It's hard to believe, but it was five years ago this month that my family and I were essentially homeless.

A series of events happened which led to us being without a home. First, a deposit at our bank didn't get credited, which led to several checks bouncing. Of course, the bank then charged my account overdraft fees, which compounded the problem. My wife began paying our rent (she paid all of the bills back then) with money orders, to avoid any further overdrafts. We did this for about six months.

Then, one day, we got a call from our apartment complex's management company. They told us they had not received a rent payment for six months. We told them yes we did pay our rent. We mailed our money orders on the first of each month like clockwork. The management company, located in another state, said they had no record of payments and that we should locate our money order receipts.

Unfortunately, while cleaning our apartment, somebody in my family (we don't know who) threw them all away, along with a bunch of other financial documents. We had no proof that we paid our rent. Our landlords filed papers to have us evicted, unless we could come up with several thousand dollars. Having no emergency fund to fall back on, we couldn't.

At about the same time my employer was bought out by a new company. The manager of the new company asked me to do several tasks and jobs for him before his company took over. At this point, I didn't even know if the new company was going to keep me on after they took over. So I asked. There was a pause. "Never mind, we'll find someone else to do it," he said. I began looking for a new job.

A couple of weeks later, my wife had severe pains in her abdomen. I rushed her to the hospital. After a few tests, she was scheduled for emergency surgery. She had a cyst on one of her ovaries that threatened to burst. If it did, she could bleed to death. She had to have a total hysterectomy. My sons and I sat in the waiting room for hours, until finally the surgeon came out and said the operation went well, but it was a very close call for my wife. The ovary burst as they removed it. She would need to be hospitalized for a few days.

Tired and depressed, I went back to my apartment, where I found an eviction notice waiting for me. I had 30 days to move out. I then checked the messages on my phone. There was a voice mail from my new boss notifying me I had been fired. He was bringing in his own people. I had no job, no home, my wife was in the hospital and soon my family would have no health insurance, either. This was easily the lowest moment of my life.

It was at that moment that I made a decision. I could either let these challenges defeat me, or I could take control of my life and control my own destiny. No longer would I go through life spending every dime in my paycheck. No longer would I let myself be in the dark about my family's finances. No longer would I let my family go through life with no safety net. It was time to make drastic changes and they had to be made immediately.

(Read Part 2 of "Why I Chose a Life of Savvy Frugality" tomorrow)

2 comments

  1. Zahir // December 12, 2008 at 1:21 AM  

    Where's the part 2? I can't find it.

  2. SavvyFrugality // December 14, 2008 at 12:46 PM  

    Hi Zahir,

    Go to the menu of past posts on the right hand side of the blog, and click on the drop-down menu for 2007. Then go to the drop-down menu for the month of December. You will find Parts Two and Three there.

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