Vision: 1 year & 5 years

August 18, 2008

(Note: Instead of writing on what works for me and what has worked for others in the aspect of personal finance, I am writing today on what my current situation is and what “vision” I have for my family’s financial future. Enjoy, for what it is worth.)

NOW

  • $21, 000 in debt, exlcuding our home and cars.
  • 4 years payments left on vehicles
  • Paying on our $100K home, which is completely interest free.

In One year, I have the vision that we…

  • Will have paid $10K on our general debts, through budgeting and selling what we do not need.
  • Continuing to pay off the vehicles… (sigh) and home.
  • Living on a tighter budget, and possibly taking on side jobs to throw at our debt.

In 5 years, I have the vision that we ….

  • will be out of debt other than our home!
  • have a small amount of “rainy-day/murphey is coming” fund started
  • will be financially sound enough that giving to “Faithful following of JESUS” will not be an issue.
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Drip. Kurplunk. Drip. Drip. Kurplunk.

When people thinks of generosity, they often think of abundant, lavish generosity. The word Generous radiates thoughts of wealthy people building new wings of hospitals or building homes for the poor. Generosity is a misunderstood and underused concept in the current culture.

does a little matter?

People often misunderstand that generosity must be lavish showers of money. Being generous simply means being willing to give what you can to those who need it. Even $1 given to a soup kitchen will help to put a few more spoons of food on a plate. Yes, a little given in generosity matters. Ask the homeless shelters who run on donations; ask the church who is about to close their doors due to finances.

more….

If you do not give toward anything, then giving anything is better than nothing. If you already give in small or big portions, then consider how you might be more generous. Can you give $5 more? What about $15?

One penny at a time. Give. By giving a little more, maybe someone will not have to go to bed without food or without shelter tomorrow night.

‘Recession’ Response

August 13, 2008

Introduction

The media is plush with stories on the current economy. I believe that you would be hard-pressed to flip through the news tonight without the “recession” storm overtaking you. The media is using the term “recession” so much, that people actually are buying into it. My post, however, isn’t really about the current financial situation in the USA. It is about money/economy in general.

Spoiled mentality

Why is it that so many people rationalize purchases with the words “because I deserve it”? That’s a little presumptuous. I resolve that we don’t necessarily “deserve” everything that we buy. I think that humans deserve the essentials: food and shelter. Some might deem that “basic essential needs”, yet how many people will curl up on the cold ground tonight without anything in their stomach?

Can’t Buy me…

There are a lot of things that money itself cannot buy. Money cannot buy back a ruined relationship. No amount of stuff can truly fill a void. Money is also very temporary. When we die, it will not go with us to our eternal destinations. “Money is merely a method of exchange, and is only worth what someone else is willing to give you for it” (Dave Ramsey).

What it all comes down to

Money is paper and coin. We can buy stuff with it, but obviously that stuff is just stuff. Invest your time, invest your love, invest your energy and you will reap better rewards than simply investing your money will.

The Balancing Dance

July 29, 2008

There can be various reasons why you may want to get out of debt. You may want to do it because you are tired of being being owned by credit cards, or because you want to give your family a better life. Perhaps you have a multitude of reasons.

As for myself, I want to get out of debt because I am tired. Tired of arguing about money. Tired of Worrying about money. My motives are pure – but I still need to be cautious to have a balance in my money walk.

What is there to balance?

I’m not talking about balancing my checkbook or even balancing my budget. Those things are essential to making my family’s debt-free dream a reality. The balancing that I need to be cautious of comes in three forms: my LORD, my family, and myself.

Balance with my LORD

If I do not live my life in balance with my LORD, all my debt-reduction efforts are dung. Cutting back my lifestyle, cutting out splurges and cutting off unnecessary spending cannot get in the way of my service to The LORD. I must continue to tithe my money to helping the church. I need to make an offering of my time and talents to CHRIST JESUS first. Throwing everything I got at my debt cannot include throwing my relationship with CHRIST JESUS out. Ultimately I know that HE will ” supply all {my} need according to HIS riches…” (Philippians 4:19, emphasis mine)

Balancing my family

I agree that any/all debt-reduction efforts must be a family work. However, I cannot allow every moment of my time be so consumed that I neglect my husband and two sons. By working together to annihilate our debt, I can still spend time with them. I also must take time to just love on them with one-on-one time. There must be time to play, laugh, and enjoy the time I have with them.


Let me guess: you have realized that you have debt. Most Americans due, but that does not make it a normal thing by any means. You know you have debt because there is more month than money, you can’t ever seem to “get ahead”, or that big minus sign in your bank account tells you so. It doesn’t matter how that you came to the realization that you have debt, it only matters that you do realize that you have debt and that you actually would like to get out of debt.

Checking Your Supplies

I point to Dave Ramsey as the source for the following advice: “put it on paper on purpose”. Use a spreadsheet program of your choice, or just a pad of paper and a pencil. The idea here is to know exactly how much income that you have coming into your house. Use your net income.

In addition to income, its time to see what you have packed into your wagon. Are there items that you could sell to lighten up your debt load? Evaluate carefully what you could sell, and the profit from that sell. Include this income on paper, and commit yourself to a deadline by which you will have posted the item for sell, or to have your yard sell.

Plan Your Trip

If you were going to take a huge trip across country, you would probably make a plan for your trip. Getting to the Land of Better Money Days is going to take preperation as well.  Just as one individual is different from another, every person’s money plan will be different from anothers. Make a plan. Make the plan realistic, though.

Know the dangers

Getting out of debt does have dangers: they are called tempations and lack of responisbility. Be firm when temptations come – remember where you really want to go (Debt-free-opia) and stay AWAY from things that try to stir you from that directions. Others may try to get you to splurge on something, but remember that just one little splurge will default your debt-free efforts. Be responisble. If you are wanting to get yourself (and family) out of the valley of debt, you must be responsible with your decisions. Don’t be a five year old and want, want, want. Disciple yourself, delay pleasure – be an adult.

Get Started NOW

Don’t put it off any longer. If you want to get to the land of Better Money Situations, start today. Any procrastinating, any excuses – are not going to produce real results. Start TODAY!!!