Money, money, money, mon-ey! Mon-ey!

Money. It’s been called the root of all evil.

I don’t know if I agree with that, but what I do know is that it is high time I started showing some respect to my finances. Between May 2010 and April 2011, I stood by and watched as my income was cut in half not once, not twice, but THREE times as I went from project manager to insurance-agent-in-training to health club employee to barely working grad student. Yup, those 12 months really did a number on my finances. It wasn’t pretty. But, that was then and this is now!

And now, I’m taking ownership of my finances. First, starting in May 2011, I discontinued adding ANYTHING to my credit cards. For me, this was a big step. I was able to accomplish this by transferring from a slow Red Robin to an extremely busy Red Robin and working 34 hours a week. This allowed me to earn enough money to cover my debt payments, bills and basic living expenses.

I also set up a system for building a $1000 emergency fund. Recommended by both Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey, the $1000 emergency fund is the most basic of all emergency funds. According to Dave Ramsey, “This beginning emergency fund will keep life’s little Murphies from turning into new debt while you work off the old debt. If a real emergency happens, you can handle it with your emergency fund. No more borrowing. It’s time to break the cycle of debt!”

So, what I’m doing is putting half of all my Juice Plus and Red Robin paychecks into my emergency fund until it reaches $1000. Then, once my emergency fund is fully loaded, I’ll throw that half of my paycheck money at my debt. Keep in mind that I earn most of my money in tips, so my paychecks are no where NEAR a full-time position check. And the other half of my paychecks stay in my spending account for things like groceries, gas, and personal items.

(Also important to note, my husband and I keep completely separate finances. Always have. It works for us!)

I’m so excited to have started back in on taking ownership of my finances! It feels great to no longer be putting ANYTHING on my credit cards and to be paying down my debt every month!

How are you taking ownership of your finances?

About Sara

Sara Hefty (B.B.A. and H.H.C.) teaches workaholic women how to have it all and flourish without burning out, binging or being spiteful. As an expert in transformational health coaching, she holds women accountable for letting go of unwanted weight, being brilliantly nourished, grounded in truth and feeling confident, happy and playful every single day.

As a woman with her own weight loss story, wide-ranging family heritage of cancer, and a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Sara’s appreciation for convenient nutrient-dense food, personal growth, inspiring design, financial responsibility, and social entrepreneurship led to her “Pursuit of Ownership: Health, Home, and Legacy” model of heart-on-fire-hot empowered living.

Sara is the founder of PROJECT LUX and She currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with her husband Brian and hound-dog Raja.