I never wanted the fact that I was a single parent to be a crutch. I didn’t want anyone to look at me in a “poor Dorethia and her kids” kind of way. I was determined to ensure that my girls didn’t miss out on anything because they weren’t in a two-parent home. But the reality is that it was hard.
I was a young mother with two daughters, trying to figure life out and broke. I was working and going to school, both full time, but not making enough to cover all of my bills, let alone an emergency. I took jobs as a receptionist because it was an easy way to make money and I was good at it. But, it was entry-level.
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Truthfully, I can’t blame it all on earning a low wage either, because as my income grew, I made some poor decisions. I was never one to blow money on shopping, but I leased a truck I couldn’t afford. The truck payment coupled with Detroit car insurance costs was outrageous. I purchased new windows on installment and a few other things — things everyone else did too, so it seemed like it made sense.
Feeling the Pressure
I think the creditor calls were the worst. Their harassment would often send me into a panic. I was trying to figure out how I could pay them off so that they’d stop calling. There were many nights of terrible stress. I remember crying myself to sleep worried about my bills. It was horrible.
I was trying hard to fix it. I knew I needed to increase my income, so I adopted side hustles. I cleaned houses and sold candles and jewelry to try to make up the difference. But, it was never enough.
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Starting My Money Journey — at Church
I knew I had to stop stressing, and I had to lean on my faith to do that. The truth is, faith is what got me through.
My church began having financial education seminars, and I went to every one of them. I learned principles I had never heard of before, and no one in my circle of friends or family had either. I also began to pray and ask God to help me do better with my money and give me peace.
During that time, I realized that for years I had been winging it with my money, doing the best I could, but I never had a real strategy. But now I did. I always tell people that “knowledge eliminates fear,” and that was certainly true for me and my money. Once I educated myself on proper money management methods and was determined not to get overwhelmed by stress, I felt so much better.
What You Can Do
If any of this sounds familiar to you — maybe you’re a single parent yourself, or you’re just struggling financially — here are the things that I did to eliminate money stress. Some of these may work for you too.
- Learn everything you can about managing money and implement a plan that works for your situation.
- Stop borrowing money. Focus on increasing your income and paying your debt off.
- Make arrangements with your creditors, one by one.
- Make the conscious decision not to worry, and talk to others who can assist and encourage you.
These principles have carried me ever since. When I eventually married my husband, I was whole, stress-free and financially stable. We continue to impart this same financial wisdom to our children.
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