Monday, September 14, 2009

A new beginning

I've always tried to be diligent with my money. Paying my bills, not using credit cards, and shopping at second-hand shops for most of our clothes, shoes, and household needs ... but I'm tired of how tight our budget is! When we got married it took Thom a few months to find a job. Money was tight. When we had Julia a few months later, money was tight. And now with Thom on layoff we are tightening our belts even more! But we're doing it! I'm proud of him and us!

Creditors aren't calling and banks aren't freezing our accounts ... I feel good about where we are. But I long to be in a better place. I'm very aware of the economic reality that there just aren't jobs. So I've been looking for ways to spend less and save money wherever we can. I recently started couponing and have been so thankful that others have invented the wheel in that department. But we need more! We had already begun talking about how to finance Christmas gifts this year because we know we won't have the cash.

On our "dates" (out and about beyond our city limits usually with Julia in tow) Thom and I go to the closest town with a large bookstore and spend an hour or two in separate corners perusing and reading random materials that seem interesting. On our last "date" I picked up a Dave Ramsey book, The Total Money Makeover, and skimmed through his step-by-step plan to financial freedom. Within 15 minutes I was on fire! Ready to sell everything we have in order to get us out of debt!

Compared to the "average" American we aren't doing too bad. But a car loan, a small personal loan, and our school loans still weigh us down. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's such a loooooong tunnel! Reading about Dave's plan and his virtual slap on my hand got me excited about leaving debt behind us for good. "Christmas is NOT an emergency." he wrote. "You need to budget for it." I was excited to have some hard truth jumping out of that book. And some real solutions for how to get out! I shared the excitement I had with Thom and suggested we start by selling his beloved 1968 VW Beetle ... he cringed ... perhaps not a smart way to pitch this life-changing course!

Just like our excess weight we keep saying "We need to do something!" Sitting in that big comfy chair in the middle of Books-a-Gazillion I found that something for our finances. I wanted to take the book home but we only had money for the trip out there and a coffee. So I jumped online as soon as I got home to get more details. Thom and I talked and he agreed that the Bug would have to go. It just makes sense. So he's in the process of getting it ready to sell and I'm mulling over the other things in our home that he might agree to get rid of. (Want to buy a wii? Maybe he won't notice!)

Fast forward a week from our date and we found ourselves in the local ReStore looking through various items when Thom pointed out a large sealed box full of Dave Ramsey materials. It didn't have a price on it but I put it in my cart immediately ... hoping ... praying ... it would be $10 or less. I already let Julia have a little toy and as I approached the cashier I held up the box and said, "Please tell me this is only $10!" She smiled and said, "That's exactly how much it is!" (Now I wish I had said $5) Regardless, I was thrilled! I just purchased a brand new (although dated) Financial Peace University Home Study Kit that would have cost me well over $200 brand new!! WOO HOO!!

So here's to the something that will change our lives, the HOPE of a better future, and the goal of being DEBT FREE! I plan to enjoy this ride! Join me?? He's not the answer, but he points you to Truth and challenges you to rethink the way you've been living. I don't think you'll regret it!


Maureen said...

Lots of good stuff in that book. Ken and I tried some of his tips and ideas...and we do some cash envelopes (mostly for my sake--he's much better with money than I!) I spend less on food than I used to, because I actually keep track of each purchase (what a concept, I know!) But when you're using the credit card, you don't think very much about what goes in the cart--and what you can do without that week, you know? I also paid for all of our school books out of my school envelope! It's a great feeling. Have fun!

Sue said...

I just LOVE Dave !! I am also working with "Gazzele intensity" to get out of debt.. live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.. Christmas this year is not much for me.. getting the bills paid is my gift... but when it is over.. the relief is going to be SO great.. SO I am with you on this journey.. let me know when you get there and I will do the same!! Love you!!!

Anonymous said...

CFC has been offering Dave's "Financial Peace" course for years. Colin and I took it and loved it. Now he is teaching it! Great principles! You go!! :) Ann