Ok, so I sat down yesterday and added up all our debt (minus the cars and home). I wanted to cry. I knew we had too much debt, but I didn’t realize it was that high of an amount. We haven’t used a credit card in months, for that I’m proud. BUT we used them when my husband was laid off earlier this year (nope, we didn’t have enough in savings to last us the almost 3 months he was out of work – we didn’t even have enough saved for 1 month!). I just didn’t realize how much we’d used them. Granted, the majority of the credit card debt is prior to him being laid off. What really makes me sad is that we were ALMOST debt free before our son was born. Little did we know (although we should have planned, I suppose) how much an emergency c-section would cost. Add that to the unwise decisions we made when it came to using the cards, and yup – that’s how our balance is so high on them. I have had it though! I am so tired of this debt. I’ve been praying, daily, for wisdom when it comes to our finances. I have been tracking all our expenditures for about 1.5 years, so it’s easy to see where the money is going. We pay quite a bit in monthly bills, thanks to two vehicle loans, a mortgage, association dues (condo living!), cable, utilities, insurance, etc…
So what am I going to do about it? Well, for one, I’m looking into the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classes. We can go to a local church (there are several options available, but none seem to work with our schedule), or take the course online (seems like the most applicable, although it costs an extra $36 than if we took it at a church but it’s better than nothing).
Secondly, I am going to get all my ducks in a row and work up some form of spreadsheet to show my husband, to get him on board. You see, my husband works very hard. VERY hard to support us. In order for him to get on board with living with less until debt is paid off, I need to present this in a pleasing light. His personality just doesn’t like to be put into a box and be told “you can only do X and Y”. He doesn’t like to be “restricted”. So I need to be creative in my presentation. It’s not that he’s not on board to pay off debt, he just doesn’t like to feel like he’s working and can’t have any fun/play time with the money he is making.
Here are some of my ideas to save money on the day-to-day and put that money towards a larger savings account and then towards our debt;
- WIN THE LOTTERY! Just kidding – I do not play the lottery (I am not a fan of taking the $1 I HAVE and HOPING I get “lucky” and win more), making this impossible.
- Have a rich aunt/uncle/relative gift the money to us to pay off debt. Ok, this isn’t possible either, because I don’t know a single relative (and I have HUNDREDS) that has money to just throw around…
- Buy a money-making machine and MAKE money in my basement…again, just kidding. That’s illegal and it’s been explained to me that you can’t just create money to fix the nation’s deficit, so I’m assuming I can’t do that for myself (plausible as it sounds, though). But it would be nice….
Alright, on to the REAL ways I can improve our financial position;
- Continue to tithe, first and foremost (it’s the Lord’s money, to begin with – He is the one blessing us with the income we have!)
- Seek the Lord, daily, and ask for wisdom on ALL financial decisions.
- Stop unnecessary spending (ie eating out, cable, overspending on groceries)
- Begin by paying off the highest balance credit card, putting as much extra money as possible towards that card.
- Contact the credit card companies and request a lower APR – I pay our bills on time, so we have a great history when it comes to that.
- Continue to scour the internet for a legit work-from-home business that I can do. I have applied for several but nothing has panned out, to date.
- Come up with a list of creative ways to enjoy life, without spending money. Place list in a visible place as an encouragement that spending money is not necessary when it comes to living life fully.
Ok, I think I have a good list started. Today’s project is to get this all lined up, on paper and then presented to my husband. Does anyone have any great suggestions to not only paying off debt, but also not feeling “restricted” while doing so? Suggestions are VERY welcome!