Hi! My name is Katie. I am 34 years old and live in Rochester, N.Y. I am a full-time reading teacher for first and second grade and kindergarten students. I love what I do–my favorite part of my job is my students! I started a Little Free Library in my school’s main lobby so families would have access to free books and magazines AND to inspire a love of reading! I enjoy reading and read each night before bed.
I am single and have five pets (two dogs and three cats). I rent a duplex in the city that fits the six of us and has a fenced in backyard! I like to foster kittens and puppies before they are old enough to be adopted, but after two ‘foster fails’ my apartment is full! I am taking a break from fostering until I have a bigger space and maybe some helpers. I enjoy cuddling with my cats, walking my dogs and the overall company.
I never have been good with money, but over the last six years my debt has become really bad! I was a first grade teacher for a few years, making a teacher’s salary. After a move to a different city, I was a preschool teacher for three years. With this job switch, I was making about half of what I was before and I was living on my own for the first time. Even though less money was coming in I kept the same lifestyle. My debt got bigger and bigger, but I didn’t make any changes until I got my current job and was making a larger salary again.
Since I was making more money I realized there were no excuses and I needed to make a change. The first thing I did was join mint.com. Seeing all of my debt listed in one place was a huge eye opener! I started putting more money toward my credit card bills. The problem was I still was using my credit cards, so the balances were not going down. Whenever I felt I was doing well, something unexpected would come up, like my cat having cancer or my car needing repairs.
A year ago, I started teaching yoga classes to kids. I always have had a second income. For many years I babysat and I also have tutored. Teaching yoga to kids was different because this was more consistent and, although I wasn’t making a ton of money, it was more than I had made from previous side jobs. I began putting the extra money I was earning toward my debt.
One major obstacle in all of this is I only work part-time during the summer. I have done a range of things, from teaching summer school to working as a secretary for a law firm. Most summer gigs are only for a couple weeks, though. With summer being two months long, there are times when I am not working. Last summer I realized I had paid off a few thousand dollars during the school year, but then added it all back during the summer.
At the beginning of this school year I made the decision to cut up my credit cards and work on paying down my balances. It was scary not to have a safety net, but I knew it had to be done! I continued teaching yoga to kids and took on a weekly tutoring job. I also began pet sitting for friends and coworkers. Recently, I added selling essential oils. Making more money really helped! My biggest struggle is spending less money and that seems to be what is holding me back! I found And Then We Saved, and was amazed by Anna’s story of becoming debt-free.
I have the goal of buying a house next summer and I know I need to do something BIG to make it happen! I decided to do a Spending Fast to pay off my debt and begin saving! The first big thing I did was to not renew my Amazon Prime membership, which saved me the fee for the year and *hopefully* will prevent me from shopping on the site. The biggest thing will be learning to have self control with money!
I think this will be life-changing and I am excited to share my Spending Fast journey with you!
Beginning of April- My Debt:
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