Once upon a time, Greg and I weren’t all that great with money. We spent our early 20’s frittering away most of what we earned, then continued the practice once we met and fell in love. A lot of the things we did made sense at the time, but that is mostly because we were C-L-U-E-L-E-S-S.

Luckily, we were smart enough not pile up too much debt. On the flip side, we were downright irresponsible with the cash we had. Once we became parents we realized we weren’t just wasting money, we were wasting the precious time and energy it took to earn that money as well. YIKES!

Since Halloween is just a few days away, I thought it might be fun to look at some of the scariest things I’ve done with money. So grab your bag of popcorn, turn out the lights, and prepare for an article full of fright! Here goes…

I Bought A New Car I Couldn’t Afford

We all know how indifferent I am to what I drive these days, but I wasn’t always this way. Nope. In fact, I once financed a $25,000 car when I was making something like $8.15 an hour. I swear! I still wonder how on Earth the dealership approved me. I mean, come on people. Do the math! 

But, the scariest part was yet to come. Once the first payment came due, I realized I needed to fork over more than 50% of my income just to keep that crazy loan afloat.  That didn’t even include car insurance… or gas… or anything. Doh! Ultimately, I worked my ass off to destroy the debt, but it was downright frightening when I realized the damage I had done. Never. Again.

I Bought a $1,300 Vacuum from a Door-to-Door Salesman

I must’ve been feeling spendy the day the Kirby guy showed up at my door. A free demonstration and carpet cleaning?!? Sure! Why not?!? I bought the whole thing – hook, line, and sinker. Once I saw how well the vacuum worked and how easy it was to put together, I wanted it  – no, I-NEED-ED-IT!  – and I didn’t care how much it cost.

Now, I would rather suck up crumbs with nothing but my mouth and superior lung capacity than spend $1,300 on a stupid vacuum. How scary is it that I spent thirteen hundred dollars without having any kind of plan to do so ahead of time? It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

We Never Tracked Our Spending

takes I’ve made anUntil we got serious about our money, we never tracked our spending. We literally got paid on payday and spent it all until the next time. That was our “strategy.” That was our goal. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), failing to track our spending got us absolutely nowhere.

Once we decided to take things seriously, we started tracking our spending right away. But – ohmygod – what we discovered was downright terrifying. For example, we were spending $1,000 dollars or more on food each month… for two freaking people! How does that happen? What were we eating?  The scariest part is that I honestly have no idea!

Going From “Scary” to “Skrilla”

If you’re finances look as scary as mine did, it’s time to take action. Here are some simple steps you can take to stop living with fear and start living fat:

  1. Track Your Spending – Having trouble getting ahead? You probably have a spending problem. Start tracking what you spend to find out where your money is really going. But, brace yourself! What you find might scare the pants off of you.
  2. Start a Budget – Does the thought of a budget creep you out? It shouldn’t. A budget is simply a tool that helps you plan for your monthly spending. Instead of restricting you, it allows you to save on the things you don’t want so you can spend on the things you do. Seriously, this tool can be a financial lifesaver.
  3. Create an Emergency Fund – You know what’s really scary? Not having money for emergencies. By starting an emergency fund, you’ll have money to take of those unexpected expenses so you can sleep well at night. Start by saving $1,000 just for emergencies. Eventually, build that fund so you have 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses stashed away.

Things Aren’t As Scary As They Used to Be

I’m so thankful that we’ve stopped doing scary things with our money. Actually, it’s pretty boring over here – and that’s exactly how I like it.  No more car payments, diamond-studded vacuums, or $1,000 food bills for us. Nope, being on the straight and narrow has put us on the fast track towards early retirement and complete financial domination of the universe#Winning

Even if your finances are frightening now, they don’t have to stay that way. We turned our money around and you can too! By using the tips above, you can take back control of your money and your life. Have a happy and safe Halloween weekend!

Do you have any scary money stories? What have you done to turn it around? Let us know in the comments below!