This is the follow up to my previous post on Financial conviction I was experiencing.
I had previously experimented with Dave Ramsey’s envelope budgeting system. My results were always sketchy, because I lacked the self-discipline to do it correctly and diligently. As an almost 27-year-old mother of almost 3, I have learned a lot in a short span of time, including that I cannot afford irresponsibility like before we had children, and mortgages, and adult-y responsibilities…
I’m praying for discipline and diligence, and I’m trusting God COMPLETELY with the results, finally fully surrendering to His call for financial obedience.That said, I’m giving the envelope system a second try.
What shocked me most initially was that when I did a Google search on how to format the envelopes, I found a barrage of people and places trying to sell me “envelope budget and wallet systems” with fancy wallets or zippered pouches for cash envelopes with pre-printed ledger balance sheets… Ironic that when I’m searching for ways to save money, there are people trying to capitalize on that and get me to spend.
I declined that temptation, and instead, I formatted my own ledger sheets and printed labels for my own envelopes.
As for a “wallet” I’ve elected to use some 5×7″ files I already had on hand (from back in my extreme couponing days, when I lived on couponed Chef Boyardee and Hot Pockets…That diet is destructive and detrimental to health- I don’t recommend it.)
My first step was a strict “every dollar” budget. “Every dollar” was a new concept for me… or well, theoretically, it was not, but practically applied, I’d never done it before.
I went through and did a detailed budget using www.everydollar.com and the EveryDollar app, the Dave Ramsey free to use resources… Again, capitalizing on people’s need and desire to save money, there’s an upgrade option which allows you to sync your bank account with the site and app so that you don’t have to manually input all that information and can monitor your finances entirely digitally… Again, I went with the free option.
Once I had all of our income and expenses estimated, I went through and began adding in all of the transactions. FYI, the website defines “transaction” as any form of money movement, income or expense. After I painstakingly went through and input all of the transactions for December (most of them, because we still have some month left…) I was able to see where we overspent, where we were under budget, and then adjust next month’s budget accordingly.
Then I moved on to budget slashing. I cut out any budget for food out, entertainment, (which I define as frivolous fun purchases- video games, rental movies, etc.- we don’t spend much on that anyway) and created specific categories for the places we overspent in the last month. Having every dollar budgeted and ear marked should (I really truly pray it does) lead us to develop more discipline in knowing where our money goes and cut back on frivolous spending.
Once I had the budget set, I went through and determined which of the expenses were automatic withdrawals or payment by check and that dollar amount I budgeted to stay in the account, and the remaining expenses were to come out as cash. This means, when the cash is gone, it’s gone.
Finally, I’m looking at ways to bring in alternate streams of income to help us get completely out of debt with the exception of our mortgage (that’s the one concession Dave Ramsey makes). First things first- downsize. Do I need 2 saxophones, 3 guitars, 60+ pairs of shoes, 3 extra car seats, and a massive library overflowing into random boxes in the garage? Nope. Nope, I don’t. Craigslist and E-bay, here I come. I’m also working on getting boxes of clothing (mostly little girl premie clothes) to consign. Consignment is new to me, as I prefer to just donate or pass on to someone else who could use it, but seeing as much of the stuff I could actually benefit from selling, that’s my choice this time.
In addition to that, I’ve got the Etsy shop semi-going and I’m still working on adding inventory, which is tricky without set “work hours” to get things going, but hopefully this discipline will extend to that aspect.
Our market garden is set to launch this spring and hopefully cover the costs of our animal feed.
I’ve also got plans in the works for a book, God willing… God has placed it on my heart for a long time now that I need to write, and until now I haven’t really had any idea of what to write about. I don’t want to give anything away yet as I’m still in the planning phase but, suffice it to say, unless God says to wait, I’ll be working on getting my first book written and published within the next year or so, which will act as a source of residual income.
It’s my personal conviction to go entirely debt-free (even so-called “good debt”) because it limits the ways in which I’m able to live generously toward others and invest in God’s Kingdom. Some may not have that same conviction, and that’s fine; that’s what makes it a personal conviction. I certainly would recommend searching the Bible for passages concerning wealth, finances, money, debt and the like before making any decisions one way or another. You may find God pulling your heartstrings like He did mine, calling you into deeper relationship with Him, and calling you to let go of worldly wisdom in favor of His Truth.
What are your experiences with faith and finances? How is God leading you to surrender that aspect of your life to Him?