So I failed, horrible, miserable, awful failure. Not that we were lacking in absolute fun this week, I just managed never to have a camera and since Sean and I have boring pre-paid phones, a camera in my phone just doesn't work. (Sad I know but 100.00 for over 4 months of phone use per person instead of 100.00 per month for two phones, yes please!) So, we will see, I can't make any promises but I thought instead I would tell you what happened! (It does get personal!)
So last Sunday I went online to check our bank accounts to pay our tithing and I was met with a huge shock. Our accounts were down to bone dry. Now we do have a reserve in a savings account like that Debt reducer guru said but as for the spending account, it was pitiful. I was in shock and needless to say, not in a good mood. I paid my tithing because no matter what, it gets paid but began to feel really sorry for myself. I see all those around me and I feel like they circumstances are getting better. I actually have been complaining to anyone who would listen about this. Now I love all my friends and I am so excited for them to be moving up in the world but I, like everyone, see this and throw myself a little pity party (complete with confetti and everything.) Are Sean and I just completely missing the boat on life? How is everyone around able to afford nicer things when we live in a trailor and just barely scrap by? Sean is a college graduate and so far, our income is still pretty low.
During the course of last Sunday, I got this idea to print out the transaction record of the last three months. I was going to highlight all the transactions into bills/gas, deposits, monthly budget, and excess spending. Boy was I shocked. (If you ever want to have a deep look at yourself, do this!) Over two thirds of our spending was excess. Now I like to make myself feel better by telling myself what Sean tells me "You never make a bad purchase, just sometimes you purchase things at the wrong time." But I knew the truth. I am a shopaholic. When I get stressed, I trudge out to the thrift store for some retail therapy. Now, I am not saying I buy 200.00 shoes, most things I buy are .99 or 1.49 but after multiple trips to the thrift store, it adds up to a lot of excess spending.
When I looked over the amount we had spent I realized that if we had saved up that money, we would have been able to pay off half of what we owe on our 2009 Honda Fit. What a shock. So right then and there I made a few goals:
1. Declutter my home
2. Do NOT go to a thrift store in 30 days (my straitener decided to poop out on me yesterday :-(!)
3. Make and stick to a budget
4. Go out to eat once a week
I am happy to say that I stuck to my goals this whole week. Sean and I set up a budget and plan on taking all of our excess money and put it towards paying off our car. After the car is done, all we have is student loans.
I made a realization while I was going through this process. I had been complaining about how the Lord wasn't blessing us in monetary things. Our financial life has been increasing but slowly. Not as fast as I would like but it has. I realized that the blessing didn't lie in what we had, but it was in what we didn't have. Sean and I have absolutely no credit card debt. We have a car payment but we have been trying to pay it off as things present themselves (taxes and extra income). The Lord blessed us in that he protected us from ourselves. We never spent ourselves into a giant hole (well me more then Sean). I can just imagine that he was up there watching over us and just putting the hand to the forehead and thinking "Come one Meyer family get it together!"
So this week, instead of packing the kids up and heading off to the thrift store everyday, we went off and did things around town that cost nothing. We went to the zoo on Monday where we played in the water and saw the Grizzly Bears. On Tuesday we went to the local mall where they have a preschool type thing that had open gym right when we walked into the mall so we played there and at a small play area in the mall. On Wednesday we went our wards play day and then to the lake in the evening. On Thursday we went back to the zoo (thanks mom and dad for the membership for Christmas!) where this time we walked the Tropics Trail, the Minnesota Trail, and went to the barn. On Friday we rented a row boat (as a family), took it out to the island and at a picnic then went back to the play ground. On Saturday all of us went to the State Fair!
It was a busy week but we enjoyed ourselves. I enjoyed my kids so much more. I felt happier and at more peace with where we are in life. I have beautiful children and a hard working husband. I have couponed food on my table and a roof over my head. I have the gospel to show me the tender mercies that the Lord does bestow on my family. I need to learn how to be a better steward over what I have and quit complaining about what I don't have. I truly believe that when the right time comes, we will have a beautiful house with a white picket fence. But for now, we live in our tiny little trailer and our purpose in life is to ...... pay off our debt. Which we will do.
Sorry for the long drawn our story but I wanted to write it in hopes that if anyone feels like I do, they can draw strength from the knowledge that they are not alone. I am here and we will get through this together!