Sense & Centsibility Blog

How a Recovering Overspender Painlessly Saves for Emergencies

On day 4 of America Saves Week, we bring you Carla's personal story of how she went from a life of being unprepared to a life of building up savings. Read on...

In my old life as an over-spender, CERTAINLY NOT an over-saver, the inevitable brake job, broken dryer, new spring jacket, whatever constituted an ‘emergency’  would leave me financially blind-sided.  And left me hoping there would be enough room on one of my credit cards to ‘save me’.

My former work and overspending life

Save for emergenciesI was a banker.  Selling financial products i.e., loans, lines of credit, credit cards was my bread and butter.  Making sure people who wanted money got it – it’s what I was charged to do. Whether they needed it or not...some who could (if at all), barely afford it were leaving my desk with a check.  We had strenuous sales goals.  No wonder my own perception of money became distorted. 

Our credit card debt multiplied, but I was naively unconcerned because my husband and I had a great jobs and were making those minimum payments just fine.  Then, one day the bank restructured.  This meant my entire department and over 2,000 employees system-wide came to work one day, then were gone the next.  I was out of a job and unknown at the time, newly expecting our second child.

From overspending and debt to savings

My husband and I went to LSS for hope and a way out.  We were given tools, a strict but workable budget, a Debt Management Plan, and instructions to SAVE!  "How could we," I thought to myself..."we’re now one income and a new baby is on the way?!"  But, save we did.  We knew it was important to us not to have this money, meager as it was, immediately accessible.  We established a savings account at a local credit union, arranged for automatic transfers from my husband’s paycheck and let it happen.  Out of sight – kinda out of mind.  I admit that if it had been there for me to get at with a debit card, oh I would have.  But keeping it inconvenient to get made me rethink what constituted an emergency.

$25.00 per month turned into more as we paid down debt.  The more it grew, the more we were incentivized.  Now it’s with pride and relief to say that a healthy, reassuring financial cushion sits beneath us in the event we need it, instead of the bed of creditor nails we used to fall upon!  You can do it, too!  Strong, debt warrior, savings machine YOU!

Building up savings is important so you don't have to rely on credit in case of an emergency. If you need a little help like Carla and her husband did, LSS is here for you. Call us today for your free financial counseling session at 888.577.2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE.

Author Carla Melander is a DMP Specialist with LSS Financial Counseling.