What I’ve Learned About Money in 24 Months

July 12, 2009: The Hubby and I started on our journey to financial freedom with the purchase of Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover for $21.84 at Barnes & Noble.

July 12-16, 2009: We spent $22.88 eating out.

July 16, 2009: We invested $99 towards our future.

August 10, 2009: We took a leap of faith, trusted “the program”, and emptied Big’s “college savings” account (a whopping $1200 saved in 3 years.), started our $1000 Emergency Fund, and sent $605.65 to pay off our first Debt Snowball creditor (It was Big’s twin-sized bed. We bought her a $600+ mattress but only had $1200 for college. Awesome.)

There have been MANY “just trust the program” moments in the past 2 years, and all of which have brought us to where we are today. I wish I could tell you what it really felt like back in August 2009, as we prepared for the arrival of Middle that same month, to step out of our comfort zone and take a path less traveled, but I can’t. I was a different person back then, so even the blog we started to “keep us honest”, was probably started as a “woo-hoo… look what we can do!” report instead. It’s simply not in my motive anymore, thanks to the lessons I’ve learned and the Savior I’ve accepted.

Here are some of the gems I’ve found myself thinking about as we near our 2-year anniversary:

  • Sales will happen again. 75% off at Children’s Place is great, but 100% off of unnecessary clothing for my kids is an even better deal. No matter how cute it is. No matter.
  • The right time to tithe is NOW. I nearly cried the first time we wrote our first REAL tithe check (10%, off the top). Tithing for me is more about trust than anything else. I trust God will provide for my family even without that 10% for me to flitter away. We’ve been tithing since July 2010 and have only set our original goal Debt Free Date back by 3 months. TRUST.
  • There is no such thing as a “free vacation”. We went on a “free” vacation once, but still had to pay for things like ferry rides, bridge tolls, and extra gas, even though we were fed and sheltered by my in-laws. We went because we budgeted for it and were realistic about the added expenses.
  • Living on a zero-sum budget forces discipline. We just sent off every.last.penny (that wasn’t spent on our other expenses) to our debtors, so no, we can’t go out to dinner just because we feel like it. Middle hits her Big because she feels like it and *that’s* not ok. Neither is acting like a child with your money.
  • “Budget” is not a bad word. It’s given us more freedom, more money, more direction than ever before. Stop being scared.

Having gone through Financial Peace University three times now (a fourth starting in September!), I’ve heard many reasons excuses to not participate:

I don’t have $100 to spend.

How much did you spend in the past week, 2 weeks, or month on non-necessary items?

*insert day of FPU meeting here* isn’t that good for me.

There is an online option. It’s how we first completed the program.

My spouse doesn’t understand.

Then YOU go and work the program. One left turns a corner, but two lefts changes your direction completely. If it’s important to you, make them understand.

I don’t feel comfortable giving money to a church I don’t know.

You aren’t giving it to a church. You are giving it to Dave Ramsey for his wisdom. Trust me. $100 is a drop in the bucket when you think of it as your whole future, even if you only have that one drop in your bucket.

The beginning of the school year is a busy time for us.

Life with kids is busy. It’s always going to busy. It’s also always going to cost money. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some?

The holidays are a busy time for us.

Me too. But my family’s future is more important than an open bar at the office party.

I’m going away for Spring Break.

You can miss a class and still “graduate”.

I could pay $100 but my kid’s dance classes are more important and I can’t afford both.

Yes, they look darn cute in their tutu, but they kid will thank you for sending them to college debt free (it’s possible!), for not fighting with your spouse, and for setting an example for them that will carry them through their lives.

I’m not a Christian.

Yes, FPU is based on Christian principles, but it is common sense stuff. You don’t have to be a Christian to be smart.

What’s your reason excuse?





3 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Money in 24 Months

  1. Pingback: Hey, Spade! You’re a Spade! « My Daily Bread Crumbs

  2. Don’t know about that program, but what you are saying is common sense and if it takes a program to make this work for you, then great! You won’t be sorry (or anyone else that goes this route). My husband and I have always lived way below our means, worked hard, and saved. My son went to college on cash and had money left over to start his life with his lovely wife. We are now 56 and about to retire in a month. We have enough saved that we won’t run out given our lifestyle and we want for nothing. Starting early is the key. Congratulations!!

    • My in-laws planned early and are having a great retirement! They are wonderful examples of how life is when you have a plan 🙂 Congrats on your retirement and thanks for comin’ to the ol’ blog!

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