The end and a welcomed beginning


Growth (Photo credit: amchu)

We finished our last Financial Peace University class a couple of weeks ago. I am slowly realizing that this is not just a nine week class but a complete mind shift and lifestyle change. Yesterday, I literally threw a little hissy fit because I wanted a new pair of jeans. My husband held fast and let me throw a fit.  “It is 50% off and free shipping,” I whined. He level headedly said, “There will be other sales.”  I eventually said “oh well” I am not getting a new pair of jeans. In full disclosure, I did pout for a while after that realization.

We just got a tax bill that is making us stop our debt snowball and savings. We have to quickly save up so we can pay our tax bill by April 15.  We thought we were going to get money back from our taxes, but it ain’t so. This is where the rubber meets the road and where we put to test the lessons learned in FPU. It hurts…I don’t like it and I want to throw another fit! Honestly though if we would have received a tax bill last year I would have put it on a credit card and not even think about how long it would take us to pay it off and how much it would cost us in the end. So, I am starting to think differently about money. As painful as it might be and resistant as I am my behaviors are changing too. I think the end of the class marks the beginning of a new era and growth in our lives….financial prudence.


Slowly does it every time

The Tortoise and the Hare - Project Gutenberg ...

The Tortoise and the Hare – Project Gutenberg etext 19994 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past two weeks I have gotten a little discouraged about the progress we are making financially. It just seems like this financial freedom is going to take a long time. I think we have been doing a budget for 8 weeks now. Yes, I do feel better, but when I look ahead getting out of debt seems a long way off. In one of our most recent lessons in Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey mentioned Aesop’s Fable about the tortoise and the hare and reminded us that “slow and steady wins the race.” I really needed to be reminded that this is going to take patience. 

Unfortunately, I am not the most patient person. I don’t think I am the only person that lacks patience, because our society is totally about immediate gratification. I need to keep in mind that I need to “live like no one else now, so that later I can live like no one else.” It takes patience. 

In Luke 8, Jesus tells a parable where the sower scattered seeds which fell on many different types of ground. Some of the seeds fell on the path, others on rocky ground, others among thorns, and some on good soil.  The type of ground they landed on influenced their growth. When I apply that parable to my own life I can see how the different areas of my life have produced growth, change quickly, or don’t even grow. But sometimes the changes wither and die because they weren’t planted in the right soil. I can really see this principle in my financial life. I have thrown my money on things that won’t produce anything, but will be destroyed by moth and rust. I know my husband is worried about this financial change withering and dying….but I assure him that the freedom I feel now is my motivator to slowly plod forward.

Luke 8:15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” What kind of crop will I produce?

I can even apply patience and perseverance to my overall health, which maybe I will be brave enough to post about my weight loss journey one day…

What are areas in your life where you need to develop more patience and perseverance?

The Very Scary World of Insurance


Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

We just finished our 5th Financial Peace University class the other night on insurance, and I read the chapter in Dave Ramsey‘s book about insurance. I know there are some areas where we aren’t protected, but boy I didn’t realize how clueless I am about insurance. You know how it is always said about protecting yourself from a rainy day? Well, I thought our family was pretty protected, but I was wrong.After the class I ran home and got identity theft protection, because that was the easiest thing for me to understand. Dave Ramsey recommended getting a company that does more than monitors your credt, because honestly I can do that myself. It is the many hours of having to clean up the mess of someone stealing my identity that I want to avoid (because remember I don’t have much time:).

Another area that was covered in the class was life insurance. This is the area I thought we had covered, but I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time. I thought well isn’t more better? So, I think we have it covering too long of a time period and are paying too much. We did do a few things right. We got term insurance but we got it for 30 years and by that time we should have enough wealth built and debt will all be paid off that we won’t need it. So to get our monthly payments down we could get 20 year term life insurance. I still need to follow-up on this area.

Long term disability insurance is something I know we should probably get, but I just didn’t know where to look or begin. I am still looking and researching the options. We did use the Endorsed Local Provider that Dave Ramsey recommended, but I haven’t heard back from them yet. I also looked at Zander Insurance, another recommendation from Dave Ramsey, but I want to shop around before we make a decision.

I heard Dave Ramsey’s radio program for the first time the other day and he advertised for buying gold and silver, but in his books he talks about not investing in gold/silver because they are not a good return on your money. That was the moment I stepped back and stopping sipping the Kool-Aid (my husband says I am becoming a cult follower of Dave Ramsey) and realized, “Hey Dave is trying to make money too, so I better shop around!”

Now to auto insurance (if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, you are right with me) which is another area I thought we had it right. Well, once again not so much. I need to check to see if we have a high deductible (because we have now finished step 1: $1,000 of savings in the bank!) to keep our premium down. So, I called and figured out that we had $50,000 coverage for collision coverage. So it real life terms, if we caused a five care pile-up our insurance would only cover $50,000 of the damages and we would be responsible for the rest!!!! So, to say the least I pumped our coverage to $500,000. You would think the monthly premium would have skyrocketed…nope not true. After we raised our deductible to $1,000 and $500,000 liability our monthly premium actually stayed the same!!!

Next week I need to purchase an umbrella policy. Our insurance company said it would be about $19 a month. So, bottom line with an umbrella policy is if you get sued for more than you are covered the umbrella protects your personal assets (at least that is what I understand).

Hopefully this post will help you navigate through the scary world of insurance 🙂 We are still trying to navigate this scary world too !

Changing our financial habits

For those of you who know me, I have had a “slight” shopping problem in the past. You might be wondering how long ago am I talking? Well just five short weeks ago I was charging things on credit like my life depended on it. Also, to many people’s surprise I have not used a credit card in those 5 weeks. Daringly, I cut up my credit cards during a Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey) class two weeks ago. Dave Ramsey talks about being a gazelle and out running the lion (debt) because your life depends on your speed. I feel so fast and liberated! I am not scared of the lion anymore. I don’t worry if we are going to have enough money at the end of the week or worry about what might be coming out of the bank. Wes and I actually sat down and did a budget! Now we know where every dollar we earn is going. For those of you who have been doing budgets, you are part of a secret world I didn’t know existed. In Proverbs 19:14 it states “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” My poor husband had a shopaholic wife (I am still in recovery), with whom he had to contend. Let me tell you I could wear him down by convincing him of things like getting a 0% interest credit card is a good idea (five of those cards later it is not such a good idea). I am praying that God continues to transform me into a financially prudent wife.

Dave Ramsey says…yes I am one of those people that does name dropping to reinforce what I say….that making a budget is crucial to getting your finances in order. We actually will take out cash for certain items in our budget and use that money until we spend it for that week. For those that think this is archaic, it is. Society has convinced us that credit and debt are just a fact of life. THEY ARE WRONG! We can choose for debt to be our life or we can choose to take control of our finances. In Proverbs 22:7 it says “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” I have totally fallen for the debt trap and unfortunately I pulled my husband down too (He just said he is not totally guilt free). I no longer want to be a slave to my debtors…I am ready to break free!

So far below are the changes we have made financially:
1. I am no longer getting my hair enhanced (colored;). Savings of over $600 a year
2. We are no longer buying plastic bottles of water. Savings of over $200 a year
3. Wes is allowing me to cut his hair (haven’t had too many mistakes). Savings of over $700 a year
4. We stopped buying coffee and started making it at home. Savings of over $780 a year
5. We have budgeted spending money, so we know where our money is going.
6. We started actually saving money.
7. We started doing a debt snowball, where we focus on the smallest debt and pay it off fast. Then we apply that payment to the next debt and work our way down the long list.
8. We decreased eating out and stay in our budget.