Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009
in Emotional, Financial, How To
Please keep reading. This advice might make your life better! Seriously!
No gimmick, no scheme, no quick fix, I just found some common sense that was not common to me.
I’m not working today because I’m on a furlough. I’m not being paid to not work. The economic challenges hit TreeHouse.
At the risk of sounding like a martyr, Amy and I still struggle with the financial impact of my choice to work at TreeHouse. In 1990 during my first month at TreeHouse I made $30. As the months went by I had several paychecks of less than $200.
I was completing my Master’s degree, my daughter Shannon was born and my wife Amy stayed home to raise her. We lived entirely off the money I made at TreeHouse, some gifts from family and friends, food shelves, and handouts.
There were times when we had an empty refrigerator and we couldn’t afford milk. Over the years, in order to continue working at TreeHouse — where I thought God called me to serve — needless to say, we incurred debt.
This is not a self-pity blog, just the opposite!
Debt. Sometimes it was mismanagement of the money we had, sometimes it was having too little money, other times it was just having too many things go wrong with the house, the car or the kids.
We had money stress.
Then a couple of years ago my friend Eric Swensrud invited me to a Dave Ramsey videoconference.
I had barely heard of Dave Ramsey. I didn’t want to go. Amy, my wife, did.
We went. I went reluctantly.
I sat listening. I was cynical. I took notes – partly out of habit, but mostly so I was not disruptively bored.
I have to admit Dave Ramsey was funny, but more importantly he seemed to make sense, common sense.
Beyond My Reluctance
Well, I bought in.
We decided to make small progress, Dave Ramsey calls them baby steps.
I didn’t spend a dime, but we did buy in. We thought that with Dave Ramsey’s common sense and some more self-discipline we could make positive changes despite our financial crisis.
Amy and I sat down. We looked through our bills, our checkbook, whatever financial records we had. We honestly looked at how we had spent money.
We had to set aside our shame and guilt for ways that we had mismanaged our finances.
Oh, it wasn’t pretty. No, no, no!
Needless to say, we started a budget.
Yes, we wish we had more money — just like you do — but with our new pretty strict and successful budget we have found thousands of dollars to reduce our debt.
As I sit here the week before Christmas, in the midst of a week without pay – my furlough – I am not as afraid as I might be because we started, modified and maintained a budget for the last few years.
If you don’t have a budget I strongly recommend one. We have found freedom in having more self-discipline!
I think you will too!