Tag Archives: debt snowball

Three Things I Learned by Paying off My Car

22 Feb

20140222-211941.jpgI did it! I paid off my car! I’m so happy. It’s one of my proudest achievements. I put it above quitting smoking and graduating college!

So, what did I learn while paying on my car?

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I’m Back! Did You Miss Me?

7 Dec


Wow! It’s been WEEKS since my last post.  I don’t even have a good excuse.  I’m just going to cover the latest events in my life as succinctly as possible.  Ready???

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Living One Day at a Time

20 Jul

dayI am currently involved in Celebrate Recovery, which is a twelve-step recovery program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step program. One of the elements of the recovery prayer is “living one day at a time.” I never really understood what that meant until I entered a recovery program myself.

My choice to enter this recovery program is based mostly on emotional issues I have that tend to permeate and invade most of my relationships.

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Peace During the Furlough

16 Jun


No fancy title this week. In just a few weeks, the federal government furlough begins. If you’re not sure what that means, I (along with around 650,000 others) will lose a day of pay a week. I won’t provide exact dollar amounts, but it will equal around a 20% reduction in pay until the end of this fiscal year.

Now, this is not an ideal situation for me (or anyone, really, but this is my blog, after all!). I decided a few weeks ago to put my debt snowball on hold and save up some money. I’ve actually been able to set aside some money that I plan to let sit there until an emergency occurs. My prayer is that I don’t need to – or want to – touch that money. If that’s the case, I will take the whole amount and apply it to my car loan after the furlough ends.

What is probably most interesting to me is the amount I’ve been living on over these last few months. Because I’ve been attacking my debt, I’ve become accustomed to living on a certain amount each month. I realized that the amount I’ve been living on is the amount I will be living on when the furlough begins. I’m so excited to know that God has been preparing me for this, really without my knowledge. How cool is He?

God really does care about what matters to us. Financial peace is not a little thing, and He has used these last few months to prepare me. A desire of my heart is to have financial peace. I’m taking strides to that path every day. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

God knew I wanted financial peace, and He has provided it to me. My continued prayer is that I will learn how to spend/save in accordance with His kingdom. I want to be obedient to His calling. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to bless someone when He asks me to.

How do you prepare for expected financial cutbacks? How do you find peace during unexpected obstacles?

It will Get Messy

23 May

messy-deskLife will get messy, and I’m sure I’m preaching  to the choir here. It can be perfectly neat for a while, but rest assured, something will change. You may find a new job, or you might get a new boss.  A family member may get sick, or you may lose someone close to you. Perhaps a move is required, or maybe you’ll go to a new church.  A marriage might begin or end, or a child might graduate. A variety of things can come along that will inevitably cause a mess.

But there’s a way to handle the mess. Sometimes, you just have to clean up one mess at a time. It’s certainly easier but not always feasible. When it’s possible, I always prefer to clean up my messes at home one at a time. Dave Ramsey recommends that with his debt snowball. Pay on all your debts, but focus all your extra money on one debt, and then move on to the next. When I clean my house, I tend to start in one room at a time and work my way out. When it’s possible, this is the best method of cleanup.

It doesn’t always work this way, though. Sometimes several messes occur at once. If you have children, you know exactly what I mean. How do you clean up a mess that just never seems to go away? Well, the first option is to remove the source of the mess so that it can’t continue to pile on the mess. That’s why Dave recommends cutting up the credit cards. You can’t clean up a mess until you quit contributing to the mess.

I’m notorious for adding onto a mess. I can take a problem and magnify it in my head until I make it larger than life. I’m aware that I do it. I just don’t know how to quit adding to the mess right now.  However, I am in the process of going through Celebrate Recovery right now. I believe it’s one of the best ways to stop piling up the garbage. I will continue to update you as I work through this program. It won’t be easy, but it will be fruitful.

