Finance – For My Sistas with Plastic Problems

Me too sis! In my first post focused on finances, I shared that I had four goals. Then COVID-19 happened. I was hit financially harder than I could have imagined. Clients dropped out (even though business was already just barely moving forward), my side hustle had to end, and I couldn’t seem to land any money from Uncle Sam either. 

So here I am with :

  • Two Car Notes
  • A Mortgage
  • Private School tuition
  • 3 different points of credit balances 
  • Living expenses, like food, internet, gas, light, etc… 

And a single income! That brings me to my plastic problems. 

You know how they have all those games on social media where they ask… There is a zombie apocalypse, you have to flee your home, and you can only take your family and five items. What are you going to take? Well, I can tell you when a financial crisis hits, these are the kinds of games you could end up playing with your finances. 

My husband is still working, and for that, I’m grateful and scared. We have our essentials, but we can’t cover all of our debt. I would rather we all shelter in place, but that is a privilege that we don’t have. 

Credit puzzles me. My mom had the idea that to avoid credit problems, you just don’t use it. WRONG!

I had the mindset that credit wasn’t something that I could get because when I made less income and a lot more bills to pay just to live, I’d already been out of the running for a shot at getting even a credit card, much less a home one day. WRONG AGAIN! 

If we want to break the cycle of poverty and financial incompetence, we must be committed to learning about the systems and working them accordingly. 


There are so many things that impact your credit and things that should impact it but do not. According to my homies over at Nerdwallet, the most important factors are:

  • Payment history
  • Credit utilization
  • Length of credit history
  • Mix of credit types
  • Recent applications

And in that order!

I’m no expert, but I think that the most important thing is, to be honest with yourself. 

If you know that you are living above your means and using credit to support those choices, you have already set yourself up for failure. This is my biggest plastic problem. 

Between our streaming accounts, that pair of shoes that were too good to pass up, and my oh so important septum piercing that I gifted myself for my birthday, I had racked up a bill of $2,000. I spent it on more than those items, but I can assure you if the credit card didn’t exist, missing out on any of those things would not have killed me. 

My husband and I decided to live by the rule that we would only accumulate expenses that can be covered by one salary in the event of a disaster. I suppose we just allowed a bit of scope creep to invade that plan over the last five years because we got comfortable. 

Now we are very uncomfortable, and we have no idea how long we will be in this situation. 

The first step in achieving good credit is setting a budget beneath your means. 


Credit is just one of the ways we manage our finances. The root or the heart of the matter is about budgeting. If you have a budget, even if it is a tight one, you don’t risk your long term financial health by making decisions on the fly, all the time. A budget enables you to get comfortable living within the financial boundaries that will enable you to have financial freedom. 

Russian Roulette is a dangerous game to play with your life. It’s also a dangerous game to play with your finances. 


So far, we have been hunkered down since the end of February, and we’ve been able to manage our day-to-day needs and even the credit cards. We’ve made arrangements on things we can in order to stave off any unnecessary damage to our financial health, including our credit scores. 

So sis, I know it can be hard. I struggle to do this too but cut off anything that isn’t necessary. If you are already a single income person, ask yourself if you can afford this if you lost half of your income or more, especially if it’s a contractual obligation. Every little bit counts. 

I’m still looking to make some financial gains to get us back in a place that is more comfortable, but I will not slide on our standard of keeping our expenses low enough to live on one income. Sure, accomplishing things may take longer, but the peace of mind you get is worth the wait. 

I suck at this. I’d love to learn from you, Sis. What are some crafty ways you’ve managed your money? What are some budgeting tips, tools, or technology you use to keep your financial peace?