Friday, June 05, 2009

Getting Out of Debt

Posted by Mandy at 12:59 PM
You cannot turn on the TV without hearing those four words today, can you? "Get Out of Debt!" Easier said than done, my friend!

Clayton and I have started on a long needed to be started journey called, "getting out of debt." Oh.. what fun! We have become Dave Ramsey psycho fans and are really excited about his "debt snowballing" plan. Simply put - you pay off your lowest balance of any debt you have first (be it credit card bills, car payment, medical bills, etc) and work your way up to the largest. In the process, you only pay the minimum payments on all other debt until you totally get rid of the cheapest balance.

So, we've been rolling quite well. We've managed to pay off three credit card bills in 2009 and are nicely kicking away at another. (why do we have so many? Bad choices a long time ago! Making up for it today, though!) We have finally gotten totally sick of giving credit card companies our money each month. When you really sit down and look at the checks you've written and exactly how much money you could be saving, investing, or giving INSTEAD of throwing them at never-ending credit card payments... well, it just becomes infuriating! So, we're determined to keep our money and do more Godly things with it in the future. Step one in doing that? Getting Out of Debt!

Paying off bills, in theory, is easy. You just do it. You buckle down, you don't do anything extra, you JUST pay off bills. No eating out, no vacations, no going and doing... just pay off that debt. As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else so that you can live like no one else." Meaning, live like a poverty stricken person today so that you can live an amazing life later! Love that saying - hate applying it.

So far we've been doing pretty darn well. Some weeks we are super strict and get really excited about saving money - a few weeks later we're tired of saving money and decide to go out to eat or I decide to buy the kids all new summer shoes that, in honesty, they really don't "need." This is a balance I can live with, though.

We've decided to stay in our house, even though we could technically "afford" to move, in order to do what's right and pay off debt. That is so hard... some days I am totally content and feel amazingly blessed. The next day I'm annoyed that we only have one bathroom and I just want to be able to pee without someone banging on the door to "HURRY before I pee my pants!!" Today, thankfully, I am feeling very thankful that my house has a/c and floors and I'm not living in the Sudan Desert in a tent with dirt at my feet. It's all relative, isn't it?

One thing that really has me motivated lately to pay off debt is simply how much having debt hinders our ability to give what we'd like to. Dave Ramsey had a show and talked about his company's "profit sharing" lunches. They would pick a spot to eat, pray that God would send a needy Waiter to their table, and leave a $400 tip. They can give because they have no debt. They can give because they save money rather than buy all the things they want. I want to be that person. I want to be able to bless someone like that!

I used to only want money to have more money. To have more stuff and better stuff. To show the world, "Hey, look what we were able to buy!" Now.. I am so changed. I still love shopping, I still love going and doing, and my flesh cries for those things from time to time - and every now and then - I let myself do it. But, now, God is putting a burden on my heart to help those that need it. That he wants to be helped. That my family COULD help if only we were wiser with the money he has blessed us with. HIS MONEY. His money that we are simply here to manage. I refuse to be a poor manager of Christ's money anymore.

I may need to start a "money savers support group" in the next few months to make it through... any takers? ;) God is going to do amazing works if we just remain faithful to his plan.. I KNOW IT. He sure needs to help me stay faithful to it though, and stop temping me with all of the new summer fashions....


Stacie on Friday, 05 June, 2009 said...

When James started working away from home, I immediately realized how hard working and basically living like a single mom for most of the month was. The first thing I did was work on paying off all of our debt so that I could quit my job and stay home with the kid (only one at that time.) It didn't exactly work that way because I quit my job before EVERYTHING was paid off. When we got to the point where our only bill was my car payment, AC came along. Now I have hospital bills out the wazoo, so sign me up for the support group!!! I never wanted to get back in debt, but now I have hospital bills to pay. I may need support, haha!

I totally understand how you feel about saving and then buying something not really needed. I also understand exactly how you feel about your house. On days I wish I had something more than what I have, I try to think of the people who have less and be thankful for what I have. When I see someone who has lots of "stuff" and a big house, I remember to be thankful that I don't have their bills :)

Ann on Saturday, 06 June, 2009 said...

Right there with you, my friend! Hang in there - I'm praying for you. Will you pray for us, too? Our challenge? It seems that every time we are doing really, really well, something out of the blue and HUGE shows up that strains our finances. The latest thing was discovering that our mortgage company (for a house we own in MS and haven't been able to sell yet) had undercharged us all last year on our escrow and now they're making up for it. They were going to raise our house payments $185 a month! Doug talked to them and got it down to a $115 a month increase. Things like that happen and it just discourages us. But, God is never surprised, and we remind ourselves that He desires for us to get out of debt, and He's going to help us do it. Anyway, thanks for the post and the encouragement. It's gonna happen! :-)

Jennifer on Saturday, 06 June, 2009 said...

I know exactly what you mean and I feel a lot like you do! I would love to be able to give to anyone who really needed it, but because of debt and, well, really not enough money to pay my bills each month, which in turn, leads to more debt, I can't do it! My goal is to find a better job, pay of my debts, and be able to give like I have in my heart to do! Thanks for writing this post. It really touched me today and makes me want to try harder. And actually, I would have enough to pay my bills every month if I did away with cable, internet and my cell phone, so I can't totally say its lack of income. A lot of it is just REALLY enjoying the internet and cable, that I have done without for a really long time in the past! Ok...I'm babbling now, but if you have some helpful advice about saving money or paying off debt, let me know! I need it!

Sun-Kissed Savages on Wednesday, 10 June, 2009 said...

Stick with it!! We went through the Dave Ramsey program almost a year ago. It is so stinkin' hard. The biggest hurdle for us was getting and keeping the money in savings. Our emergencies always took it away, and we'd have to start over at square one again.
We still don't have our savings built up, but we are now debt-free, save for the house. And we paid cash for the last vehicle. It is freeing.
I would like a savers group, though!! I tend to nickel-and-dime my money away.

Quiskaeya on Wednesday, 10 June, 2009 said...

I LOVE Dave Ramsey's principles on how to get out of debt! Good for you and your hubby - just doing it! It's the first step that's the hardest, but as you see the blessings God gives from your faithfulness in this journey you will be inspired to keep on keeping on. I really don't need to tell you this because you are reaping the benefits already. :)

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