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Finances. That word, along with the “b” word (budget, girls), can strike fear in our hearts. The truth is, though, that it’s not all that complicated to get control of your finances. It’s difficult, yes, but not complicated.
I’ve talked before about how I never wanted to go to college and all I ever wanted to do was be a wife and mama. I wanted to be able to stay home with my children. About ten years ago, God began the work to bring me home. Actually, I am sure the work began long before then. The challenging part began ten years ago, though, because we had to get control of our finances in order for that to become a reality.
Our 2-year plan to get control of our finances
When we decided that I would come home, we developed a 2-year plan. In two years, we would have all our debts paid except student loans and our mortgage, meaning credit cards (yes, multiple) and car loans.
Even then the math still didn’t quite add up, but we were willing to just trust that God knew what he was doing. I was coming home! For two years, we put all we could towards car loans and credit card debt. Amazingly, we were able to pay them all off!
Here’s how we did it & how you can, too!
- We changed our withholdings so that we had more money in our pockets each month (be careful with that one–be sure to do the math correctly or ask your tax person).
- We switched all of our deductions (like insurance) to Chris’s check. All that came out of mine was what was required.
- We lived off of Chris’s check, leaving mine to pay only debt, which means we started living like we had only one income well before we actually had only one income.
The biggest step in getting control of your finances?
We stopped spending money!
- Stopped eating out.
- Stopped swinging through the drive through for coffee or coke.
- Broke the Saturday shopping habit.
- Drank water.
- Took our lunch.
- Shopped our own closet or the local consignment shop.
- Checked out movies from the library instead of renting or buying.
- Checked out books from the library.
- Took a rain check on the vacation.
- Cut the cable.
Stick to the essentials. In order to get on track with your finances, you must stop spending. The truth is you can live on much less than you think you can. I promise. And rather than be worse for the wear, you will be so proud of your accomplishments on the other side.
Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” Start now living differently, and you will see the fruits of your labor!
If you need to get on track with your finances, remember little steps…one at a time. If you do everything all at once, you will burn out, but take it slow and gain momentum. Once you start gaining that momentum, the adrenaline kicks in and you want to shift into high gear! Commit to start, to stay the course, and rock this financial freedom thing!