This 29-year-old woman went from broke and in debt to owner of a thriving business, and it all started with 6 simple budget cuts.
Courtesy Vee Weir
More than 12 million Americans are victims of domestic abuse each year, and while the effects of that trauma are often primarily emotional, domestic abuse also takes a financial toll. Vee Weir is numbered among these victims, but thankfully, her story has a happy ending. She broke free from an abusive relationship and went on to thrive, founding the popular personal finance site Vee Frugal Fox in the process. Taking control of her finances was an essential part of her success.
Finding the courage to make a change
Five years ago, Weir’s life looked a lot different than it does now. On the surface, her marriage appeared ideal. She and her (now ex) husband lived in a charming beach house in Wilmington, NC—she worked in marketing and he was a detention officer with the local sheriff’s office. But if you looked a little closer, you would find an exhausted woman who was struggling to survive physical, mental, and financial abuse.
Weir’s ex made three times as much money as she did, and he used that financial power to his advantage—blocking her access to joint accounts as he saw fit. It wasn’t until the day she didn’t have enough money to cover the anti-depressants she needed to function that Weir experienced her “aha” moment. She knew something had to change, and after discovering her abuser was also cheating on her, she found the strength to leave the toxic relationship.
Leaving her abusive marriage had a big financial impact on Weir. While married, her ex paid the monthly bills and Weir used her income to pay off $50,000 in debt (much of which her ex had accumulated). But at the time of separation, she had less than $1,000 to her name, and that was only because she had forgotten to add her ex to her bank account. Broke and feeling broken, she got a storage facility for her belongings and moved back into her old childhood bedroom, where she stayed for a few months.
Once she was a bit more financially stable, she moved into a reduced-rent room where her cousin was the landlord. “If it hadn’t been for my large support network,” Weir says, “I wouldn’t have been able to survive.” Newly single and going through a divorce, Weir led a financially responsible lifestyle. She continued with the small spending cuts she had started before separating from her ex. But she was able to fully commit to the process now that she no longer had a partner with different financial goals fighting against her.
Budget cut #1: Cable TV
The first spending cut Weir made was cutting the cord—the cable TV cord, that is. “Cable is extremely expensive,” says Weir, “and as more and more subscription apps become available, entertainment as a whole can quickly become a money pit. That’s why I cut cable and allowed myself one or two [streaming] apps.” She went from spending around $250 per month to just $12. (Eventually, she increased …….