Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A year of financial peace

Almost a year ago my husband and I decided to go without credit.  It was a horrible time for it.  We were just about to have our 4th baby, we had spent all our savings that winter on a new furnace part and a few other unexpected house repairs.  We realized that we had no way to go and get baby furniture so we headed off to Ikea after a really long night of ‘false’ labor. 

That day, we spent nearly $700 on credit. 

On the way home, we  talked about how ridiculous it was that we would do that ‘on a whim’.  It was true, we needed that stuff that we got, but honestly, it wasn’t like this baby had jumped out and bit us.  He had been coming for a long time.  We just had failed to plan (frankly, I was in denial most of the pregnancy that it would actually lead to a baby…  laboring all night kinda snapped me out of my delusion.).  We had a long talk that ended in “Let’s sign all our credit cards over to a counseling company ” (I can feel all out Dave Ramsey people cringing now.)

Two weeks later we had all our paperwork together and we went and switched banks, got all our credit signed over to the credit counseling company and I took a pair of kitchen shears to our credit cards.  It felt great.  And a little crazy.  Luke wasn’t even born yet.  We had no idea what the next year would hold… but we took a little leap of faith and it paid off.  We are now one year closer to never having consumer debt again.  This next month is our last van payment… and once we pay off our vehicles our debt snowball will really start rolling.  We should be out of debt in less than 14 months.  And that’s without any extra checks or small windfalls going to the cause.  Perhaps by Christmas?

Last week in church, our pastor was talking about how God will provide.  Now I don’t talk about my spiritual life here at all, but this one hit me hard.  The ideas that he presented got me thinking…. what made this last year so much easier to handle than the times we have tried to go credit free before?  It wasn’t like we hadn't tried.  It wasn’t like we made tons more money, or never had unexpected issues arise that wiped out our savings buffer… it was just that some how, some way, we were able to sneak on through. 

Sometimes when we talk about God providing for our needs… well it doesn’t mean that he will provide a way for us to get the things we want.  It may mean that we will be given the mental space to choose wisely.  It may mean that we will be given the opportunity to go without and see what that looks like.  Or to do things another way and make stone soup or party favors out of old sweaters.  It may mean we will be given an opportunity to be creative - but also the moment in which to see it.

A friend once said “Financial Freedom does not come from having money, it comes from not needing it.” And over the last year I have found that more and more true.  You can do so much with so little in this world of abundance. The more I think ‘Simple, Classic, Elegant, Thrifty” the farther my money goes and I don’t feel deprived at all!  In fact, I feel down right abundant.  The most simplistic things can be the most beautiful of all.



Frannie said...

thank you for sharing Val. That was beautiful. And whether or not you put words to your always shines through in your blog:) Enjoy your simple day.

Sarah said...

That's great! We are hoping to start turning around our debt soon. We were almost there once before, but then the economy tanked and our income dropped over 50% and Paul went back to school. He graduated and we are back on the road to being debt free. It'll be a long one though!

~ an irish smile said...

This year myhubster and I plan to pay down our consumer debt and not use it - paying only with cash (or debt). I know the road isn't easy but seeing the end reason through your story helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks! =o)

Amy said...

Val, I am so happy for you! We have been working our debt snowball for just over 2 years now. There were times when I felt so sad and desperate about it, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is so liberating! We have 9 months to go, but after all the time we have been working to get rid of this debt that seems like no time at all. It is true that the more I work to make my money go farther, the more I realize how much I already have.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Sadie - We have SO been there. This is our second run with a CC... however, the first time was (and I say this tongue in cheek) in our last life. Since then, it has been 11 years, a complete career change (me - home from teaching, him - cop from glass blower) and three more babies. So I am guessing that it will be quite different. ;) There are things that happened between then and now we really couldn't control (like three years of minimum wage, needing to pay for food, and having $400 gas bills all one winter) and now that we own our own house, so much more of that is under our control.... and our knowledge. A lot of those things we just had NO idea - like not a clue - that they would turn out like that. The joy of being in your 30's... much less of those things come up and bite you in the arse. ;)

Amy - 9 months is nothing! Congratulations!!

An Irish Smile - it is way worth it. You'll love the road and what it opens up for the two of you. Esp if you are on the same page. <3 Good luck!

Frannie - (((hugs))) Thank you. :) Today is all about cleaning up the wreakage from the ice storm. Runs to the dump and food for workers is not the most frugal thing in the world. :P

Kelli said...

Sounds like with all this simplicity-think an "enoughness" it's time to check in again at the Simple Living Forums :) Come on by for a visit! It's been a while!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks Kelli. I don't know if I have ever been on the simple living forums and it isn't taking any of my username/password combos. Do you know me from there or is it just a good place to visit for this type of talk. ;)



Jen said...

Hi there Val! I stumbled upon your blog and was surely inspired. Thank you for sharing this post as this has always been on my mind...I haven't used my credit card in almost six months and have done my best to go without it. It's every time that I see the monthly bill I usually gasp and hope to pay it off soon!

You and your family are so adorable! I will surely continue to read and follow you along your journey! Great pics btw! God Bless always!


Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks Jen! My daughter and I just spent quite a bit of time on your blog... your recipes look awesome! Have a great day!



Blogger Template Created by pipdig