Friday, January 27, 2012

A Few Things On My Mind About Finances

You know you use your debit card too much when you get excited to see this:

There are no current day transactions pending.

Josh and I are trying NOT to use it, trying to spend less and be more disciplined. You may recall, we are fans of Dave Ramsey, reading his Total Money Makeover and attending an FPU class a few years ago. We are very close to being debt free, with the exception of our mortgage, and it's a great feeling...might just pay off that student loan this year!


We still tend to spend money on little things. Or random trips to the store that aren't necessary. Or trips to McDonald's that shouldn't be. Each day when I che
ck our account, it seemed like there was ALWAYS something pending, from a $15 trip to the store (for something we probably could have waited for or maybe even something we didn't need) to eating out somewhere.

This past week we started a financial study with our small group. I was not really all that excited about the idea since we felt like we had all the knowledge we could possibly need! But it did open up communication again between me and Josh about our budgeting, and I didn't realize how different we are. I THOUGHT WE HAD THAT FIGURED OUT! Even after all this time, even after all the Dave stuff, I didn't know that I had a different idea of budgeting than he did.

And it's pretty clear cut. I am simple. He is not. Ha!

For example, I might as well have just a Walmart section on my excel sheet, because I am not prone to care if I throw in a package of socks for Caleb with my groceries. I mean, am I ever going to be so particular that when I go grocery shopping and throw in dish washing liquid in the cart that I'll go and document that out of $100 I spent, $2 of it was not groceries?

But some people do.

So between a heated discussion about that and a heated discussion about using debit cards vs. going to an envelope system (which I don't want to do) we have our work cut out for us!

The one thing I am loving about this financial study is how the book that goes along with it puts so much emphasis on scripture. Dave Ramsey includes some, but this one is way heavier on it. And one of the quotes that has stood out to me so far is...
"We are charged to be faithful in handling 100 percent, not just 10 percent. Unfortunately, many churches have concentrated only on teaching how to handle 10 percent of our income - the area of giving. Although this area is crucial, we have allowed Christians to learn how to handle the other 90 percent from the world's perspective, not from our Lord's perspective."
While I don't agree about 10 percent being the only amount of giving (the book actually addresses this, too...I wrote more about it here and I couldn't believe that one of my concepts was stated almost word for word in the book...maybe I was
onto something) I do agree that all this effort to become debt free for some has become their mission, and they often lose sight of what God has in mind for their money outside of their giving to church, ministries, and charity. What do I do with the rest? Is what I'm doing with the rest pleasing to God? Am I striving to be debt free so I can bless others with my money or so I can do whatever I want with my money?

Half of the couples in our small group did not have a written budget. The rest of us are taking them under our wings and showing them how we've done it. I wish I was more of an expert! But it's ok, we do have one woman who is a very big nerd when it comes to budgeting! :) She will be a big help. What I can share is how freeing it is to h
ave no payments - no car payment, no credit card payment, no Lowe's or JC Penney or Dell payment. What it was like to take an anniversary cruise and pay for it all with our own money, no credit. Having an emergency fund for emergencies rather than depending on a credit card for an emergency. Living on one income and feeling great about it. Things like that are our story.

And I hope our story in the future is...we use our debit card WAY LESS, we became more disciplined, and I broke my McDonald's habit! :)


Jamie said...

Ooo, what book is that? We've been through the FPU stuff, but are still struggling getting the finances under control. Thanks for sharing this with us! It's good to know we're not the only ones in this boat.

Chrissy said...

Dave is a great way to start. I'm glad we did his study first. The study we're doing now is through Crown Financial Ministries, and I linked to it in the post. It's just what I needed right now to put our focus more on a Godly perspective.

Shelley said...

I have debit card issues its to easy to use it and then end of the week when you check the account and see tons of small charges I go really what did I need that many times.
Good luck with that McDonald's habit I'd like to kick my fountain soda habit.

Causey Fam said...

Our story began with Dave, too. First by paying off our son's hospital bill, then our white van, then school loans (all within a few months of each other). Then progressed to giving more and building our emergency fund, which we had to use some of recently when our van needed immediate replacing. So we still don't have vehicle payments and by paying cash and allowing the Lord to lead us to the right car lot we were able to strike a nice deal. A few months ago, we were faced with a couple heavy financial situations (one being the vehicle hunt). Even to the point that it was painful to write the tithe check, but God reminded me that HE was the one that had given us what we had, HE was the one in charge of the timing of everything, and HE would take care of us. Lesson learned: Be open to how God would have you use your wise and wait on Him!

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