30 and broke. – Sydney Robson

Sydney Robson
and broke Sydney Robson

How I plan to clean up my financial mess at 30 years old.

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

My financial life is a bit in shambles at the moment. I know it’s all the rage to think and manifest money into existence, but I’m not quite at the “manifesting” part yet. I just turned 30. I should probably know what I’m doing — but I don’t have a clue. That said, it would be a great idea to start here, on medium, and share my journey to financial peace with the world. I mean someone may need this one day, and it’s best to sort of… go for it.

Lately, I have been browsing a lot of finances for dummies type blogs. I’ve also been listening to quick snippets of Dave Ramsey’s show on YouTube. I haven’t learned a ton I understand. All I know is that debt is bad, saving for an emergency fund is non-negotiable, and budgeting is a BFD.

The concept of budgeting every dollar that comes in isn’t rocket science. I’m sure to most adults this is a not-so-new concept. But to me, this made something in my brain light up I didn’t realize was there. Having a place for every dollar to go (including savings) sounds like a genius thing to do.

I live my life with the best intentions when handling my money. My follow-through is garbage. I get caught up in what is happening at that moment and rarely see past today’s needs. That leaves no room for saving anything and no plan laid out for my spending. Getting a handle on how to spend my money the smart way means I could start directing my dollars toward those “intentions” we spoke about earlier.

I already have an app downloaded for this. It’s filled with an imaginary income that I’d hoped one day would be real. Ya know, that whole believe and manifest thing I was talking to you about.

I’m not sure where the money will come from yet. But once it comes in, budgeting every penny I get means I can give every penny a good home.

This is “Baby Step 1” I’m sure, in Dave Ramsey’s action steps, I think. I’ve also watched some “The Financial Diet” YouTube videos and read the first chapter of their book. They clarify that saving up for at least 3–6 month’s worth of expenses is crucial.

I get that. I do. My life right now is a wreck because I’ve lost my job more than once now and I have completely spiraled in my finances. I made no room for any incidentals. Even when I was working, I made no allowances for an “Uh-oh” moment. This has cost me so much I can’t even say. I have learned my lesson.

Apparently, most Americans are a $400 emergency away from financial ruin. Isn’t that crazy?

I live my life like that, but worse. It’s more like $150 or something stupid. It never occurred to me to plan and prepare for the unexpected because I handled everything as it came. I lived paycheck to paycheck, and figured if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… until it broke, and then I had to pay to get it fixed.

I know better now. They say that starting with at least $1,000.00 saved for a crazy, unexpected anything is satisfactory. I plan on working toward putting that away ASAP. Paying for it like it was a bill.

So, I’m what the experts call a little ADHD. I don’t know how real it is for everyone, but it feels most real to me. I’ve had a problem investing much time in either for a long enough time to reap many rewards from it. This includes my attempt at getting a degree.

I will not blame my lack of follow-through on having some disorder. I will point out that I have had a lot of hindrances mentally left unchecked for a lot of my life. It’s nothing I’m afraid will stop me. But looking back at the decisions I’ve made along the way is helping see where I needed help and didn’t know to ask for it.

This has made a world of difference for me in how I am deciding now. I know that I can’t do certain things for a certain amount of time with no break. I’m learning what works and doesn’t work for me.

All this is encouraging enough to want to begin a path towards success for myself. That includes investing in things like school to help me further myself and my career. I need to press forward in these areas and take a risk on myself. I believe I can do it, even if it took me 30 years to think so.

OH. MY. GOD. I owe so many people, so much money. It’s so stupid the mess I put myself in my twenties. But hey, I’m learning. I used to think debt was no big deal. The thought in my mind was that it was something every adult had and no one ever really got out of it. Because it never affected my *immediate* circumstances day today, I blew it off like it didn’t matter.

Well, everyone… I’ve come to the understanding that it matters. If for no other reason it affects your credit score like a madwoman. Now, I don’t have the greatest understanding of credit and how/why it is the way it is. The whole system of getting a good credit score and maintaining it seems a little daunting to me. What I know is that if you don’t pay for stuff, your score goes down. And since your credit score is like the adult version of a report card, it can stop you from getting into places. But instead of colleges, it’s like, houses, and cars and whatnot.

I have random credit cards, cell phone bills, I don’t even know what else off the top of my head. It used to not bother me. Tons of people have terrible credit. So much so they market to people all over with bad credit. I’ve all those radio ads or signs on billboards or park benches: “No credit? Bad credit? No problem!” “NO CREDIT CHECKS” “EVERYONE IS APPROVED”.

I figured bad credit was another typical life thing that is no big deal, cause everyone is out here dealing with it.

It wasn’t until I realized that one day I’d be sharing my life with someone else that it occurred to me. My credit matters. Being financially limited because your wife is an idiot who didn’t pay her Victoria Secret credit card bill is not a good way to start your life with someone.

I want my credit to be good for me and my future husband, ya know? It’s important also to pay back what you owe. When you agree to do something, follow-through. God keeps His promises to me. It’s a character trait He expects His children to take on. Paying down debt is following through on the commitments I made. That’s super important to me.

So let’s back up to me explaining how my financial life is in shambles… That’s an understatement. I got bills coming from all over the place and no money to pay them. The funny thing about bills too, I’ve discovered, is that they are reoccurring. They keep on coming back for me every month.

This section is self-explanatory… I want to get my bills current. I want to have a plan laid out so I can have them deducted from my account automatically so I don’t have to risk being late or anything like that. I don’t want to have to choose between paying my bills or groceries. I want to get it all done and stay on top of them. That’s all I have to say about that.

Those are my 5 goals in 30 days. Here’s hoping, praying, believing, and receiving that I can do it! Thanks for hanging in there with me through this. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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