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Finances. UGH! 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 on track with your finances. It’s difficult, yes, but not complicated.
When I was a young girl, I remember a lady in our church who always said this in her prayers: “Lord, lead us spiritually, physically, and financially.” I understood the first two, but the last one. Really? Does God care about our finances? Ya’ll, He does.
I talked about in this post about how I never wanted to go to college and all I ever wanted to do was be a wife and mama, one who is home with her kids. 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 be in a better place financially in order for that to become a reality. We had made a mess of our finances.
Our 2-year plan to get on track
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. It’s what Dave Ramsey would call “stupid tax.”
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. You know what? We paid 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 big one? 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 one.
- Checked out books from said 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. Guess what. 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.
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!