When there was no renter in one for several months, I stopped paying altogether. I accepted the fact that I might lose it, but instead, I got a loan modification and I was able to keep it. One of the other high payment rentals also qualified for a government load program, so in the end, I held on to all the properties.
There were many nights I couldn’t sleep trying to figure out how everything was going to work, but eventually, things started to get better. My finances are nowhere need they should be, but the last few times an emergency happened, I actually had some meager savings to wipe out to cover it. And then there is the little celebration dance I do when everything actually is paid at the end of the month and I have a couple of dollars left over.
What have I learned? Besides that I am Serial Spender, three things come to mind.
PAY WHAT THINGS ARE WORTH
Walk in to Ross or anything other discount store and take a look at the price tags. A designer jacket that was priced at one of the major department stores, would have cost you $60.00, but it is now marked at $15.00. It was never worth $60.00. It may not even be worth $15.00. It cost $5.00 to make. Think it through before you plunk down hard earned money or worse yet, stick it on a credit card. Yes, we all need clothes, shoes and even furniture occasionally, but do your research and don’t just spend because YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT. Take it from me, you don’t.
YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF FOR LESS
I really like building things. I would rather build and design something than assemble it, believe it or not. I can spend hours working on a project and the day just flies by. I love the creative side of it and I love that I have picked up some new skills that keep improving. If the whole financial meltdown wouldn’t have happened to me, I doubt I ever would have discovered that about myself. You can do it yourself for less. Be it cooking, sewing, baking or home improvement projects, take the labor out and the whole thing becomes that much more financially manageable. You never know what you might discover you are good at. Besides, if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living!
BANKRUPTCY IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF
Since I started this series, I have had numerous people tell me about their own financial horror stories. People who were close to me who I never knew were in the same situation. We all make mistakes and we all get thrown in situations that we don’t handle as well as we hoped. I am not proud that I don’t do well with my money, but I am also not ashamed. Am I reformed? I doubt it. But the lessons I have learned and continue to learn, have made my life richer, even if my bank account isn’t. I think I can live with that.