In January, Consumerism Commentary will begin the Naked With Cash event and series. Several Consumerism Commentary readers will share their financial reports and analyses at the beginning of each month, with insight from financial planners and other experts. To introduce each of the participants to readers, I asked them to share where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going, and to describe their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Meet Naked With Cash participant LastDollar. LastDollar is a 33-year-old entrepreneur. Here is her introduction.
I have been a single mom of two boys since 2007. The kids are currently elementary school age and due to learning differences, are in a private school that I pay tuition for. Public school did not work out and homeschooling is not an option because of my need to work to earn an income.
I’ve been self-employed for 10 years and have always gotten by and our needs have always been met, but not without several periods of really difficult financial times. We had about a year where we were just slightly ahead of living paycheck-to-paycheck, but income dropped unexpectedly, and as soon as we started falling behind on bills things quickly spiraled out of control.
I recently added a part time job at a radio station, but that requires I pay a babysitter and commuting expenses, so it is yet to be seen if it will make any difference financially.
I can cut back on all unnecessary spending when necessary and for long periods of time to help funnel more money toward debt repayments and living expenses. I’ve done it before and can do it again -– so I feel like this is a strength of mine since many people refuse to make those decisions even when they are struggling financially.
My financial weakness is the variable income I earn –- my business income tends to fluctuate and the income doesn’t always come in on the same day. Financial threats are eventually being unable to keep up with our living expenses (school tuition for two boys in a private school, our home mortgage and maintenance expenses, utilities, debt repayment). Also, I never seem to plan adequately for taxes and end up with a big tax bill when I file.
I own and operate an online freelance/contract type business on a few different websites online, which means I find clients that pay me to provide a service. I often struggle with having more work than I can reasonably do in the time frame, and have a business partner and several others working for me (as contract workers) to ensure all deadlines are met. There is no retirement or health insurance with this business.
I’m passionate about being a great mom to my boys and meeting their needs, which are a bit different from your “typical” kid. There are all kinds of financial needs as a single parent homeowner. I would also like to have more time to spend with them when I’m not also trying to juggle client work on the laptop at the kitchen table.
My long term goals are to reduce or eliminate debts and focus on passive income earning opportunities that don’t require a direct trade of my time to earn money long term.
As a single mom, I really don’t have all that much support from the other parent when it comes to raising the kids or actively participating in their lives. My family lives close, but they’re also not overly accommodating when it comes to needing a babysitter or some help once in a while and I’ve gotten to the point that I won’t ask unless it’s an absolute emergency because it is so uncomfortable when they make up excuses for why they can’t help out! So it’s just a constant battle between having enough time to work and earn the money we need to survive (and one day, thrive!) and also have the time to spend with my growing boys.
I’ve read Consumerism Commentary off and on for several years, but I bounce all over the place when I’m online!
Welcome LastDollar! Thank you for participating the Naked With Cash!
Updated December 27, 2012 and originally published December 22, 2012.