I spent every day tied up in knots over money. Whether we had some or didn’t. I repeatedly robbed Peter to pay Paul. Let me tell you Peter and Paul were well acquainted. They had a seriously dysfunctional, love-hate relationship. Somehow, over the years, I had nominated myself as Queen of the finances and then proceeded to be upset when my husband didn’t want to participate. It’s kind of hard to participate when I do it all and say not to worry about it. Meanwhile I’m seething inside mad at myself for failing and mad at him for not helping. You all know the drill. Can we afford the payment? Yes? Ok, then buy it. Can we afford that payment? Yes? then buy it and on and on until the scales tip from an emergency or repeated overspending, over-consuming, or under earning. I was an absolute rock star at knowing where my money went. Just like my obsession of knowing caloric content, I could tell you to the penny every month how much we spent on groceries or gas, utilities or clothing. I developed budget after budget, meticulously calculating where my money went. Here in lies the problem, I could see where my money went, but I never TOLD it where to go!
I read Total Money Makeover many years ago and of course, did nothing about it. I assumed the PLAN was for people who actually made money, not us. We were living paycheck to paycheck. How could we ever do this? Here is the problem. Every year our income went up and every year our savings did to. Then we lived happily ever after. NOT! WE KEPT SPENDING. It had to stop. I couldn’t take another day of uncertainty and anxiety over our finances. The final push was when they offered Financial Peace University at our church. The plan is super simple, but it is hard. Our group started with about 5 couples and ended with us and one other person who refused to actually do the plan. Hint: you actually have to follow the plan to make the plan work! I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! I was determined to make a change. We followed the plan to the “T”. I have laid it out in simple terms below, but visit his site for more information. P.S. I love to talk about the plan, so ask me anything!
This life changing event has allowed us to dream again. It has allowed us to make plans for the future without a giant boulder sitting on our shoulders. We feel like we have options. It has opened up so much room for me to worry about something else. Wait, I mean, um, N0, I refuse to continue that pattern. Stay tuned! It’s a constant battle to keep from letting the anxiety takeover.
The 7 Baby Steps (fyi: these are not my seven secrets, but super ironic):
- Save $1,000.00 emergency fund.
- List debts smallest to largest and pay them off. “The debt snowball”
- Save an emergency fund of three to six months expenses.
- Start investing 15% of your income for retirement.
- Save for your children’s college fund.
- Pay off your home early.
- Build wealth and be outrageously generous.