We know exactly where our money is going!

In 2007, I doubled my income by going from nurse to a nurse practitioner. I specifically remember having a conversation with a physician friend of mine. She had asked me how I liked making all that money (basically, I had gone from making 50k a year to 100k a year, and even though my husband’s, a pastor, income had gone down a little when he changed churches, our family income was way up). All I could say was, “it doesn’t feel like we have that much more money at all. It’s all gone and we don’t know where it’s going.” And she agreed that no matter how much she made, she never felt like she had any. That really frustrated and upset me! But I felt helpless to do anything about it. A year later, we had bought a new truck and were working on paying off our one credit card, but we still had no idea how all the money was slipping through our fingers. The first year we were married, in 1995, we were working in non-profit organizations and made 17k together. 13 or so years later, that income was increased 5 times, and we had nothing to show for it! The summer of 2010, my husband drove several hours to pick up a puppy we had bought after our older dog died, and he picked up a show on the radio about money management. In the middle of nowhere, Texas, he heard his first Dave Ramsey show! He came home pretty excited and started watching the show on Fox Business. I admit that at first, I was reluctant. I felt like he was trying to control me-I’m the natural spender in the relationship. But I got to watching with him, and we bought Total Money a Makeover, and soon we saved our first 1k. I moonlighted to pay off that new truck in 18 months, and we paid off our dumb line of credit we had at the bank. We weren’t perfect-we used our big old income to simultaneously to build our emergency fund at the same time we worked on retirement and college savings, but it was working for us. Fast forward about 2 years, and because we were living on a budget and using (and loving) our envelopes, we were done with our emergency fund and debt free except for the house (about 2012). Because we were debt free, we were able to adjust our budget so that my husband could leave an unhealthy work situation and half his income without much of a hiccup for our family. It was so great to have him happy and at peace! Since that time, we have paid extra on our mortgage each month, and I am thrilled to say that tonight we received our paid in full email from the mortgage company. Now, we can continue to save for our retirement and our kids’ college funds (they are 13 and 11), and enjoy being debt free including the house! I think in our marriage, the biggest change that Dave Ramsey’s plan has brought us is that we rarely fight about money anymore. We know where each cent is going now: we meet for a hot “budget date” night about every 6 months or so or when our situation changes (like in January, I took a 20k pay cut so I could be home when the kids get home from school, and we just met and adjusted the budget and we were fine). If we have something we are saving for, we start setting money aside for it, like we have saved up $2,500 for a summer vacation-we added it to the envelope system last fall. I LOVE paying cash for vacations: no guilt and it makes them so much more fun!! God has blessed us so much over the years. We are so thankful that we found your plan when we did. Our kids’ lives will be changed forever, thanks to you! Giving to others and Jesus has always been a priority for us, but we are especially excited that for the next 4 months, our mortgage payments (or what would have been those payments) will be going to different charities-each family member gets to choose a month to give away. Then we will redo our budget again to factor in the extra money. Yay for us-WE’RE DEBT FREE!!

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