Middle-Class To Food Bank - In Two Months. Now What?

Maybe CNN is a little late to the party, but they're apparently just figuring out that Americans are terrible with money. Ok, maybe not all Americans, but a lot of Americans are living just like Patricia Guerrero was - on the edge, financially. The front-page headline reads, "From $70K to food bank, one family's struggle". It does get your attention.

Though many of us live comfortably on a steady income, how far are any of us from the food bank? How many steps are we from the street? If you lost your job, where would you be financially?

Once upon a time, we were not unlike Patricia, in that we had little to no savings. Had one of us become unemployed things would have become quite tough. It was after we bought a house, had a baby, and found ourselves with over $40k in consumer debt that we discovered Dave Ramsey. 3 months later, before I was even on-board with the program, I did lose my job. BAM! Income cut in half.

Then what? Financial ruin? No, but it was closer than we would have like. We were on a budget, and that is what got us through. The budget was very tight. The budget helped us prioritize our money to be sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. The budget is where we found the money to survive. Without it, we could have been just like Patricia. Needless to say, I got on-board pretty quick. The proof is, how would you say, in the pudding.
But that wasn't it. We corrected our financial behaviors and cleaned up our finances. We were determined to never be in that position again. We took care of business.

Patricia is going through a whirlwind right now, and isn't sure which way is up. It's understandable. And she's been dealt some big blows in life. But now, more than ever, those two kids need her to take care of business. Living off of the system is not taking care of business. No body is going to help her through this more so than herself.
  • Its great that she signed up for unemployment benefits, but that is not a solution. She needs a job - or two - now.
  • She needs to be on a budget - yesterday - if she's not already. With a reduced income, its more important than ever to have a plan at the beginning of the month.
  • She needs to haul this estranged husband to court and get the child support she is due.
  • She needs to get out of this house that is crippling her financially and rent something cheap until she is back on her feet.
  • It's ok to cry and go through the emotions of the situation, but it's time to take control. It's time to take care of business. The pity party is over.
And that's just the beginning. Get out of debt, build up an emergency fund.... Somebody, please, put this family through FPU.

If you lost your job, where would you be financially?


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