Monday, April 16, 2012

Journey of Money-Debt


Money, money, money. It's good and bad. It can be a blessing or a curse! It's such a hard thing to control and manage (in my opinion), especially when you're married because you have 2 different people with 2 different ways of handling it. But somehow you have to become one and handle your finances together. That means make mistakes together, learn to manage it, save it, give it away, spend it on wants, and probably fight over it together. Ha!

Our journey with money has not been the easiest since we got married. We entered marriage young and learned early (thankfully) that we don't want debt. Does this mean we always made the right decisions? Certainly not. We've learned what we don't want through making wrong decisions and living with them. At 19 and 20 we started our marriage with school loans already in our pockets and continued until we figured out what a burden it would be to pay them off and what the real world was like with finding a good paying job (are there still ones out there?? ha). So I got my Associates Degree and Kyle got a Bachelor's through Bethel to spend less money than online through Liberty with a degree he was NEVER going to use. Then God showed me personal training and I pursued that with a MUCH lower cost of education than a traditional 4 year degree and good money making potential. Now, after being married for close to 5 years, I can say that we have a vision for the future and God is the one who directed it. It was hard to go through the years of the unknown career paths and very little income (not that it's TONS better but it is better thankfully).

We decided 3 years ago to not own a credit card and by God's grace, we haven't had to go into any extra debt. We just have student loans (the devil) and our house now. But is it easier? Not really. When we bought our house I thought God really wanted us to have it. That it would partially make me "complete" because I'd be happy to live in it each day. It's an amazing house, in an amazing neighborhood, has what we want, and we did get a pretty good deal on it. But now I have a different opinion. It comes with a price! Did God want us to go to the limit with our budget and be tight each month? No. Did God want us to be stressed out most months about our bills because we have a high house payment? Probably not. I cannot say that God orchestrated this house for us because we also make our own decisions. Decisions that are filled with selfishness, pride, and greed. Could we have bought a $70,000 house without all the exact things we want? Yes! Could we be blessing others instead of scraping for money to pay necessities? You bet. Could we be less stressed and provide more for our daughter and future children as they get older and get more expensive? Man, what a blessing that would be. Could we have more date nights and time together because we'd have flexibility with money? Wow what a dream!

I just can't imagine living the next 27 years of our lives stressed each month and barely making ends meet. That's NOT the life God calls us to live with money. It just isn't. You cannot show me in the Bible where it does say that. I will not be convinced that God wants this for ANYONE. And because we've specifically made the choices we have (while God does orchestrate things, we still have free will), I am not going to deny responsibility and demand or expect miracles for poor choices we've made. How does this help my hard working husband? He works his BUTT OFF every single day from sun up to sun down, no vacation time, and no slack. I don't want that for him and us the majority of our lives. How draining and depressing to work multiple jobs to pay the bills. And what good will that do for our kids? Tell them "God wanted this for us" while mommy and daddy are on edge and stressed all the time because of bills? I don't think so. What about when we have to pay for Abigail's wedding or help her out when she is older? I don't want to be selfish with money now and not learn from mistakes we've made and not be able to help our kids. I want to tell them that we made choices and are learning from them. I want to tell them that we changed our patterns and are living with less debt! We WILL teach them to not have student loan debt, how to save for a house, invest money young, and get a 15 year mortgage with a manageable payment.

NOW.....whew, those are the thoughts that I have been mulling over in my head for a week or so because we've been tight on money from finishing the basement. I do believe that IN SPITE of our choices God works. In spite of having a mortgage that we should not have gotten, I know God provides and helps us learn from these mistakes. In spite of our student loans I wish our parents would have warned us about more clearly, we will pay them off. The mountain of debt will be gone someday whether Kyle's businesses are super successful or we have to sell our house and get half the mortgage. One way or the other it will happen because we are committed to being debt free because it's IMPORTANT to God.

So I have committed to finding ways to save us money!!!!! I have been praying about it a lot and asking God to show me how to be a wife and mother that uses resources to the best of my ability, with His help. I plan to share in following posts my journey with changes we make to be a more money conscious family. So I hope my journey helps yours!

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs 22:7

"A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn't, and even brags about it!" Proverbs 13:6

"the plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

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