Diary of an (Eventual) Budgeting Success Story: Part One – Meet Carrie

Most of the time, when we share a customer story, it’s a success story. Someone who has already come out on the other side and conquered debt and funded buffers and all that good stuff. (And it is really good stuff!)

But a lot happens between deciding that you need a budget and celebrating financial victories.

Starting can be hard—intimidating, confusing, overwhelming. And committing to the budget (and making the necessary lifestyle adjustments to follow the budget!) can be even harder.

Today, we are launching a new series to dig into that tough, messy middle part. And brand-new YNABer Carrie Hart, has graciously agreed to be our guide.

Carrie, a 44-year-old, mother of two from Traverse City, Michigan, recently quit her job to pursue a life-long dream of doing overseas volunteer work. But the pesky thing about dreams — especially when the word “volunteer” is involved—they cost money.

Carrie Needs A Budget

After years of collecting debt, living beyond her means, and “avoiding anything related to actually learning how to manage money like a grown-up,” Carrie went searching for some help.

“Finances have definitely been a negative factor in my life. Respectfully, I grew up with somewhat of a poverty mentality, and what I’m realizing is that has consequences in so many different areas of my life. My financial mess looks a lot like self-sabotage and it negatively impacts my value as a person. But I have just come to a point where I can’t let this hold me back anymore. At some point your vision of your purpose is stronger than the weaknesses you see in yourself. And that is where I want to be — starting now.”

She found YNAB and “it seemed different—in a good way.”

Carrie Gets A Budget

They say starting is half the battle, in which case, Carrie is off to a great start. She and her husband have just begun learning the ways of YNAB. They are mulling over the Four Rules. They are thinking through priorities. They have at least one successful budget meeting (which they’ve dubbed ‘Team Hart’s Budget & Debt Reduction Summit’) under their belts. They have hope.

First up—debt: “For various reasons—some legit and some not so legit—I have a boatload of debt and it weighs at least one million pounds and hangs around my neck. I feel like I’m a slave to it.”

Carrie Learns To Budget

And here is where the hard/amazing/messy/freeing/hard journey really begins. We will be checking in with Carrie every month or so over the course of the next year to see how it’s going. What is she learning about her priorities, her habits, her relationships, and her motivations? We will celebrate her successes and encourage her in her setbacks. Because budgeting is part all of these things.

Carrie Gets Real

It’s not easy to be vulnerable with arguably the entire Internet. But Carrie is hopeful her story will help someone else along the way: “I just got to the point where I wasn’t able to do the things that really matter to me, so I decided, it’s time to grow the heck up, put on my big girl pants, and get my crap together once and for all! I have got to get out of this debt people! It’s driving me crazy! And since I’ve been applying the YNAB method, I can honestly say, my life is slowly changing! It may be two steps forward, one step back, but I feel like I’m killin’ it! Who’s with me?”

If you relate at all to Carrie and her story, I hope you’ll follow along but watch out it could get messy!