Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Financial Peace

Mark and I have dreams and goals for our lives and the lives of our kids.  There are certain things we want to accomplish or be a part of that we are unable to right now due to one little itsy bitsy word.


I wish that I could say that our level of debt is in direct relation to the size of the word, but it is more like this in our lives right now.


We have lived life like a lot if not most Americans.  We have bought what we could afford the payments on, not what we could afford.  

We decided a few months back that we need to get things on track and get out of debt. To help us do this, Mark & I have started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  We know both family and friends who have taken this course and we have seen the results.  We have also heard that this is not a quick fix (darn). 

We are in week 3 - since we have started, we have cut up all our credit cards (kind of a freeing and scary feeling at the same time), created a simple budget, and prayed for wisdom in our financial decisions from here on out. 

Also since we have started, I have never been more tempted to stop and get a latte on my way to work or go shopping for a cute pair of sandals for spring.  I look at my purse and think I should really get a new one becuase this one has a thread hanging from it.  I notice that there are all these great new eyeshadow colors in the make-up aisle at Walmart.  I think steaks on the grill sound great when before mac & cheese was fine by me. 

My immediate thought usually after all of these temptations is that I deserve it.  I deserve that coffee because I was up with the kids and I'm tired.  I deserve the shoes because they make me feel good about the way I look.  I deserve a new purse because a lot of my friends have purses for every outfit.  You get the picture.

Last week, in class Dave told a story of a single mom who stopped him after a conference.  She told him that she had created her budget, she was working 2 jobs to cover all the bills and although it was tight, she was making it.  Then one day on her way to bring the kids to daycare, it was pouring rain and she got a flat tire.  So she had to get out in the rain and change it, all the while being splashed by cars going by.  She got to work late because of this and got yelled at by her boss.  She had to work late to cover for being late and so she was late to pick up the kids from daycare and she got penalized for that.  On the way home, the kids were begging and pleading for "McDonald's, McDonald's, McDonald's!"  This mom, being tired and frustrated gave in because she felt she deserved a break after her horrible day.  So she pulled into the McDonald's drive through and bought some Happy Meals (with money marked for another expense) and went home.  This single mom told Dave, "That trip to McDonald's cost me $159 in bounced check fees."

Dave went on to say that we don't 'deserve' to treat ourselves when we are the ones to get ourselves into these messes.  By budgeting, you give all your money a name and if you don't have money for an area, whether its eating out, going to movies, buying new shoes or makeup, you don't do it!! 

Hard to shallow, but good for me to hear.  I still get tempted, but I keep thinking of the plans that we have and the plans that God has for us (Jeremiah 29:11-12) and it helps keep me motivated. 

So does one of Dave's famous phrases (paraphrased):

"Live now like no one else, so someday you can live like no one else!"

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