As many of you know, I have been working one-on-one with KOAB readers who are interested in personal budget coaching.
This is one of my absolute favorite things to do, because I get to play a part in helping you to change your life! It doesn’t get more honorable and inspirational than that!
Earlier this week I got an email from one of my past clients, which literally had me in tears. I am so happy for this couple!
I asked her if I could share her email with you, because I want all of you to know that no matter where you are — and how insurmountable your financial issues feel — you can turn things around.
This couple lives in a large US city with their three children. The husband works outside of the home while the wife is home with their three young children. With an income of less than $30,000 per year after taxes, one child in private school and student loan debt exceeding $25,000, the couple was barely making ends meet. And that was with living rent-free in the basement of the wife’s parents’ home.
Their dreams of moving into their own place, getting out of debt, and paying for dayschool for all of their children one day seemed all but impossible.
When I first met with the couple via Skype, we talked about finding all the leaks in their budget and closing them up — immediately. It was time to go on a no-spending “binge” — no restaurants, no vacations, no date nights, no new clothes (I suggested buying kids’ clothing at garage sales or graciously accepting hand-me-downs when offered).
“This isn’t forever,” I reassured them. “But you need to act quickly to get things under control.”
Even once we plugged up these leaks, though, their budget was still tighter than tight. Fortunately, they were 100% committed to making good choices in order to pay off that debt and give themselves some breathing room.
Toward the end of our long conversation, we talked about the income side of this equation. “We’ve been focusing on controlling the outflow, but if you want to achieve your longer term goals, you’re going to need to increase the inflow as well. Start small. Even if you can increase your income by $1000 a month, it would change your life right now.”
They told me it was unthinkable that the husband would get a raise anytime soon — he’d just gotten one a few months ago — but promised that they’d work on increasing their income in other ways.
My parting message was simple: “Get your spending under control today. That’s something you can affect immediately. Then begin looking for ways to increase your income. When that bar raises — and it will, I’m sure of it! — you’ll be poised to do smart things with the increase so that you can say “yes” to things that matter most to you.”
We had this conversation just three short months ago. Since then, I’ve been in regular email contact with the couple, helping them to work through some of the day-to-day questions that come up when you first start living on a budget.
I’ve been so impressed with their commitment. The husband has completely stopped eating out for lunch at work, for example; and the wife has put off all but the most essential personal purchases for herself and her kids, and consciously reduced her grocery spending by over $300 a month.
They immediately applied their tax return to debt repayment and have been making big payments every month with the “found money” in their budget.
It’s still been hard — very hard — but they’ve seen a glimmering light at the end of the tunnel.
And then the “unthinkable” happened. I’ll let you hear it in her words:
Good news! Remember when you said if we just made $10-15K more, it would change our life? We thought there was no way since my husband had just gotten a promotion. Well, HaShem totally heard you and he got another huge promotion! Can you believe it?
He’ll be making between $12-20K more per year, depending on his commission. Plus it’s a big title promotion! We’re not adding anything new to the budget except making even bigger debt payments and sending our youngest to preschool (remember, we’d eliminated that after consulting with you?).
It wouldn’t have happened without you! Thank you so much for showing us how to be responsible with our money.
Can you see why I was crying? I am so, so proud of and pleased for this couple!
I know what it’s like to be in a pit of financial despair. I know what it’s like to think that nothing will ever change, so why bother even trying?
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from making that tentative first step six+ years ago, it’s that small changes beget bigger changes. When you’re doing smart things with your resources — even if they’re limited — good things WILL happen to you!
Personal Budget Coaching
If this post resonates with you — if you see yourself in this couple’s story — I wanted to share with you again the information about my Personal Budget Coaching services. It would be my honor to help you to create a financial roadmap that’s uniquely tailored to your family’s situation.
I am accepting new Personal Budget Coaching clients for the summer (starting in June — May is already booked up). If you’re interested, here’s how it works:
Step #1: Send me an email to let me know that you’re interested in Personal Budget Coaching. I’m only taking on two new clients per month, so that I’ll have plenty of time to dedicate to YOUR personal needs.
Step #2: I will send you a Personal Finance Survey, which you and your spouse – if you’re married — will complete. The Survey contains all sorts of in-depth questions about your family’s finances (Yup, we’re getting personal!), so that I can be prepared for Step 3.
Step #3: We will schedule our coaching session, to be held via video call. If you’re married, both husband and wife need to commit to being available for the call. We’ll chat for up to 90 minutes, giving us plenty of time to discuss my recommendations and answer any questions that you have. At the end of our call, you’ll have a detailed road map, tailored to your personal financial situation.
Step #4: One month after our initial call, we’ll have a 30-minute follow-up session. I’ll check in to see how you’re doing and answer any questions that have come up along the way, with the goal of ensuring that you’re headed in the right direction.
The total cost of Personal Budget Coaching is $180.
This fee includes all the services detailed above: an analysis of your Personal Budget Survey; our Initial Coaching Session; and the Follow-Up Call. Plus, I will be available to answer your email questions throughout that first month.
I am committed to helping you to take control of your finances. I recognize that personal coaching can be expensive, and that for some couples, the price tag puts it in the luxury category. As you decide whether personal finance coaching is right for your family, please feel free to email me any questions you have. I’ll be happy to help you work through your options.
Here’s to making smart financial choices!
The information provided through any Personal Budget Coaching services is not a substitute for legal and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.