Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gazelle Intensity!

Tonight was the "Dumping Debt" lesson at FPU. It's my favorite lesson at the moment because I need the constant reminder to get that gazelle-like intensity Dave describes.

I have to admit I'm really looking forward to the day that we can officially say we're debt-free. Of course with our student loans it will be a lot longer than I like to think but I'm focusing on the more realistic goal of credit card and car loan debt first.

It's less frightening - I don't want to ignore the student loan debt of course, but the thought of being stuck for 7 or so years on Baby Step 2 scares me. We need to consider starting in on our 3-6 month emergency fund (Baby Step 3) as soon as we get the CC and car paid off, at the same time we're working on our Student Loans.

One of Dave's recommendations for paying of debt is to sell stuff. What though? I mean, honestly, what do you sell? We don't have much we could sell. There is only one piece of furniture that really crosses my mind when I think of what we have. Ugh, it's frustrating because I know we have a ton of junk. There has got to be something, but I can't think of what I might be able to get enough cash to make it worth it. Selling off a ton of our possessions for a couple hundred bucks doesn't really seem worth it to me. A couple thousand? Now we're talking.

What would you sell if you were in our shoes? Do you have any suggestions or experience to share?

In this lesson Dave also quotes the verse in the Bible that tells you what to do if you wind up in debt. It's where the gazelle analogy comes from and isn't one that I was aware of before FPU. Definitely worth memorizing!

Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
                                                   Proverbs 6:4-5

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Budgeting.It doesn't have to be a 4 letter word...

Budgets. Do you do have a budget? I have to admit that we never had a budget before Dave. Even now we're still struggling well past the 90 mark Dave says it'll take to get in the groove. We have started using the cash envelope system as well. You can't really "do" Financial Peace without getting into the envelope system. It's definitely helped us keep our gas and grocery budget in line over the last few months. 

I think the hardest part about the budget is saying NO. The social stigma of it. You feel like your friends and family will think less of you if you say no. Over Christmas this year we didn't go crazy on gifts. I didn't actually say the word no to anyone except myself and if anyone felt like we were cheapskates over the holidays, I assume they're over it by now. 

Recently we had to say no to a lunch date with our house church. We weren't headed anywhere pricey but we were at the end of the month. All grocery/food money had been exhausted and we were just trying to stay out of the red. We had to say no. I felt guilty and a little embarrassed but then I just try to remember FPU. It isn't my money to throw away however I like. I am the steward, it is God's money and sometimes you just have to say NO.

How are you at saying NO? In our culture today everyone is YES YES YES ... I WANT I WANT I WANT. There really is little delayed gratification and I think that's what NO helps us with. Delaying the pleasure until we can truly afford it. That's important. We aren't helping ourselves when we spend money we don't have, when we rack more debt up on the credit card.

Budgets really have been a four-letter word to me until the past six-months. Now I see a budget as an opportunity or even a challenge to get better at staying within our set perimeters. An opportunity to tell our money where it goes. 

If you don't already, I challenge you to start making a budget. Start with good old pencil and paper & don't be discouraged the first few months. Like everything it takes time and practice.