July 21, 2014

31 Days to More with Less: How Much Do You Want It?

Oct4

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From personal understanding, getting ones family finances under control requires many of the same tactics that I’ve been experiencing as I ride this weight loss roller coaster. As I share tidbits of money lessons learned, there will be those reading that have the same response as when I posted about gaining, and hopefully, losing weight.

It’s an emotional topic. It may step on toes. It’s bound to offend someone because money advice always does. No one can completely understand the road you’re walking unless they have traveled it before.

As we approach the months where most consumer debt is accumulated, there is no better time to dig in and get dirty about your financial future. It’s not glamorous or easy. In fact it requires sacrifice, but with discipline, perseverance, and consistency, you can change your family’s financial tree and dig out those rotted roots for a total transplant.

It’s not about cutting coupons, dressing Frugal Fashionista style, or shopping at a thrift store. (I just do that for my own fun.)  It’s a complete overhaul with how you view money.

Shockingly enough, 90% of people buy things they can NOT afford. Simply put, nine out of ten of you reading this post will make purchases over the next few months that you should NOT buy. That’s an overwhelming majority, so don’t think you are being called out in this arena as an isolated situation. There is strength in numbers as we overcome anything, with finances and debt being no different. We are on this road together.

I am so thrilled to be tackle this subject now. During this upcoming buying season, I pray we can encourage each other as we walk through these months with a new reality of what financial responsibility encompasses. Whether you make $20,000 a year or $200,000, the necessary overhaul with how you view money is very consistent. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it certainly isn’t a quick fix, but you will have direction.

So, let’s ask the question:

How much do you want financial freedom?

P.S. Please know that I understand there are extenuating financial circumstances, and I’ve been there as well. Last September, I wrote a post in the midst of our “God Watch” unemployment time, I acknowledged there was a season when I had to charge groceries on our credit card – not for convenience, but due to need. For us, those days are past, but that time caused us to make significant changes to our life.   I know some of you are struggling to keep food on the table or save your house, so please do not feel any finger pointing from me…only grace. (For more on grace, Emily’s October is all about that very topic.

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Click here for my previous 31 Days to More with less posts.

My 31 Day girlfriends: Chatting at the Sky, Nesting Place, My First Kitchen, Life With My 3 Boybarians, Reluctant Entertainer, TheInspired Room, Remodeling This Life


Comments

  1. I love that Dave Ramsey quote. I’m trying very hard to live within a budget since I retired in June. Christmas is hard because it’s such a fun shopping time. Keep encouraging us to be aware of our finances.

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  2. We just made a significant change for the better….we sold back our expensive, not paid for (but with huge monthly payment) back to the dealership and bought, with cash, a used car. I know the used car with give us trouble but that brand-new, expensive car gave us more grief in a year than a new car should (the dealership was HORRIBLE. Zero customer service.) I started reading one of Dave Ramsey’s books exactly at the time my husband (who loves nice cars) asked if we should get rid of the car. Oh yes! We had thought we’d go take on another nicer car but in a fit of unusual rational thinking we decided to take whatever cash we had and buy a used car. Now we’re debt free (besides mortgage) and we can save. Whew.

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  3. I am so glad I have found you! I have been reading The Nester’s Blog for a few years and until this link up I had never seen your blog! I am where you were…my husband lost his job in June and charging groceries on a cc. However, I do believe that God has put us in this position to see something greater and I have been show grace in these tough days! My business has started to grow! But, the disgust level that I have has put me on a mission to become Debt Free! So thank you for sharing your story! FYI I am a Wellness and Fitness Coach! I love helping people lose weight , gain energy and take control of their Health. Now I am hoping to learn how to take control of my Finances! It is amazing how God puts the right things at the right time in front of us.
    Joy Jenkins

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  4. I should add that some family members were rather skeptical of our decision…I’m not sure if they thought we were nuts or whatever. I’m just glad to have some money flowing INTO the savings instead of OUT of it!

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  5. Jen,
    As this time of year rolls in, we’ve got 3 birthdays and Christmas coming…Thanks for the reminder to not buy anything we can’t afford. With the help of Dave Ramsey, we were out of debt once…but due to the economy over the past few years, have accumulated some debt that I am dying to get rid off. I hate the monkey on our backs!

