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Nobody ever expects their life to be a mess, either financially or emotionally. Our mess was financial and we learned so much from bankruptcy that the bankruptcy changed our life for the better.
In 2010 my husband lost his job. We were a single income family and had 2 months of savings at the time. We didn’t think he would be out of a job for longer than 2 months. But he was and we went through all our savings.
I wrote all about that in this post: This is what happened when my husband lost his job. I encourage you to read it.
This post was updated in March 2020
Unemployment was a humbling experience for us. We lived on food stamps, we had Medicaid insurance for our kids, and we ended up filing bankruptcy.
I remember the day of our court date for bankruptcy. Being in the courthouse and being asked questions by the judge about how much we made, our children, our home.
I remember sweating because I was so scared. I had only been in court once before for a speeding ticket. This was so different. The judge was nice he excused us from our debts and we left the courthouse debt-free, no longer homeowners, humbled.
The only thing we owned were the cars we had that were 6 and 8 years old. You could definitely say we had hit rock bottom.
Back then, we didn’t know what was going to happen. We ended up staying in the house for almost 2 years. This happened because the housing market had just crashed and there were SO MANY homes that were foreclosing.
During that time, my husband got a job and we were able to save some money. We saved and saved and saved. We didn’t have a credit card so we could only pay cash for stuff.
Life after bankruptcy discharge
There was a recovery period that we didn’t expect would be as long as it was. Just because my husband was employed, it didn’t mean we had a boatload of money, it meant that now we could live without needing help. We still had to figure out how to save money and our new budget.
Bankruptcy definitely changed our life for the better.
If you need help keeping track of your finances, I have created a financial bundle in my shop. It has everything you need to help you keep track of your finances, create a budget, debt pay off, and spending tracker. The package is normally $6.00. You can get it today for 50% off by using the code Unemployment and click here.
The downside of filing bankruptcy
Since we have gone through it once, we have a fear we might go through it again. Because of this fear, we save a lot more. We only have debt in our car and in our house.
The fear we have is valid. It’s like when you get in a car crash, you are worried all the time you may get in another.
Now we just have parameters around how much we should spend.
Lessons from bankruptcy changed our life
We only spend cash. Our debit cards are what we use. We know that if we don’t have the money for something then we can’t buy it. Before, we would use our credit card and pay it off over time. Now we don’t even think that way. We wait to purchase something until we have the cash.
We value what we have
When you have nothing, you are stressed because there is so much you need and you just didn’t have the money for it. Here’s a quick list of what we value: our family, our jobs, our home, our cars, our furniture. All of it except for the car and the house we paid cash. So we own it free and clear.
It is so freeing to know that the couch I am sitting on is paid for and I don’t have to look for a monthly bill. The TV we have, we own it outright and if anything happens to it we have the money to replace it. That is so freeing.
Teach our children
Since we only spend cash on things we are able to teach our children about only using cash. They see us swipe our debit cards, but we explain to them we only have a certain amount of money to spend. We also teach them that by waiting we are able to see if an item goes on sale.
Try it! You will be amazed at how much they are paying attention to your conversations about money.
Live like no one else
Thankfully because of bankruptcy it changed our lives for the better, we live in a way that many people don’t. Yes, we could have a credit card, yes we could have more than one car, yes, I could have a full-time job outside the house. But the quality of life we have right now is so much greater than any of that.
I work from home and building a business out of my blog, in addition to my virtual assistant business. My husband can travel for work and knows that I have everything under control at home so he doesn’t have to worry.
If you are thinking of starting a home-based business, I highly recommend doing Virtual Assistant work. My business focuses on Pinterest Virtual Assistant work, and I learned about it by taking the course Become a Pinterest VA Today.
Life is different now. We decided to allow bankruptcy to be the line in the sand that we aren’t going back to. The humility, the stress, the shame we lived in, we are never going back to that again.
As I look back on what we went through and reflect on how bankruptcy changed our life, I am thankful for what we have learned. I don’t wish the stress and emotional strain or hardship of unemployment on anyone.
If you are reading this and going through unemployment, I’m sorry, but I know what it’s like. I pray you to have the support of family and friends and your church to help you through.
One thing I do know is that if we didn’t have our relationship with Christ during this season, we wouldn’t have had very much hope. Because of Jesus, we had hope that everything was going to be okay. We didn’t know how long it would be, but we did know God always keeps his promises.
It isn’t easy going through a financial disaster, but being able to talk about it and help someone else, is life-changing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would love to hear from you if you are in a position similar to mine. You can sign up for my mailing list and send me an email. I will add you to my prayer list.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Complete Finance Package! It has everything you need to help you keep track of your finances, create a budget, debt pay off, and spending tracker. The package is normally $6.00. You can get it today for 50% off by using the code Unemployment and click here.
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Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.