Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why I'm here

First off I'm not starting this blog as a way to become one of those guru bloggers. Or even make a little cash from the traffic or advertising. I'm here to make myself and my family accountable.
My family of 6
My husband and I recently came to a realization. Yes we live well. We paid all our bills, we had money for things that we wanted- or at least that is what we thought. Whenever we looked at our finances, there was always this pile of debt that tried as we may to throw money at it wouldn't go away. We would buckle down and make meaningless goals and continue to throw money at the pile of debt, but the interest kept eating all that money. We would then give up, keep throwing money at it and pretend it wasn't there, and not talk about it. Just wishing and hoping and dreaming that throwing money would one day work and about all those things we wanted to do in the future "when we had money".
I had heard many of my friends and blogs talk about the book "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. And more specifically the "cash and carry" method he talks about and the "snow-ball" method of eliminating your debt and what Dave Ramsey is all about. But, there seemed to be something totally off to buy a book about saving money, in order to save money. My husband and I were having a finance conversation about money and our goals. I suggested that I had recently seen a friend post about how this book had changed her family's outlook on money. It had been a required reading for her accounting class. I mentioned my issues with buying the book to "save money" but my husband was actually more on board then I thought. That evening he got on his Kindle and purchased an e-copy. He spend all weekend reading it whenever he got a chance. He was all fired up and ready to get started- after I read it. I use to love to read. But as a mom I have the hardest time reading anything that takes me more than a minute to skim. Not to mention I read supeeeerrrr slow. But I knew our goals and dreams were going to stay out of reach unless we made some deliberate choices to change them. So I read it. Took me a whole week of trying to read every moment I could pull away from my children to read.
So here we are. Almost done with the first month of our total money makeover and it has not been easy. We have decided we are going to make sacrifices to reach our goals. Some of those include: canceling our Netflix account, canceling our summer vacation, making more things from scratch, no fast food or eating out for probably the next year... Just with anything when we want to show the LORD we are serious about a goal we show Him by making sacrifices. We've set up our budget and have our emergency fund, and even paid off my student load that was barely hanging in there. There are times I have wanted to cry, but it is my heart changing.
On a spiritual note, we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons.  We have been commanded to not go into debt, and if you are in debt- to get out of debt. For the past few years I have been telling myself lies- and didn't even realize it. Any time we were counseled to get out of debt I would tell myself "we're working on it" and convince myself it would happen. People it won't ever happen unless you are actively trying to do something about it with specific goals. Set the goals work to the goal, do it with purpose. I know my family isn't alone, just saying you are trying to pay off that debt isn't doing it.
On another note- I feel guilty that I help perpetuate lies, I am never going to find the people who I lied to and ask their forgiveness. I don't even remember most of them, and the sad part is I wholly believed the lies I was telling. Let me explain. I supported myself through college by working as a teller (and other positions) at some credit unions. Now I was born to goodly parents who lived debt free and taught me the evils of debt. They taught me how to make a budget and how to live within my means, and for the most part I did. But when I entered the world of finance- I met lots of people who told me differently. Lots of people who told me that debt can be good. Debt is needed, debt is the only way you are going to be successful. I bought into it hook line and sinker. I told myself that I could have a little debt. I would still be living within my means, I could make the payments. I can have a credit card -even my parents had a credit card- but my dad is one of the few people in the world who actually pay off every single penny with each purchase they make when they make that purchase. I thought I could be that disciplined. But it was all lies to myself. Lies I had become so numb to that I didn't even realize that they were lies until I was reading Dave Ramsey's book. In addition, I had given up on cash. When I was a teller, cash was something I "counted" out to other people. It was paper to me. I could touch up to $200,000 a day and it meant nothing. When I had my own cash I spend it like you should drink water and couldn't understand where it ever went. I decided me and cash didn't get along. I divorced cash for the sleek world of cards, that way I could keep tract and see every single little penny I spent. And at that time that actually worked for me. As a bank employee I could see and check my account 100 times a day. I watched every penny leave my account and be accounted for. Fast forward 9 years and I haven't worked in the finance work that whole time and I check my bank account online maybe once a week. Plus now their are two of us with drawling from that account, and we aren't always communicating on what and when we are spending money. So we've made some bad choices to avoid making other mistakes. Now I can't go back to my days as a teller and tell every person that I spoke to suggesting debt was the way to go and tell them how stupid I was. But I can now, right here say stop using credit cards, don't be afraid of cash, stop saying we can having it now and instead say we can save for it now and buy it when we have the money.  For everyone I knew as a teller I say, I am so sorry I tried to lead you down the unwise path. Please forgive me. And for everyone who is in debt just like we are. We can do it! We can get out of debt with sacrifice and with deliberate choices to pay off our debt. 

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