Thursday, February 16, 2012

Staying Strong! ~ Dave Ramsey Part 5

Update: Thanks to an insurance settlement and that I am now able to earn an income from home doing childcare. We have now paid off ALL of our business credit cards and are slowly working on our current debt snowball target... Daniel's student loan. Our next target will be to catch up on all  our business debts and then onto baby step 3, which is to save up a fully funded emergency fund (3-6 months of income) and put it into a money market account.  We also just found out yesterday that Daniel has been approved to sit for the PE (professional engineer) exam and if he passes, his income should increase roughly by about 5%. We are so grateful for this opportunity!  So, we are making progress SLOW and STEADY, one dollar at a time...

Now onto my post.....
       We went to our 3rd Dave Ramsey class tonight. It was great! Dave stressed the importance of tracking every cent and spending all your money on paper before before the month even starts. He also explained how he and his wife still use an envelope system today in spite of their vast wealth. Even people with great wealth need to be frugal and track every penny and many millionaires do just that. It takes an average of 17 years to become a millionaire and the average millionaire can tell you down to the cent how much is in their checking account at any given time. This greatly sparked my interest. I have always tried to never spend over a certain amount at the grocery store and on other items but I have never used his suggested envelope system for these things before. No more! I will not be going to the grocery store or to a restraunt without my food envelope. I will not be buying gas without my gas envelope or Christmas/Birthday gifts without my gift envelope. You also need an envelope for clothes and shoes. If you take vacations, you also need a vacation envelope to save up for it.  When you sign up for Financial Peace University, you get a nice envelope system, not much bigger than a checkbook that will fit into your purse.
  I must admit,  although I have always been frugal and saved a lot of money; I felt very convicted last night that I didn't know the exact amount in my checking account nor have I taken the time to track down every penny each month. As I looked to see what money I may have wasted in the last month. Some of it was wasted on pure stress. I splurged on cold boxed cereal at the grocery store because I was too stressed to make breakfast or worse yet, I am an avid reader and like to de-stress by reading and would order books I wanted for myself or the kids off amazon.com. I justified spending $25-$30 per month on amazon.com by telling myself that I needed a break and deserved the books or the convenience of having cold cereal for breakfast even though I have a 5-gallon bucket of old fashioned oats sitting in my garage.
 So for the month of March, my goals are to track every penny down! To give my stress to God and not resort to laziness in an effort to de-stress. I will admit, I was really struggling earlier this week and asking God why? Why does my life have to be so hard?  So and so has help! Why do I have to homeschool with 5 children under 7 here all day long with no help? Wouldn't it make so much sense just to put them in school for a short time until we could pay off all our debts and afford some help? Why do I have to live in a house that is always dirty because I simply can't do it all? Why does my husband have to work all the time? Don't you know how much a dirty house and heaps of dirty laundry in the basement upset a woman? So the complaining in my heart went on ... yeah I know, yuck! Thankfully, Daniel was able to work out of the house Monday afternoon and I got to leave our messy house and half our kids behind to take the boys skiing. I was so excited about going that I felt like one of the boys! We had a great time and the boys went to sleep on the way home giving me time to think and pray. What does it mean to be strong? Can I be happy for someone who has an easier life than I do? Can I be happy for someone who gets to go on  vacation? Can I be happy for someone who has land for their children to play on? Can I be happy for someone who can afford to let their children pursue all their interests? If not, then maybe I need to evaluate my heart and participate in a children's character study because that is not being an adult and it certainly isn't being strong. I do not want to have a negative/complaining outlook... ever!  I want to be a woman of character and I want to be strong... not just sometimes, but ALL the time. I know that I will never attain perfection but I want to spend my life being a woman that God can completely entrust with HIS resources, HIS wealth and HIS time!  I don't know what all God has for me to do here on this earth but it must be something big. When I reflect back on my life...everything I have ever wanted has been very HARD for me to get. As a teenager, All I wanted was a best friend and I got one only to lose him a year later. I had to earn the money for everything I ever got including clothes and shoes from a very young age! As I got older,  I wanted to go on mission trips and I did but only after having to work to earn every penny I needed to go. I wanted to get married and I did after enduring 5 years of living 600 miles from the one I loved the entire time. I wanted to have babies and I did after enduring months of unbearable nausea/vomiting all 4 times. What is God trying to prepare me to do? I don't know but I want to be strong, trustworthy and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish HIS plans and HIS purposes for my life! Isaac made me a bracelet the other day and I love it! He spelled out the word STRENGTH on it without even knowing my thought process lately. How great is my God to send Isaac to give me that gift?! Isaac himself is a picture of His faithfulness and His greatest reward to me after Daniels and I's long and difficult relationship! I used to walk into Isaac's room as a young bride and just stare at him sleeping in his crib, praising my Father for His unfailing love in giving me, HIS daughter the desires of my heart!

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”

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