Another way to clean up multiple messes is to ask for help. Wives, if you’re struggling with getting your housework done, ask the kids or your husband to help you. If your finances are a mess, find an accountability partner to help you or work with your spouse to tackle the problem. If your life feels messy right now, get your friends and family to help you. Join a Bible study or find a close group of friends you can trust to help you. In Celebrate Recovery, you have a group of people that are walking the same journey you are. They are all there to clean up something, and it makes the cleaning a little easier if you know someone is on their way to help, even if you get started a little earlier.

Another way to clean up multiple messes is to find someone with more experience in the area of your struggles. If you’re struggling to change the way you handle your money, find someone who has succeeded financially. They may not have the same exact journey, but they are in the place you want to be. If you want to have a successful marriage, find someone who has been married for more than 30 years and pick their brain!!!! In Celebrate Recovery, you’re required to find a sponsor – someone who has walked the same walk you’ve walked and is on the other side. It’s an important part of the Celebrate Recovery process, and it works.

And the most important person to turn to to clean up a mess of any kind is God. He doesn’t care what it is; He just knows that you need the help.  No problem is too big or small for Him because He knows that no problem is small to us. “For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” (Psalms 66:17-20 NLT)

How do you clean up your messes? How do you ask others for help?

Another Step!

25 Feb

I’ve had a great couple of weeks!

I had the opportunity to visit with my friends Vince and Lora last weekend. It was a fun trip! We hit a local burger spot known as Ferrell’s Burgers that I plan on making a regular part of my visits now.
I also got to eat some good home cooking. Lora is one heck of a cook! On Sunday I went to the church that Vince and Lora pastor. It’s always good to hear Vince speak, and Lora actually joined him for a little Q&A session. I really enjoyed that! On Monday, we all went to a local German restaurant, and then I headed home. It was a great weekend!

This weekend, I was able to pay off my first loan! I gotta say: IT FELT GREAT!!! I shared the good news with a couple of people who I knew would rejoice with me, and I plan on sharing with my accountability partner via a homemade thank you card! On to the next loan!

We received some disappointing news at work last week. The Undersecretary of Defense, Robert Hale, recommended a government furlough. If this furlough takes place, all government employees will lose a day’s pay and work for 22 weeks or until a budget solution is met. If you would like to read more about the furlough, please read here. Obviously, a chance at losing pay had me reevaluate my budget and my finances. While not optimal, I will be okay if a furlough is imposed. My debt snowball will be on hold, but God’s plan for me won’t!

It will be some time before I report on my next debt being paid down. I’m still going to plug away at my plan and will adjust accordingly for any bumps in the road!

FPU starts next week. I can’t wait!

What plans will you make to accommodate any changes to your finances?

Big Steps

7 Feb

If you’ve been to my blog before, you know I’m walking trough the Dave Ramsey plan right now. I started this blog as I started this plan, and I am happy to report that I have made it to Baby Step 1, which is my emergency fund.

I am so excited because I’ve always struggled with saving money. It was so important to me to have a firm goal in mind when I decided to start this plan. I’ve made goals to save before and always faltered for one reason or another. The firm goal was a big help.

As I got closer to the goal, I became more excited. And I wanted to find ways to get there faster. My snowball was building momentum! I started trimming other areas of my spending and changing some of my spending habits so I could put that money towards my emergency fund. It actually started to become fun!

A challenge for me at the beginning of this process was how I handled the money in my envelopes. If there was money left in one of those envelopes, I would spend it on me. Now, I am trying to spend less than that envelope because I want to put that money towards my snowball!

I have to thank my financial accountability partner here. We will call her “Courtney.” She’s challenged me and encouraged me through this whole process. I have immense respect for her and the way she handles her money. She is humble and gracious, and I owe her a debt (pun intended) of gratitude for all her help. Of course, I’m not going to pay her to make up for it! And she wouldn’t want me to anyway! So, I will thank her here instead!

I’m on to the second step and the first debt. By my calculations, I should have that paid off soon. Check back soon for details! I will keep you posted!

What methods do you use to keep yourself motivated to save? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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