Hi, my name is Natasha. I am 24 years old. My partner, Razak, and I live together with our two boys, ages 3 years and 10 months old. I make about $35,000 annually and he makes about $20,000. We pay $650 a month in rent on our apartment, which isn’t in the best neighborhood.
We’d like to move, but right now, we have about $17,000 in debt between the two of us, including credit cards, student loans, and IOU’s to family. It scares me that in the event that Zak lost his job, we would be homeless because we have virtually no savings and no cushion in case of emergencies.
We have done some things right: we have $900 in bonds and we did start a 529 college savings account for our oldest. But we are struggling to pay our rent, utilities, childcare, day-to-day expenses, and bills. During my last maternity leave, we withdrew all but $50 out of the 529 in order to stay afloat. I know we need better money management skills and more self regulation.
Personally, I need to rethink my focus on money and trying to keep up appearances, and instead try harder to make a better environment and set a good example for our kids. (My partner is more sound when it comes to making money decisions, but I think my bad spending habits have started rubbing off on him.)
I’d like to be out of debt and start making smarter financial decisions. I know we have the capacity for it, I just need to learn how, and that’s what I’m hoping to get out of Family Budget Boot Camp.
Aside from establishing college savings accounts for both kids, my dream would be to get my credit together so that one day I can buy a house and they can live comfortably, away from the dangerous neighborhood we are currently in.