Finance Basics - My Story

I will be working on more blog posts that can help people make the decision to start their finances too ! This was hard for me to do. It was a lot of fun to write about it. So here it is !! 

My name is Christina and I am the founder and owner of Christina Loves Planning. This little dream was fueled by my passion for finance and budgeting. I am not a financial advisor but I am an experienced, motivated, and driven woman who loves to share my knowledge to guide other women to embark on their journey to financial stability. My goal is to remove the judgement and stigma when talking about money. I want other women to understand they are not alone and it’s not too late. You can get your finances in order and under control, all you need to do is start. I have created this guide to help you on your journey towards a more intentional and empowered relationship with money. In the following pages I’ll share my story and my system in hopes to continue to inspire you to make the changes that will allow you the life you have always dreamed of. Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard or dreadful. Ask yourself, are you motivated to take back control of your money? If you answered yes, let’s get started!

When I first started my budgeting journey I had no idea where to begin. I searched the internet for any videos or books I could get my hands on. I quickly became intrigued with sinking funds and cash envelopes, although I still didn’t completely understand what they were all about. I spent countless hours learning, reading, and watching, then I decided to give it a try. I was at a point in my life where I was living paycheck to paycheck, utilized payday loans, didn’t have a savings account, and much less an emergency fund. I knew things had to change but continued to wonder, how did I get here? Was it my upbringing? I quickly learned that there are a variety of factors that play into this and most of them you wouldn’t even consider! I want to share with you how I changed my money habits and establish an emergency fund of over $10,000.00 by using an expense tracker and cash envelopes. These two things, truly saved my life. Let’s dip into my past for a second.. Growing up I lived with my dad. I was 8 years old when my mother said I had to live with my dad. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t. My dad was strict with a strong work ethic. He taught me that work = money. Since I was the only child, I had what I needed. Every week we used to go to the record store and I would buy my Olivia Newton John album, it was fun. We would get tacos and go to our favorite restaurant. As I got older I remember asking “How do you know how to pay bills?” I was wondering how I would learn. He just said “You’ll learn when you get older.” I shrugged my shoulders and thought Ok. Moving on.. We lived in an apartment building and I remember my dad running in saying the building was on fire to grab my clothes. It was awful. I was so scared but we made it out safely. I stayed with my babysitter until my dad found another place. He found another apartment building which was great, I would have sleep overs every day after school and watch Happy Days and Grease. My dad then bought his first house. It was a multi-family home. He was a hard worker. We rented the upstairs to my uncle.

When I got to high school, he bought me a used car and I began to work. I got my first job at Six Flags when I was 14. Then Burger King. I graduated from high-school and went on to college. I went to a two year college and found out I was pregnant at 19. I had to get an apartment and pretty much do things myself. My kids father was young and he was not the most reliable. My daughter was born 3 months early, she was 26 weeks. I call her my miracle baby. So, through my 20's I basically lived a life of struggle. I lived paycheck to paycheck and didn’t have money to save. Things were so hard, but I refused to go to my dad and ask for help. If I left the house I was on my own. So I was. Years passed and I had my son, they are 3 years apart. My son’s father got caught up with the wrong crowd and was incarcerated for a while. I got remarried at 30 and had my youngest. I had a good job, new car, and I was able to buy my first home. Was I good with money yet? Nope. In fact, I only got deeper and deeper with spending and depression. It’s not something I want anyone to go through. I felt that my spending made me happy in the moment. It gave me a sense of fulfillment. I wanted my kids to have everything. I remodeled the house, added a pool, and a deck. My daughter had her princess room and every disney movie you could buy. I had credit card debit, payday loans to pay back and my relationship wasn’t the same. When your in a relationship you should be a team. I got a divorce and moved out on my own. I relocated to CT and started over. I was so happy. I found a new job working as a finance coordinator. I was independent, but I was still just living paycheck to paycheck. Get paid, pay bills, be broke. That’s when I said ENOUGH. The first thing I stopped using my cards. Then, I started to build an emergency fund. This quickly became so much fun, almost like a game. Everything I made, I would add to the emergency fund. I was able to save $1,000 and became addicted into saving that I just continued. I now had a new passion, MONEY. Independent + Free = Confidence I started to create sinking funds that pertained to me and my lifestyle. I started with Emergency, Christmas, Clothing, and Vacation. I was hooked! I started to learn about cash envelopes. This was a bit of a learning curve, believe me. I finally started to use them and was able to understand the concept. You set money aside for each envelope, when the money is gone, it’s gone. I started with Groceries, Household, Gas. I had a few times where I gave up, got frustrated, blamed someone else. But the lord just drew me back and said do it again. So I did. Using cash envelopes was amazing. I was able to stay under budget, I kept at this for years. I still had my emergency fund and it was growing.

I kept using my cash envelopes and then I learned of Instagram and started to share. At first I was very shy. I wouldn’t even talk. My pictures were awful, we all start somewhere, right? At this point, I was creating planner pouches, for the planner community. This I did for a few years but I wanted to really focus on inspiring woman to focus on their money like I did, so I created Christina Loves Planning. I wanted to find other people out there to share my journey with. I kept working and Instagram became my hobby. I was so proud of my new found fun. I kept reading books, learning and practicing my habits for myself. I learned what worked through trial and error. What I learned was do what works for YOU. As I continued using cash envelopes I shared with the budgeting community. I got better and better and had the opportunity to really invest in a business that I truly enjoyed. Fast forward to now, I quit my job in 2023 and I have a professional website to be able to give you all of the tools that have helped me succeed. You are in control of your destiny. You are in control of your finances. I am here to help.

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