I have always been a money nerd, although at different stages of my life, I found myself in debt trying to keep my head above water. After graduating with an accounting degree, I had over $25,000 in student loan debt. Because of my commute to and from work, I purchased a more reliable car, which added additional monthly payments. My first real job after college was pretty decent. I worked as an auditor for a CPA firm, making $32,000 in south Florida. After taxes and insurances, my take-home pay was about $25,318 (2,110 per month).

So, let’s break this down a little: I paid rent ($650), student loan ($500), car note ($300), utilities ($200), gas ($100), food ($150), credit card minimum payment ($25) and whatever else was needed ($185). Needless to say, I was broke and struggling with how to get out of my financial rut. Relocating to north Florida was an answer to my prayers. My salary increased a little, but the cost of living was less expensive, which helped a lot. My rent reduced to $475 and the cost of commuting to and from dropped significantly, since I no longer drove an hour and fifteen minutes each way to work.

I knew I needed to make some adjustments if I wanted to not only take control of my finances, but also change the way my daughter looked at money in the future. Simply put, I needed to get my financial house in order if I wanted to leave a legacy for my daughter, which did not include a bunch of debt!

Now, I’ll admit that changing my relationship with money and making sound financial decisions was not a sprint. Rather, it was a marathon. It took me a long time to make the decisions I currently make with my money, so there was no way that there would be a quick-fix approach to getting my financial life together. I have made a number of mistakes over the years, both as a single mother and together with my husband as a married couple (which added another dynamic to this journey).

If you are thinking about purchasing a home in the near future and you are serious about climbing out of the debt hole before you make that investment, then let’s work together to get your financial house in order before purchasing your home.

My name is Margo Thomas and I am Your Budget Coach. I have earned a degree in Accounting from Valdosta State University. I worked within the accounting and banking industry for twenty years. Over the last twelve years, I managed over a million dollars in contracts and grant budgets. I am certified as a Life Coach with the Complementary Therapists Accredited Association (CTAA). I have always been the money coach with my friends and family – encouraging them to budget and save for what they want, as well as reduce their debt and increase their credit score. If you let me, I would like to share my experiences and the tools I use to get my finances in order with you.