Budget. Oh yes, I said it, the dreaded B-word. Maybe for you it's not so dreaded, or maybe you never speak of it, much less think of it. I personally got all tense and fidgety when Brian finally succeeded in sitting me down to go over it last night. I remember the struggle of making ends meet while I was a kid, and the chills running up and down my spine when mom told me we were "in the hole," which I took to mean we were literally going to be thrown into a big, black gaping hole. (I also thought my mom was going to boil me alive in a pot on the stove when she told me I was "in hot water" for ruining her laundry hamper... yep.)
A few things have helped me to overcome my fear of finances:
- Brian is actually good at math and using excel. That makes it much easier for me, since then all I have to do is offer helpful suggestions (We have how much for clothes each month?!), and thoughtful insights (Where's the shoe fund?).
- Knowing that God is taking care of us, and He loves us. He cares for even the flowers and the sparrows! Read Matthew 6 for a amazing reminder of His concern and provision for us.
- Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover.
We picked it up at the bookstore, but you could probably buy it online for less. If you want to honor God with your finances, this book will lay it out for you in no uncertain terms. That doesn't mean it will be easy, but it certainly is clear. This is from the inside flap:
Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health.
Ramsey debunks the many myths of money...and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt....
The Total Money Makeover is all about "renewing your mind," using God's ways of handling money (over 800 scriptures deal with money) to be "transformed" (made over). It's a plan to stop being "conformed" to the ways of the world and as ridiculously broke as the rest of our culture.
And this isn't theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. it works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: You. Brian and I are lucky, because we've never had credit cards, so we haven't been sucked into that cycle of credit card debt. But, we have gone to college! And that means loans, loans, and more loans. Also, we have a car that isn't entirely paid off. It adds up to about $30,000. But with the plan we have in place, we hope to be debt free in about two years, and still have a decent sized emergency savings fund. It may mean some sacrifices ( Traveling back to Iowa to visit is not in the budget. It just couldn't fit), as Dave says, "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else."
Here's a few crazy but true stats from the book:
- 90% of people in our culture buy things they can't afford
- 88% of college seniors have credit card debt- before they even have a job
And a few myths that I'd always thought were true:
- "Car payments are a way of life: you'll always have one." "Staying away from car payments by driving reliable used cars is what the average millionaire does."
- "You should get a credit card to build your credit." "You won't sue credit with your Total Money Makeover, except maybe for a mortgage, and you don't need a credit card for that."
- "You need a credit card to rent a car, check into a hotel, or buy online." "A debit card will do all that."
- "The debit card has more risk than a credit card." "Nope." He explains that if you run it as credit, you will get the same protection as companies offer credit cards. You can read the policy on Visa's website.
Crazy stuff, right? I encourage you to check out his website
for more information about his program and books if your financial situation isn't exactly honoring to God, and you are ready to make it right.
And that is my Tuesday Tip! Please share with us if you've used his program before, or have other strategies for battling debt or managing finances!
Labels: Finances, Home