June 4, 2008

Budget Living

It is no secret that we are on a budget. It is one of those things that we do not hide nor are we ashamed of. However, it is painfully difficult at times.

We tried for years to wipe out some of our debt, but it still seem to keep piling up. Our "system" never worked. But it basically boiled down to this simple fact...We were not living within our means. Our culture preaches "get all of the stuff now and pay for it later." We learned that this approach would only get us further into debt. So we are living off one principle...Live like no one else so later we can live like no one else.

Some people think we are a little coo coo. This would be because of how strict we are. For example, we have an envelope system. We pay for everything in cash...groceries, gas, eating out etc. And that cash is designated each pay period and when it is gone then tough, no swiping of the credit card. This was by no means an easy transformation. And it is still very difficult. It limits everything we do. We can not go out to nice dinners or go on shopping sprees unless there is cash designated for that purpose. But when you get down to it we have made serious progress. Let me explain.

We started this financial transformation in October 2006. We made a list of all of our debts from smallest to largest. And we began paying each one of them off one at a time starting with the smallest. In the 20 months that we have been on this plan, we have paid $50,401.40. I do not lie people unless Excel is lying to me. All of this after we lost my income AND started tithing on a month basis. God really has blessed us since we have started this process. Sometimes I do not feel blessed when I see a great pair of shoes or that fabulous handbag, and I know that I cannot buy them.

This is what I have come to believe...Proverbs 22:7 says, "The borrower is servant to the lender." There are those who think it is impossible to be debt free. I say those people have believed the lie that our culture is telling. We live in a culture that is constantly selling debt to those who simply will not live within their means. I am convinced that if I get rid of the debt NOW, in a few years I can buy the nice car, great wardrobe, the big house and all the bells and whistles that are out there. And it will all be paid for.

If you need more convincing, Dave Ramsey has everything you need. This is where we began our financial transformation. You can begin yours.