Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Na nana na Hey hey hey ...Goodbye.

That's our credit card bill. Two years ago. We also had a 10,000 dollar loan from our house in Michigan. That's $28,000.00 we've paid off in the last two years. The last payment just went out. We utilized a credit counselor who brokered a deal with the credit card company to lower our interest rate on the card and save us tons of money. We paid the credit counselor ONE DOLLAR a month to make this deal for us. If you live in the area and you need any help with financial stuff, you need to call the CCOA of NWA. They are very nice and they treat you very kindly while helping you get your crap together.

We've never been late on a payment. We have two cars that are paid for (Thank you Vintage and Friends). We've given to our church and we support a little girl through Compassion International. I'm not bragging to you....I just want to encourage you that it's possible. And that those small sacrifices are making a difference. Unplug the wall-warts. Use compact flourescent bulbs. Shop for clothes at thrift stores. Buy bulk food. Open an Etsy store or put the work into a well-organized garage sale. But the biggest thing...

make a plan and stick to it.

The single most transformational thing Robb and I have done for our marriage, our money and our future, has been to meet on a weekly basis to go over the bills, track them in a spreadsheet, and be on the same page about where we stand.

We're not perfect and we aren't money gurus. We still make mistakes and eat out too much. But we are in the game. We have gotten the taste for mastering our money and the relief from stress you feel when you know you are working the plan. And what is even better, the teamwork you feel when you work on it together.

Last night we were supposed to have free hot dogs for dinner at the school, but they ran out and I didn't have a dinner plan. But I did have three free kids meals coupons to Olive Garden plus a coupon I clipped from the Sunday coupons: We had an amazing dinner with leftovers for all of us for lunch today for $26.50. Then we went to JC Penney and got Mattie some shoes. I signed up for a rewards card for them a while ago and I get email coupons and mailers...I had a 10 dollar off coupon. I've been giving Mattie a dollar a week for doing her chores without being told and she had 7 dollars saved. Because this was a second pair of shoes that she didn't necessarily need, but wanted, I let her pay with her money and we made up the difference: Brand new, name brand Chuck Taylors for 6 dollars.

I don't spend a ton of time on saving money. I make a menu. I make a grocery list. I try to stick to it. It's really all about being conscious of what you do, and that's all.

Robb and I will be leading a financial health small group using Dave Ramsey's materials this fall. Robb has been listening to Dave on the radio every day and learning a lot. We didn't get a chance to save up much before the house opportunity came up. It needs a lot of paint and curtains and every single one of the appliances. It will even need a little furniture. In another time and place we might have considered falling back on the credit card. Not this time. We'll be making a plan.


Keri said...

We went to a financial counselor yesterday. We just need to know how NOT to spend the $ we made on the PA house until we are ready to purchase our own home here. He advised us to use a cash envelope system. He is a Dave Ramsey disciple. I need to do better tracking groceries. I am in search of a monthly "plan" for meals.
Congratulations to you both. What a HUGE accomplishment!

Jasmine said...

that is SO big... you both are great examples.

carahinojosa said...

That is so awesome, Vanessa. Congratulations!

Sara said...

that is awesome that the Lord gave you the commitment and strength and resources to tackle such a big debt. You are definately an inspiration to Carl and I. We may not have any credit card debt (praise the lord) but we are still trying to make a plan to pay off our student loans faster as well as to just be able to start saving for other things. Thanks for sharing :)

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow! That is just awesome Vanessa. I am so happy for you. They say credit is the biggest stresser! Way to go! Way to Go! WAY TO GO! : )
Kaishon's converse shoes cost $39.99 and I couldn't find them on sale any where. And they are his favorite favorites, so I just bit the dust and got them.

And my mouth still tastes gritty : )

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