Mother Allison Baggerly adored spending (don’t we all?) — the former teacher revealing how she couldn’t help but purchase unnecessary items during weekly errand runs. That was until she and her husband (and fellow teacher) Matt, got pregnant with their first child, Evan.
“We were two teachers, and I thought that we would never really struggle with money even though we were living paycheck to paycheck,” says Baggerly. “But I always figured we’d be able to pay our bills. Then I realized that we didn’t have enough money left over to be able to pay for daycare for when our son was born.”
The pregnancy revealed itself to be a swift reality check and lit the fire under Baggerly and her husband to review their monthly finances.
“I felt a lot of guilt, a lot of shame,” Baggerly recalls. “I wondered how I made it to adulthood and didn’t know how to budget.”
Between both parties, the two boasted over $111,000 in debt and the monthly payments alone, coupled with mortgage and grocery expenses, totaled around $1,400 each month. And so the Baggerlys decided to create a budget and it was not exactly easy.
“It was awful. It was terrible,” Baggerly recalls. “Within a week, it was just completely unrealistic. We had this goal and this dream that we wanted to reach. So we cut out everything and lived so simply, which is great as an idea.”
But in actuality, it was a nightmare going from spending extreme to saving extreme was too steep a jump. “It was a shock to my system,” Baggerly explains.
Baggerly then decided to ensure it was next to impossible to look at their family budget.
“I would hang the budget on the fridge. I would look at it every day. I hung our debt payoff calculator in our master closet so I could see it,” Baggerly says. “I also took about 10 minutes every single day to check in on my finances. I would compare what my bank said with what I actually thought I had.”
Baggerly and her husband then decided to move to a smaller house to help save even more. In addition, they wrote off big family vacations and resisted the urge to purchase expensive furniture and home decorations.
And over time, Baggerly became a pro at the whole budgeting deal.
“I became an expert on our budget plan. I became an expert on my personal finances — mine are going to look different than anyone else’s. I would check in on my finances daily.”
In total, it took Baggerly and her husband a little over three years to pay off the family debt.
“When I wanted to get off track, I had a visual chart where I could see how far we have come.”
After finally becoming debt-free, Baggerly thought to herself that she would never want to think about budgeting ever again. But she quickly found herself unable to stop spreading her money-saving tips.
“I really just thought that this was going to be a season of my life, something that I was invested in. Once I reached my goal, we’ll be done,” Baggerly recalls. “But I couldn’t stop talking about budgeting. I couldn’t stop trying to inspire others, until one day my cousin basically told me, ‘Allison, you’ve talked about this so much, it’s time for you to take it to people who really need to hear it.'”
It was then that her business, Inspired Budget, an online personal finance management platform — came to fruition.
“I started Inspired Budget with the entire purpose to help women who felt stuck like I did and didn’t know where to go,” Baggerly says. “That’s what Inspired Budget does: I teach women how to budget, how to save money, and how to pay off debt so that way they can live their best financial lives.”
And three years later, the mother of two says business is booming.
“Starting Inspired Budget has allowed me to take the dreams that seemed silly, that seemed like I would never be able to achieve, and see them as a reality — as possible,” Baggerly shares.
To learn more about how you can work through the Inspired Budget, click here!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.