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  6. Hi Jen, we really try to live within our means. We do shop at GW and thrift stores, but not always. I don’t take the time for coupons (probably should). We eat out of our garden and every bite of leftovers, for sure. I admire you taking this on, and love DR, too. Awesome! (love the quote)
    Sandy

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  7. I know that I can do more to live what I make. I am looking forward to this. I am one of the people that may get upset. Not at you but at myself, sometimes the truth hurts. ;)

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  8. Great post! We love Dave Ramsey! We are now debt free, except for the house. It’s been a great experience.

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  9. I have also tried to budget…but my husband is self-employed and our income is so flexible. I know what we have to pay each month and I try to limit my grocery and other misc. purchases. We have debt that we are slowly paying down. I work part-time as a nurse and could work full-time and make a lot more money, but we feel like at this point in our kid’s lives I need to be home as much as possible (they’re 6, 3, 2mo.)
    We really do have the best intentions of being good stewards with our money, but we never have any leftover money at the end of the month. God is meeting our needs in this season and we are thankful.

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    Jens Reply:

    @allison morrison, Allison – it sounds like you are doing amazing with where you are at. :) You will not regret that time with your children, for sure.

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  10. My husband and I are currently in the middle of FPU and I have had a major paradigm shift when if comes to “stuff” and “money”. We live on a budget and I am now more content with it than I have been in the past. I see how by living like no one else that one day we can live like no one else. When you marry the man you love but his budget is a LOT smaller than the budget your dad has it can be very hard ( living on less not loving my husband!) But I see it as a foundation for our future. He teaches at a Christian school and coach and I say home with our 9 month old. It is worth it God will provide, I can always buy that “thing” later (or never) but I don’t need it. Peace is worth living on less!
    FYI Love your blog! I’am new to the blogging as you will see if you visit mine!

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  11. We are debt free and LOVE IT. We don’t have much, but I cherish what we do have and treat luxuries (like our upcoming vacation that we’ve saved forever for) as something truly special. It’s so freeing to know that we aren’t bound to anyone or anything. I know we are lucky, so we’re doing our best to preserve our situation. My family was in quite a bit of debt when I was a child, so I know what it’s like and how hard it can be…good luck to those of you who are on a journey out of it!

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  12. We are taking Dave’s Financial Peace University class at our church and have just completed our 4th lesson on our way to being wierd!! Finances have been something that my husband and I shuttled back and forth between us over 32 years of marriage but after this last year of closing a business, losing most of my income and my husband losing his job last December (Praise God, he is employed now!) we had to get on a plan. If we follow Dave Ramsey’s plan, we will be debt free in 4-1/2 years and will be able save the next 10-15 years for our retirement years because we are 53 & 51. So keep preaching it Jen!!! You’ve got to be purposeful about your money and it would be great if both husband and wife were working on it together each month!

    I’ve read your blog off and on for the last two years and admire how you’ve used your talents and gifts and share them with all of us.

    God Bless you!
    Connie

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  13. We’ve adopted Dave Ramsey as a distant relative because we need his sage advice around 24/7. We’re leading a Financial Peace group in our home for the 4th time and climbing through the baby steps.
    Glad to know there are others who are NOT normal and ‘live like noone else’.
    I’ll be following you this month and reminding my readers to as well. Thank you for the timely advice!!

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  14. Yikes, 90% of people buy things they can’t afford? That is a scary thought!

