APPLICANT #11: Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt is a mother of a three from Bothell, Washington.

Here is Cathy's video application:

Here is Cathy's current situation:

"By day I’m the editor of a monthly community newspaper which gives me a chance to work creatively, write professionally and help ensure our family of five doesn’t starve on my husband’s teaching salary. By night (and the rest of my waking hours) I’m the mom of three teenagers – well, just about. My youngest is just about to turn 12 and is entering middle school this year. My oldest is 17 and will (gulp) graduate this year. And my middle child is 14 going on 20.

Believe it or not, I actually like this phase of parenting. I barely survived the infant years, with two of my three having colic (I never understood what people liked about babies until I had my third!), and endured the sheer exhaustion of the preschool years. Elementary school flew by with the typical ups and downs, but I truly feared the teenage years. In fact, on the eve of my daughter’s 13th birthday, I had a total emotional melt down. She saw me crying and said point blank, “You’re terrified to have a teenager, aren’t you?”

She was right. I think it was because I was a horrible teenager myself and I figured this would be payback time. But I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much I’m enjoying my kids being more independent, showing signs of the young adults they’re morphing into, and being able to have real conversations with them.

My dream is to inspire other women to make the most of whatever phase of parenting they’re in, find balance in their lives, enjoy the beauty this life has to offer and face challenges with courage, conviction and a sense of humor."

Here is Cathy's blog post:

"I came to the realization this week that my 17-year-old daughter is heading into her senior year in high school having spent her entire life in a home where we live paycheck to paycheck. We’re not irresponsible – just trying to survive as a family of five on a pretty typical American income. My husband is an elementary school teacher and I’m the editor of a community newspaper.

I don’t think our oldest, or her siblings, 13 and 11, have necessarily been harmed by growing up without a lot of extras, or having to wait until next payday to get a new pair of soccer cleats, but it would be nice to finish out our parenting years with a little extra at the end of each month – maybe even a savings account for when our daughter goes to college next year. What a novel idea!

Like most families, we’ve accumulated some debt over the years – nothing extravagant to show for it – but many emergencies, like car repairs (which we seem to have an unusual amount of), were paid for with borrowed money. We do our best to live on a budget, but something always seems to blow the budget.

Last year we took a 12-week class about getting out of debt, sticking to a budget and saving money for emergencies and major purchases. It was incredibly inspiring, but with no accountability, we haven’t followed through with the steps we were given. Life happened – in fact our minivan died (the third one we’ve owned that went to minivan heaven) and we had to purchase a used car this month. Definitely not on the back to school shopping list! The crisis could have been prevented if we’d had a savings account.

Inspired by Julie’s character in the movie “Julie and Julia,” (if you haven’t seen it, grab your girlfriends and go this weekend!) I’ve decided to blog our family’s journey of getting out of debt and moving beyond the paycheck to paycheck cycle for the next year. I plan to share, with all honesty, the struggles and successes of budgeting, saving, and paying off debt, which I’ve already decided the extra income from the Verity Mom contest would go directly towards!

Follow me on this journey through what will no doubt be a typical experience with all the ups and downs of family life, but will also offer hope and inspiration for others who want to gain financial freedom and start living differently.


The Verity Mom Team