.
- Medical procedures where chunk had to be paid right then and there.
I’ve been in a position where I was in tears, fraught with worry, unsure of what I would do. Every time I’ve handled it, but every time it’s been scary nonetheless.
In two years, I have paid off over $8,000 in debt, bought a new car, paid for all those repairs and to replace bad memories in my life (new bed, new furniture, stronger doors, etc.). I have afforded my medical debt (in fact I’m paying cash tomorrow for an MRI for my knee), and everything is building up to a point where I won’t have to worry whenever something happens.
I’m not there yet fully.
My goals are:
- To continue never being late with a payment (I’ve never been behind once).
- To save up a $1,000 cash emergency fund (I have about $300 right now).
- To have my medical deductible ($2,000) plus an extra $5,000 or more in an account at all times for medical purposes.
- To get life insurance and a will for my kids’ safety in case anything happens to me.
- To have a 3-month, then a 6-month, then a 9-month, then a year’s worth of savings to pay all bills in cash if I ever need it.
- To have a large sum of money to retire on or use in the event of a catastrophe.
- To spend a bit of money here and there on survival planning so that we are covered in terms of shelter, water, food, protection and more.
I work from home as an online blogger, so I earn six figures now (wasn’t always that way) and I am more financially prepared now than when I was married with a second source of income.
My kids and I are not only improving on the finances, but we’ve been able to afford to do fun things, and extras (little things like getting my hair dyed at a salon instead of out of a box). I don’t want to go through life being deprived trying to make it perfect. I want to LIVE life and be WISE about my financial health simultaneously.
There Are a Variety of Ways to Get Your Survival Finances in Order
When I started my debt payoff journey (because how can you save when everyone’s taking from you?), I started with Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.
This is a man whose talk show I started listening to in carpool. If you can find him locally, I highly urge you to tune in on Friday’s when caller after caller phones in to yell “We’re Debt Free!”
My kids and I used to dream about making that call, and someday we will.
The book is incredibly inspiring to me. Not only does he kick you in the butt to make you wake up and be honest and real, but he also sheds light on how to make this as personally satisfying as possible using his debt snowball, which goes AGAINST the grain of having you pay off highest interest rates first.
I use a mix of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and my own personal preferences, so let me share with you how I do that:
Mentioned in the video:
As a woman saving for survival, we need to earn more and spend less. How can you do that?
Ways to Earn More:
- Get a second job. (If you’re not already too tired)
- Level up in your existing job (if you want this, ask for a promotion or gain skills to get ahead).
- Switch jobs or careers or companies (don’t settle just because you’ve been stuck in a job for 10 years or more).
- Find out more about working from home.
- Sell things on Amazon or eBay
- Walk dogs. (My Mom’s neighbor makes a nice little extra bit doing this)
- Put items up on Craigslist or take them to a resell shop.
Ways to Spend Less:
- Stop eating fast food and start eating leftovers. (This cut down a HUGE amount for me – cooking more)
- Watch your bills (electricity, water usage, etc.)
- Go more generic whenever you can.
- Get rid of things you think you can’t live without (I thought I’d die without my morning newspaper and now I couldn’t read it if I tried – I go online).
Take This First Survival Finances Step With Me!
I want us all on this journey together. I’d like you to do a hardcore analysis of where you stand right now. Are you earning enough to save, spend on survival and more?
If not, what can you try to earn more money?
If you are, then what do you plan to put your leftover money into? I showed you mine in the video. I’d love to hear how you plan to do it as well!
Over time, let’s check in on our financial health and see how we can support one another with motivation, ideas and more.
If you don’t already have it, go grab Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and let’s talk about how your debt snowball is melting along with mine!