Joel and I have always fancied ourselves a team. We even call ourselves “Team Reed” on occasions such as packing successfully for trips, working together, kicking our neighbors butts at the “Newly Wed Game” etc.
On the subject of money we are a little more like the recent events at Dale Earnhardt Inc. – constant negotiations, power struggles, and most recently, Independence.
This independence has come in the form of a book recommended to us by our friends Dean and Sarah. “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. Money is a touchy subject – it makes most of us sick to our stomachs, literally. We stick our heads in the sand and pretend “it” isn’t happening, we impulse buy – even if it’s a cup of coffee to make us feel good, we whine that there is never enough (even though there 168 hours in the week with which to make it – one hundred and sixty eight!!!!!!!) we have bought the lie that we need loans and credit cards and new cars…
This book is a reverse brain washing. Dave works hard to re-program you from thinking you need credit, that you will never own your home, that retirement is for only a select few and on down the line. After doing so, you find yourself fully convicted about your 30 or 15 year mortgage, about your credit cards that you think you need “in case of emergency”, about your desire for anything more than a point A to point B car if you are in debt – even about your daily debit card use.
In our house money was a constant point of stress. We have experienced it all from 6 weeks with no work to jobs larger than we could have imagined. We knew we were blessed, after all we took a skill like painting improved it beyond our wildest dreams, increasing our demand and making it so we were no longer in competition with “Joe (Jose) Blow Painter” but with top faux-finishers in the area but there was little money for anything beyond bills and paying them was like pulling teeth every month – a dreaded wait in the lobby (checking the account to see if we had the funds) and then blood everywhere!
We knew we made too many trips to Panera and Target but we could not figure out where all our money was going and on months where Joel had little or no work it was as though a cloud hung over our house, I lost sleep and Joel’s self esteem plunged.
I read this book last year in two days and have longed for Joel to read it since. After another one of our thrice-yearly money melt-downs I pleaded with him to pick up this book and try this plan with me (it is IMPOSSIBLE to do it if only one spouse is on board.) He is half way through the book but far enough along that this house has made a COMPLETE turn around with our finances and we have never felt more free.
Dave outlines a budget – yes the dreaded “B” word and we are following to a “T”!
Like a four year old that is happier after a swift and much needed spanking we are happier and feel completely liberated by submitting to this plan.
We have one our of three credit cards paid off (and we have only been at it for four weeks! – they are not huge by any means but they are credit card debt none-the-less, gnawing at us and growing larger every few months) we still have a truck to pay for, but we are on our way! We have had a garage sale, Joel work 12 days in a row two weeks ago on a grueling outdoor job, and there is now a for sale sign on the 2.5 acres we act like we “own” down in Georgia.
By the Grace of God we are paying cash in advance for the midwife we are using for this next baby and we are now saving every week for things like new tires, wedding clothes, family vacations and even big bills that bog us down every month like Blue Cross Blue Shield. Joel has a beer allowance, I have a Target allowance for cleaning supplies and marked down clothes for Aidan. All of the sudden there is money in the Reed House to do what needs to get done. It is VERY strange.
This did not come without a lot of stress and tears (and almost blood!). We have done our budget twice now (last night we just finished the second month) – the first time was as difficult as Dave said is would be – we yelled, I cried, threw the pencil a few times but most good things come with a price and we were more than ready to confess our money sins at the Cross and subject ourselves to discipline and to heed the advice from someone older and wiser. The Bible says a fool does not heed wisdom and friends, the last thing I EVER want anyone to say about me is that I was a fool. (Plus, we had already seen it work for our friends, paying off two cars and all their debt except their house in about a year.)
The cool thing about this plan is that it works with little or fluctuating income, it works for single moms and people in their 60’s. I PRAY that EVERY PERSON that reads this blog would grab the book as fast as they can sit down in prayer together, confess your fear and recklessness with money and get right with God and your bank account.
I swear the Lord has seen our effort and is showing his favor to us – the phone continues to ring with jobs and we have such a peace about money – it is really unbelievable.
Dave’s book is not a Christian book per se but he is one and quotes the Bible throughout – “The borrower is a slave to the lender” is no joke. Christians should be the most free people on the planet – how can we shine as we should when we are so burdened by money and creditors and a lack of control when we walk into Target?
Dave says, live like no one else does today so you can live like no one else does tomorrow. I for one would like to be in my late 30’s or early 40’s with no debt, no mortgage, able to give freely and obscenely to my church, able to bless a single mom when she needs it, able to take my children to far off places and able to be in agreement with my husband in this area. Team Reed all the way!
I know I speak boldly after only such a short time but if you could feel the fresh air in the Reed house you would speak boldly too. OK, now you’ve read my blog – remember, a fool is someone who hears wisdom and does nothing about it! Click on the book to buy it it now!