The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
Everyone needs a Total Money Makeover! I am so in love with this concept! If you have never met Dave Ramsey, you must click this link NOW! (and if you need to re-visit some concepts, or get that re-energizing kick in the pants, click that link!)
I am so excited! We have gotten rid of our last credit card!
WOO HOO! YAY!!! Oh, ya, do tha boogie, do tha boogie, do tha boogie! Wah wah wah Baby!
We started with eight three years ago, as well as a loan with high interest that we took out to pay off the cards the first time, and then we maxed them all back out and still had the loan. We also had a car loan and medical bills. We are down to 9 months on the car loan, 2 years on a low interest loan and our mortgage (which is an ARM so the interest just went down but we kept the payments the same as the previous payment to get rid of more principal). Once the car loan is gone, we will double up on the 2 year loan, then start whacking away at the rest of the mortgage.
It is soooo true that you become a slave to money. All you see is the money you don't have but need. Debt is a nightmare that Satan has convinced us is necessary reality. The stress and the desperation that come from all those phone calls and bills in the mail floods over into family and friends.
We have been slaves to lenders our entire marriage. I am not even sure what it will feel like when we finally get rid of the rest of our debt. All I can tell you is that the relief we are experiencing NOW is soooo amazing!
Has it been a fun three years? Uhhh...no. No vacations. No extras. No splurges. We cut waaay back on eating out. We turn down most invites to go out with our friends because they want to spend money that we want to put on debt. We even cut down on video rentals and "fun foods" like unnecessary snacks.
Did we do all of the steps right? No. We still haven't built our safety net in our savings account and we just in the recent past started tithing correctly again. But we are on the way to getting where we need to be, and we know it is because God is working. Not in our finances. In us.
We learned that our bad finances are a result of our pride (not asking for help, not wanting others to know we were struggling so continuing to purchase and go further into debt), ignorance (we went upside down on our car loan and have spent the last 6 1/2 years paying twice what the car is worth), irresponsibility (spending on new things when we still were in debt on the old things, buying what wasn't necessary, not planning and being committed to following a budget and payment schedule, constantly paying bills after the due date) and lack of faith.
I know that I struggled (and sometimes still do) with the fact that God will provide what I need, and he is the best one to determine what I need. I still tend to think I know best, and instead of allowing God to be God in my life, I give him a time limit to meet what I think are my needs, then I just go ahead and take care of them myself.
Can I tell you how those times turned out? Ya, not pretty.
If you are a slave to money (and if you have ANY debt, you are a slave) please please please check out Dave Ramsey.
You really DON'T need a credit card. A visa or MasterCard debit card work just like them, but you can't go into debt, because if you don't have the money then you can't use the card. It really is that simple.
Oh, and just a little lesson we have learned the hard way and want to pass along to anyone that will listen...DO NOT GET OVERDRAFT PROTECTION ON YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT!! It seems like a good idea, but you will eventually either use it like a short term loan and get socked with fees and penalties, or you will get stuck in the cycle of going into debt on overdraft, losing half your paycheck to cover all the fees and penalties and then having to go back into the overdraft protection to pay the bills. It is a vicious cycle and you need to never get caught there. We were getting dinged for about $600 a month before we could get out of it. I swear our life goal (money wise) is to never have overdraft protection again. It is to be wise with our money instead.
For all of you that hate money, reading about it, thinking about it, hearing about it from others, I apologize. I just had to do some written praise work on this because God has been soooooo good to grow us, help us and continue to show us the way to be delivered from all our mistakes regarding our finances. Sure, a huge check in the mail would have been quicker (and more fun) but I know we would have gone right back into debt. We had to learn this lesson the super hard, super long, super sure way by working it out and growing up. Maybe if we had done the growing up part sooner, God might have helped us a little bit faster. Just goes to show that, once again, his timing, unlike ours, is perfect.