This post is in collaboration with 10thousandgirl
When I became a mum I felt as though all of my career and life aspirations went out the window. You see, I wasn’t a mum that was just content with sitting at home with my baby, I needed more than that. To me, being a mum doesn’t define me, being a woman does – a woman many hats, a woman with life goals, aspirations and interests, a woman that is financially independent.
But to reach those life goals, aspirations and interests, well, a lot of the time you need money. And I’m not talking your partner’s money or money from the government, I’m talking about money you earned your own little self. That’s the money I wanted.
From a young age, all I could think about was moving out of home to be financially independent. I first moved out of home when I was 18, then I came back and then I moved out again, for good.
I paid my way through university, paid for my car, my rent and when I moved in with Mr. G, I still made sure I paid my portion of the living expenses, helped to save towards our holidays, contributed to building our new home and paying for some of our wedding and honeymoon. Having this, what I like to call ‘financial freedom’, was exciting and empowering.
Then I had a baby.
Don’t get me wrong, having Elliott was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Seriously. Becoming a Mum has made me discover a new found passion and a brand new career and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But…having absolutely no financial independence whatsoever scared me. Not being able to contribute to the household scared me.
It was a catch 22 really. I could go to work and leave my little baby/toddler in childcare to get my financial independence back, to contribute to the household and reach my career goals or I could stay at home and forego it to some degree. And the thing that irked me? I felt like I had to rely on my husband to fill the gap, I wasn’t contributing to anything. I felt like I didn’t deserve the outfit I bought online at Birdsnest because I didn’t pay for it. I wanted a family holiday but didn’t feel as though I’d worked hard enough for it. It’s not easy for us women, we just can’t win. It’s a fine line.
But…it wasn’t all turmoil. Actually, it gets a lot better but not without some risk taking (and guts) first.
Rather than feel sorry for myself, I started making some tough financial decisions for me and my family because for some reason, and even though I wasn’t the breadwinner, I was responsible for the finances. If I was going to reach my goals and aspirations (of course these goals and aspirations had to do with my family too), big decisions needed to be made.
We sold our house
One day at the end of Elliott’s first year, most of which was spent at home, I got to the point where our financial situation crippled me with fear, finances I felt responsible for. We’d exhausted all the funds we’d saved to live on in the first year after having Elliott because I didn’t receive paid maternity leave and our mortgage was ridiculously huge. There was no way we were going to be able to afford to pay it, and my job that I had been promised by my employer was conveniently (to them) no longer available.
“We need to sell and we need to sell now,” I remember saying to Mr. G. We had quite a large 4 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, 3 living room home that we built and we needed to drastically downsize to get us back into a more stable financial position. It was a quick financial decision that paid off back then and is still the best decision we made. We sold in a week and found a house, although much smaller, which allowed us to live very comfortably. Even though it’s smaller and far from modern, I’ve never looked back. A big house is not necessarily the best house.
I taught myself
In my effort to seek work with flexibility around my family, I decided to start teaching myself so I could start a business from home. In addition to blogging, I taught myself about websites, writing and social media. I read books, websites, attended webinars and completed online courses. I believe if you really want something badly, you can make it happen. No one else but YOU can do that.
I started a freelance business from home
Teaching myself built my confidence, I put my knowledge to the test, I ‘faked it before I made it’, I eventually freelanced from home and gained back my financial independence and felt the utmost of satisfaction of being able to contribute to my family and goals again. Working from home was the best option for me because it offered me flexibility with my family at the same time as allowing me to work towards my personal goals.
Did I mention I networked like crazy – online and offline? If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have landed some of the opportunities I did. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
I regained my financial freedom
It was great to know that I was contributing to the household again, great to know that if anything were to happen, I was earning a solid income and I could handle it.
With the extra money I made, we were able to go on some wonderful overseas holidays
Instead of this
With the extra money I made, we have been able to put away money for Elliott’s schooling into an Australian Scholarships Group fund
With the extra money I’ve made, we’ve been able to enjoy life and finances are the least of my stress.
Based on my experience, and that’s the only thing I can really base it on because I’m no finance expert, they key is to take the plunge and make the changes you need to if financial freedom for yourself and your family is what you really want (or need). Your situation just won’t fix itself.
Here are some key points to consider if you’re trying to get yourself out of a bit of a rut financially:
- Reassess your commitments like your mortgage or car loan. Are they beyond manageable? It might be scary, but the best thing you can do is take the bull by the horns and downsize. Do you need a big shiny brand new car? Do you need a massive house when most of the rooms are hardly used?
- Reassess your expenses. Are there any you can let go like Netflix?
- If you want to reach your goals, be prepared to teach yourself what you need to know.
- Life events can change the course of your finances, like having a baby! Mums can have financial freedom too, it’s just about being savvy like working from home instead. Ask your employer if this is possible or consider freelancing/consulting.
- Cut up your credit cards and focus on using your own money. While trying to pay off your credit cards search for an interest-free credit card deal and transfer the balance so you’re not hit by the interest while you’re trying to pay it off.
- If you’re looking to save for your first home, for a holiday or to start a business, open a savings account and arrange an automatic direct debit to come out weekly/fortnightly/monthly. This way you won’t see it and your savings will start to build.
- Start a budget and stick to it.
- Set all your bills up so they’re paid automatically by weekly/fortnightly/monthly direct debits. When your bill arrives in the mail, it will be paid or in credit. Win!
- Start a vision board with images representing your goals and work towards it.
Finally, don’t let managing your finances discourage you from reaching your goals!!!
Do you need a financial makeover?
The 10thousandgirl 6 Week Money Makeover program, the first of its kind in Australia, can help you beat the overwhelm.
To apply for a partly funded scholarship to the program ($30 instead of $149) all you have to do is:
- Share your greatest life aspirations and your financial challenges that prevent you from achieving them in the comments
- Share the same comment above at http://10thousandgirl.com/scholarship/
- Retweet or like and share this post on Facebook using the hashtag #10tg100.
The aim of the 10thousandgirl program is to make life planning and personal finance fun, social and totally life-changing. It’s all about learning the life and finance skills we all need to know to be financially independent but so often didn’t learn at home or at school. This program is designed for women to feel set for a financially secure future. And the best thing is there will be a group of like-minded women to support and encourage each other.
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