Adulting Part 2 – Back to Basics

Hi There!

Last week, I shared some of my personal challenges transitioning to adulthood. Pretty sure I could write an entire book on this topic, so I wanted to continue the conversation. The feedback I received on last week’s post was really positive and I think it’s an important area of life to shed some light on. To catch up on last week’s blog, click here.

Over the years, since my late husband’s death, I’ve become aware of some major holes in my system (or lack thereof) for everyday living, aka: “Adulting.” For example, I was trying to run a business before I knew how to put together and follow through on a personal budget. My home life was pretty disorganized and yet I was trying to run an organized business. Mind you, by God’s grace and my passion I wasn’t a complete failure, but my lack of understanding and follow through on the basics left me feeling out of control and anxious much of the time.

I felt like the best first step was to tackle my finances. Even though I had already learned to track my personal and business expenses on spreadsheets, I had never before took the next steps, which are to create a budget and follow through on the budget. Numbers have never been my thing, so I avoided them by spending somewhat obliviously. Once I started tracking my spending, I found I was spending way more than I was making every month. Overspending was causing me to dip into my savings, which would have eventually lead to going broke if I didn’t take action and finally learn how to live within my means.

The first wake-up call was seeing how all the “little” expenses I wasn’t paying attention to were adding up to a major amount. I think I kept telling myself it wasn’t like I was buying expensive things, it was just eating out, going to Target, buying small things here and there…Can anyone relate? Recently, I met with some of my girlfriends for lunch, and when I brought up my financial challenges they openly shared some numbers from their personal budgets. Learning their numbers really put things into perspective for me, because when I heard my friend, who has a family of five, had the same grocery budget as my family of two, I accepted that learning to live within my means was going to be a rude awakening.

I knew I needed help. My parents are very successful business people, so I went to them first. My dad, who is a certified Dave Ramsey financial coach, met with me several times to attempt to help me grasp my finances. It was a good start, but in order to follow through on my budget I told him I needed consistent coaching and accountability. My parents graciously connected me with a local Dave Ramsey financial coach. With his support, I will learn how to successfully create and stick to a budget, locate the areas in which I can spend less, and build toward reaching my financial goals.

I’m a big believer in the phrase, When we know better, we do better. I’ve applied it to my life in the past, and I’m committed to applying it to my finances now. I know what the stakes are— it is of the utmost importance to me to create a stable, thriving foundation for my daughter, Ellie, and myself. I want to be an example for her; someone she feels proud of and on whom she can rely. It feels liberating to finally take control of this essential part of my life, and empowering to know I’m capable of turning things around.

The more I open up to others about this challenge, the more I realize I’m not the only one who struggles in this area. It’s OK to ask for help! I know Dave Ramsey has some great resources ( and if you know of other great financial resources, I’d love for you to share them in the Facebook comments or in the comments below.

Grateful for YOU and that you spent your valuable time with me today. Ellie and I are headed to San Diego next week for a little quality time with family, so I will resume posting the week after. I’m looking forward to connecting once we get back in town. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the week! Love and Blessings.

PS – Shout out to the Keller Williams Virginia/West Virginia Region! Ellie and I had such a blast with you all last week at your Cultural Summit. Thank you so much for the opportunity to come share our story and for all of your support with The Ellie Project! Ellie and I loved meeting y’all and getting to sign your books to your family and friends ☺ Y’all are such a blessing!

PPS – Need an extra dose of Courage? Check out my TEDx talk:

PPPS – Back in 2015 when I published The Ellie Project, a book Andrew wrote and illustrated during the the final months of his life for our then two-year-old daughter, Ellie, I had no idea the impact it would have on families all over the country. It’s sold over 6,000 plus copies, and continues to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who read it. Get your signed copy here.