7.12.2011

The Bottom Line

Before we head straight into the meat and potatoes of this post, I feel compelled to share a little secret with you...trying to figure out what to title my posts is something that I love and hate at the same time. When I find a title that I love, it's simply perfection. When it's days later and I'm still wondering what in the world the title has to do with the post, I hate it. A while back, Peter came up with (what I think is) the perfect book title. I will not be divulging it here as it's still a work in process, but I have to say that having a title that excites me is good motivation for finding a story to fit.

Okay, okay, that's enough rabbit trails. So what does this title mean? Well, let me give you a little background...



First of all, we have been hands-on, learn-from-our-mistakes money managers since before we were married. We made some doozy financial decisions in the beginning, but for the most part (by the grace of God and some parental generosity), we have been spared the horrors of credit card debt and overwhelming student loans. In fact, at the moment, the only debt we are holding are our two mortgages (one for our house, one for the PH), and I know that our two house payments combined are less than one monthly payment for other people - so we aren't complaining.

Even though our money management and financial decision-making has gotten better over the last 12+ years, we recognize that there is always room for improvement. When we lived overseas, our budget was tight with no financial pillow in case something went wrong. We learned about trusting God for everything and relying on Him to supply our daily bread. That was a good reminder and we never once went hungry.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" ~ Matthew 6:25 & 26 

Once we returned to life in America - land of Target clearance sales, Starbucks Coffee, and $3+/gal. gas - it wasn't too hard to lapse into some of our old money-mis-management ways. It was during the early days of trying to work out a new budget and come up with some kind of plan, that I stumbled upon blogs like Life as MOM and Money Saving Mom. Their posts about freebies and coupons and freezer cooking were super encouraging to me when I was trying to figure out how to be a better steward of what the Lord was giving us.


Let's skip ahead two-and-a-half years to present day. We are now a two income household with a primary residence and a secondary rental property. We have no children, no pets, we don't travel a lot and we haven't flown anywhere since we came back in August of 2008. We buy clearanced milk and eggs, we shop at the Grocery Outlet, and we grow produce in our backyard each summer. While we own two cars, they are both paid for and were purchased used (one is 7 years old, the other is 17). We support missionaries, we put money in savings each month, and we don't go to the movie theater because we can't stand the thought of paying $20 to see a movie we can rent for $1 in a few months. In short, compared to many in our country, we're downright frugal.

But here's the Bottom Line: We can do better. Since I got my job, we have allowed ourselves to slip. We're going out to eat more often because I don't feel like cooking when I get home late at night. We've been shopping a bit more than normal because the budget feels more relaxed. Instead of building that rainy-day cushion, we've been enjoying those rainy days at our local Dunkin' Donuts. $7 here, $36 there - it all starts to add up.
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

So we're back on the bandwagon. We're going all Dave Ramsey-Gazelle-Intense. We've set goals (paying off our house and saving 6 months of living expenses for those rainy days), we've gotten on the same page about spending, and we've already been faced with choices where we had to chose to stick with our goals over spending money on a unnecessary project.

It's not going to be easy and I know there are going to be times when we slip up, but I hope with new vision and both of us working towards a common goal, we'll be able to help keep each other in check when one of us weakens (which we're both guilty of doing). This all goes along with the idea of self-discipline applying in all areas of life (more about that in a future post).

So how about you? Do you have any financial goals that you've been working on, or something that you've dreamed about doing, but haven't taken the steps to actually make it happen? Want to join us? You don't have to be paying off a mortgage to play along - leave a comment telling us about your goals/dreams and then I'd like to invite you to a monthly check-up/accountability post where I give you an update about us and you can share your update as well. Any takers?

3 comments:

  1. This is really inspiring! Sounds like you guys work as a great team. Debt freedom is just around the corner, girl! Keep up the amazing work.

    (that was my VERY best absolutely sincere cheerleader impression, what'd ya think??)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We've run into the same kind of not-doing-badly-with-spending-but-could-do-better rut. We were really good about our budget when we first got married. But then we both started working more hours, we paid off medical school loans, and met a bunch of our other financial goals. And then we got sloppy. Same kind of things as you... eating out because I don't feel like cooking (WAY too much), Target runs (everything is so cheap until you get to the register and it all add up!). We are definitely in need of some new goals... We just aren't motivated without...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, we really can always do better. Nice post!

    I am enjoying your blog.

    ReplyDelete

There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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