We spent Christmas of 2009 in an old ranch house in the Texas Hill Country that belonged to a friend of the family. It was delightfully cold outside, but inside we had a crackly fire going and the owner of the house had put up a white tree for the season. It was a small house, but there were only three of us: my husband, our 11 year old daughter, and myself.
That Christmas was the first time in over a year that we had spent time together, and we used it as a chance for us all to reboot. In early November, my husband's business had failed. He had been working long days and late nights for months trying to stay afloat, and everything had suffered. Our marriage was a mess, our daughter had grown resentful of her dad, and our finances were a mess. We were deeply in debt and were facing bankruptcy, but there was good news as well. My husband had a new job in the industry he had left two years earlier. My job was going well. We still owned our home, and we were committed to digging ourselves out of the hole we had created.
So that Christmas, we opened up a few gifts that I had picked up at the Dollar Store, then we sat around the old dining table and planned out our recovery.
I'm now starting this journal five years later as a celebration of what we did right, an exploration of what we did wrong, and hopefully, some advice along the way that might help one or two of you make your own decisions. And I'll drive home one little factoid that I hope you'll find encouraging: as we were balancing our 2014 accounts, we found that our net worth is now at US$750,000.
So now I've introduced myself. Nice to meet you!
Why did I call this the Money Dummy? Because the Fool was already taken, and I want to drive home one fundamental point about managing your money: you don't have to be smart. You don't have to be good with numbers, you don't have to have great willpower. You don't even necessarily have to be very frugal. You just have to have a system.
I'll probably post a lot these first couple of weeks because I have a lot to say, but as time goes on I'll cut it down to weekly or even monthly. After all, I'm not a writer, or a blogger. I'm just your average dummy.