I immigrated from Russia to the United States with my parents when I was 9 years old. I was an only child, and our family was impoverished. During my junior year in high school, I applied for and obtained a part-time and summer entry-level job with In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco. I stayed with that company for 11 years and received 8 promotions. I thought I was a good money manager. I earned good money but always seemed to be living paycheck to paycheck. Every time I got a raise, I would have no money left at the end of each month. Year after year, I would see my salary increase but not my net worth. In fact, it was the opposite; I was in debt! I was exhausted from the never-ending cycle. I felt like a hamster on a wheel, running nonstop and not getting anywhere!
I got married in 2017. We both worked, but we were not getting ahead financially. In 2019, my wife and I decided to relocate from San Francisco to Cincinnati. I had to quit my job of 11 years. With no job lined up and having little savings, we were terrified. We had no idea what the future would hold or how we would make it. I took the first job I could get. It was in credit card collections. Making phone calls after phone calls asking people for money they did not have. That gave us a wake-up call. We knew that could be us if we did not get our financial act together.
My wife and I decided we needed a new strategy. First off, we got a financial coach. Our next step was to combine our finances. We decided to stop using credit cards and started to track every expense. We created a crystal-clear budget that we both agreed on. Once we stopped borrowing money and started tracking every expense, we felt a sense of ease. We were no longer worried or anxious about how we would pay for different expenses that would come up. We stick to our game plan, and that gives us financial freedom. We have no personal debt and substantial savings. It is such a good feeling!