I’m Lori. I’m in my early 30’s and was officially divorced in May of 2009 after 12 years of marriage. Today, I’m a single-mom of two great kids, ages 6 and 9. We’re living with my mom while I figure out how to get on my feet. Where I am right now isn’t very pretty — in fact, it’s embarrassing — but I know that if I don’t take a good hard look at my life, my finances, and what got me here, I won’t be able to create the life that I really want and that my children deserve.
For years, I was the main provider for our household: my husband was laid off a couple of times, tried going back to school, and eventually decided to start his own business. In the last few years, my role shifted to focusing on the kids while my husband worked. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well financially. His business failed, I couldn’t get a job, we made some poor financial choices, and we lost everything: the house, savings, our good credit, our car, and even each other.
So, right now, I’m receiving food stamps and health care through the state, and am legally considered “homeless” by my public school district. As much as I hate the label, it has allowed me to keep the kids at their school (my mom is outside the kid’s school district) with their same friends and teachers. Plus, their school district is one of the few that isn’t cutting back programs right now. Where my mom is living, it’s quite the opposite.
The good news is that I now have a part-time job doing 25 to 30 hours per week of reception work. It bores the life out of me as I sit and wait for the phone to ring, but it is an income and it’s a positive and supportive environment, which matters a lot to me. I bring home around $1,000 a month. My ex-husband takes care of his responsibilities, so there’s a little child support.
I also freelance, which brings in a little each month. I love writing and making a difference in people’s lives, and I published my own book last year. I also have a background in both life coaching and editing and am able to combine these interests to share what I love most with others. Although it isn’t much, the freelancing is something I really enjoy.
Somehow, though, despite the recent increase in my income, I still seem to run out of money at the end of each month. My guess is that I probably won’t really like looking at why that is, but in the end it will provide an opportunity to build a different kind of life me and my kids.
Which is ultimately why I applied to Family Budget Boot Camp. The fact that I was chosen both excites and terrifies me! It will require me to be very open and public about a part of my life that most people hold very private — more people make jokes about sex in public than talk about their finances. There’s a part of me that worries about what my personal and professional community will think. Will they think less of me? Will they understand? Will they be supportive, or will they shun me somehow?
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter. I made a commitment to myself when I left my husband in January to continuously step outside my comfort zone until I’d created the life I really wanted. I knew that just because something might be familiar and comfortable, doesn’t make it the best place to be. This project fits right in to that commitment and I look forward to the journey — where ever it may take me!