    http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com

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  15. I LOVE this post! It took my husband and I losing our jobs almost simultaneously for us to figure out where we were going wrong. Now, budgeting on one income, we are more financially comfortable than we EVER were with two incomes. During the same year, our family minivan died before it was paid off…. :( Allen and I promised ourselves we’d live differently this year. We would live on cash only, pay off debt, save and we would enjoy the little things. In July, we needed to buy a vehicle and we only had what was in our emergency savings to use. If you follow Dave Ramsey, then you know that during the first baby steps, that leaves you about $1,000 to play with. We bought a 1994 Blazer. It is ugly but it runs. My husband has said to me on several occasions that he feels “horrible” because I am driving that Blazer and he feels he could do better. I kindly reminded him that the Blazer is exactly what we can afford and what we are able to purchase. That the vehicle is ours, it does not belong to a bank. I reached into the glove compartment, pulled out the title and handed it to him. I kindly reminded him that although people may look and they may judge, that vehicle is ours, free and clear. A couple of months later, we have since resurfaced furniture, painted around the house, thrifted and paid off another $950 in debt in 2 months…. There is definitely peace that comes with learning how to handle your money… and there is definitely a change that comes along with it. I learned that I CANNOT have a “Jones” mentality. Every morning when I volunteer at the school and teachers thank me, every afternoon that I am at home with my family… every evening that I hop in that old 1994 Chevy, I am reminded that this is the right way for my family, even if it is not the right way for “normal” families. :)

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  16. Love that Dave Ramsey quote. And I love your wise perspective here, Jen.

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  17. “As iron sharpens iron…” It is not always easy to be ‘weird’, but in reality, there are a lot of us out there! We survived a season of unemployment a few yrs ago (single income, 4 kids) and have graduate school loans, but we DO NOT add to debt. ‘Uncle Dave’ is referred to often in our house. Our debt snowball may be slowly moving, but it is going in the right direction! My kids understand so much more about good money habits than I ever did. My 9 yr old is selling scout popcorn and someone told him he should get me to match the largest order he had gathered, $50. He looked at them and said “No way will Mom do that, it isn’t in the budget!” Love it!

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  18. Please, please keep the financial advice coming. We are in the fourth month of very unexpected one-income and doing everything we can to educate ourselves. I cannot wait for the day when we are debt free, and so hope to pass that lesson on to our children.

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  19. I gave this type of a talk to about 300 women from our church group for a women’s conference about 4 years ago, before everything crashed but the housing market was starting too. I told them that we joke at our house that if we want something a little pricey (about $300) we just stay away from Costco that week. It really is true. We were all out of control.

    My dad who grew up in the Depression and has been gone for 15 years always said that this country needed another depression – so that we could all learn. I hope we are learning.

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  20. Love this series and I just came here for the first time! My husband and I have been debating taking Ramsey’s Financial Peace class, its just a matter of finding a night we can. Can’t wait to read all of your frugal financial tips & tricks! It is encouraging to see other families ‘ living like no one else’, because sometimes I am tempted to give up. But in the end I know we’ll be so much better off! :)

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    Jens Reply:

    So glad you found my little spot in blogland. I can’t recommend his series enough….it’s life changing for many. :) If you want to be encouraged on “Being weird,” you’ve found the right place. Come join us…

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  21. Our first couple of years of marriage were spent accumulating debt on credit cards due to difficult work circumstances, and one stupid financial decision after another. Finally in January of this year we were able to pay off our debt by refinancing our house. Obvious, the downside being that we lost $40,000 in equity but gained a little financial freedom. One thing I’ve learned is that no matter how little debt you have, there never really seems to be enough money. We are back to being about $4,000 in debt and my biggest fear is going back to that place where it was either pay bills or eat. We have two children now and that makes it that much more scary. My husband works a commission only job and I’m on maternity leave but desperately wanting to stay home with the kids. I just don’t know how we can do it!

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  22. 90% is a number that surprised me.

    You’re tackling a tough topic. *applause*

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  23. Thanks so much for addressing this tough subject. My husband and I are debt free including our mortgage. He just recenty lost his job and it’s been nice that I don’t have to worry. We have savings that we are able to use and are truly relying on God to provide exactly what we need at exactly the right time.

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  24. Such great advice. I am thankful for my husband, who reigns me in when I’m tempted to over spend. :-) Right now we are debt free except for mortgage, and I’m thankful, but it takes constant self discipline to stay here. Thanks for the encouragement on this topic! :-)

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  25. This is coming at a great time for us. I just left my job for medical reasons, and even if I do go back to work, it will be no where like before,a drop in the bucket. Thankfully, my husband is employed and we can get by on his income. I hate that in the 2 years I WAS working with high salary, we really didn’t end up any better off. Now it will have to be slow and steady.
    Bernice
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/ahh-the-american-dream/

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