Pep Talk: Ready to be Debt-Free

How can I get on track if I am always in the hole?

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I’m a 32-year-old mother of two and I’ve spent a great deal of time living paycheck to paycheck, but now I want to improve my credit and become financially responsible. I’ve cut down on spending, but my bank account is always overdrawn so bills go without payment. How can I get on track if I am always in the hole?

T. Jones

I’m glad you recognize your problem and want to change it. Initially, it will seem tough, but it’s well worth it. And there are lots of free resources to help you do it.

First, educate yourself on being proactive about your finances. The U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission was put together for the purpose of improving Americans’ financial literacy, so explore the Website for tips and advice.

Also, record your spending habits for one week. Once you see where the discretionary funds really end up, you’ll be confident in your decision to make adjustments. And we at Black Enterprise can’t stress this enough: You have to monitor your credit. Go to and request a copy. Speak to someone in your HR department about setting up direct deposit to a savings account. Start with a small increment and build from there. You won’t miss it–trust me. And seek out help from a financial adviser either through your bank or via a recommendation. If you need more help, read Girl, Get Your Credit Straight! by Glinda Bridgforth. Also, read “STOP Living Paycheck to Paycheck!” (March 2008).

Breaking the cycle starts with a more disciplined you and continues with the education of your children.

Tennille Robinson is the Motivation editor of Black Enterprise.

  • Ellisa Reed

    Hello, i read your article. I need help also in getting my credit straight. I am a mother of 2. I’m married, but I want my on identity as far as credit. Help the needy!

  • habika

    This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be witheveryone.==============================Debt Free Seattle

  • Tyrone Howard

    My wife and I made the decision that it would be in our best interest for her to resign from her job when she had our now 5 year old daughter. During this time she has received a BA in business management and completed her cosmetology licensing. We have been living off of my income for the past 6 years with a family of 5. A good resource for me when trying to “find” money to continue funding emergency funds, liquid savings (cash), investments and the cost of a mortgage free home renovation was Dave Ramseys “Total Money Makeover” . He simplifies the process of weath building and teaches the step-by-step process in freeing up our greatest financial asset, our salaries, by practicing the principles of debt free living. Check it out! You can probably find it at any library. It’s become the new “IN” thing in finances. Hope this helps as well!