Friday, January 1, 2010

Cashing In to 2010

Money can rob us of peace. But I love new starts. This year begins with blank account pages, clean checkbook records, and new boxes for receipts. Yesterday my friend Bridgette opened up about her journey to financial debt. Today is a great time for Part 2 of the story, how they moved to financial peace. Their experience is an inspiration as we all begin a new year. (See Part 1 here)


BUDGETS?

It took several months to come up with a budget that included all that they needed to include. They’ve changed formats and processes several times in their married life, but the method and spread sheet they’re using now are working well for them.

BUSINESSES?

At one point Bridgette started her own business to help pay for one of the biggest debts; she suggests that anyone who tries this route set up a separate checking account to track the business. “It holds you accountable not to spend more than you make!”

BILLS?

They moved to a cash envelope system for spending. She shares, “I know it sounds intimidating to limit yourself to spend just what is in an envelope, but really for us it was freeing. I never have to think about how much money we have already spent, or if we will have enough to make it to the end of the month. I just know that once the envelope is empty I am done spending in that area. Using cash keeps you accountable and does not allow you to spend more than you make.” They keep envelopes for: Groceries, Babysitting, Housing, Eating Out, and one envelope for our two year old (used to pay for diapers, but now clothes, birthday gifts, etc.) A debit card is reserved only for gas and other irregular, but planned, expenses.

BOOSTS?

For this couple the Dave Ramsey program really gave them the skills they needed, and listening to the Friday radio shows was an encouragement (people call in & scream, “WE’RE DEBT FREE!”).

BLESSINGS?

In February 2009 they had been on the new stewardship journey for about 4 yrs and announced they (except for the house) are debt free!! When they got pregnant with their son they decided to live on just hubby’s salary, but they saved up a 5-6 month emergency fund. They left that in place after their son was born and accomplished $ Baby Steps 2 and 3 at the same time (pay off debts and save up 3-6 months of expenses).



Listen to the perspective this debt free gal shares now, “We consider this emergency fund to be ‘God’s emergency fund’ and we hope to have the opportunity to use it to glorify Him in the future.” Since bringing their finances under God’s control, they know where each dollar goes and can do more with what they are given, such as:

  • Support missionaries above their tithe
  • Save for retirement
  • Save for a replacement car when needed
  • Strategize ahead for their family

“We feel like giving away money to further the kingdom is something God has called and equipped us to do.”

As she reflects on their financial journey, she shares a few final words: “I think one of the things that Christians can be tempted to do is to stop tithing while you are getting out of debt … trust God during that time and know that even though you think it will take you longer because you are “missing” that income, God will bless your decision to trust him with your finances. If anyone needs more information on Dave Ramsey I would send them to his website: daveramsey.com

Thanks so much to Bridgette for sharing her story! You can get to know them better at her blog "The Boudreauxs" and find out how you can pray with them for some special needs in upcoming months.

A couple of other great resources to explore:

It’s a new year, and God surely wants to meet our needs.He will give us resources to manage for His glory. Let’s put our money under His control so we are financially free and experiencing financial peace in this new year.

Can you relate? Do you have a financial victory to share? A burden for prayer? Or a resource that should be shouted? Feel free to click "comment" below to let others know, to add to the inspiration, and to find partnership with others like us who are praying about how we use our pennies.

3 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Thank you so much for her story. I am so thankful that I grew up in a home where my mom spent money wisely and knew how to find deals and make the money grow by being thrifty. It has benefited me GREATLY as an adult!

We must remember that we are teaching the next generation by our spending habits!

Great post!
Courtney
www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com

namartinez0503 said...

During 2009 I went through many trials due to my being unemployed for 13 months. These are the things that God taught me during this time: 1. Do not use credit to live on (this was my mistake which created much more stress that could've been avoided). 2. Cut WAY back - take care of your four walls (food, shelter, utilities, transportation), the other things will have to wait and as long as you communicate, your creditors will understand (go to daveramsey.com for more helpful advice) 3.Speaking of communication... don't shut down. If you are married, talk to your spouse (my dear husband was so compassionate)... trials have a way of bringing you closer; if you're single, find a friend that you can talk to (I am married but I also found a wonderful email/pray partner friend in Julie). 4. Give God a chance "to supply all your needs according to His riches and glory through Christ Jesus"! Out of fear I didn't give God a chance to take care of my family. 5. Do you serve other gods? I didn't think I did but came to realize that having a "perfect" credit score was a god to me. You don't need a credit score if you are not living outside of your means. 6. The Bible says you can not serve two masters... I would never do that! Yet I found out that the more debt I accumulated the more of a servent (or slave if you will) I became to my creditors. 7. CONTROL... a biggy for me. We can't control everything that happens. I've learned to rest in that fact. Release what you can't control. Give it to God and He will walk with you through the journey. I hope this helps someone out there to be able to avoid the trap that I fell into when I became unemployed - Julie you may share this if you would like. God has blessed me with two parttime jobs in my field within the last two months. We have a lot of financial recovery to deal with... but I know Who holds my hand and my tomorrow. Blessings, Nancy

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Courtney, what a sweet testimony of your mom's example in your life. That IS a blessing, and I hope we will be that for our girls as they watch and learn and grow.

Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your journey and for your willingness to share it. You gave some real gems of truth in what you wrote. It's so obvious that the Lord has led you through the experience and been so honored in the outcome. I LOVE your 7 lessons that you wrote, and I will share them. Others will be so encouraged to hear how God brought you through this valley victoriously. Yay! So appreciate your tender heart that seeks Him and cares for others. You have been a sweet aroma to Him and to me!