This past year or two has been a period like none other. And we wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for our budget.
That’s an exaggeration. We would have made it, because the Lord promises to be with us through everything. But he also says we reap what we sow. Which means that there would have been a whole lot more stress and general unpleasantness if we hadn’t been in budgeting bootcamp for a number of years.
Merriam-Webster says discipline is “To train or develop by instruction and exercise especially in self-control.” Also, “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” And from Webster’s New World Dictionary: “training that develops self-control, character, or orderliness and efficiency.”
That’s the kind of discipline we’ve been going through for the past 6 years or so.
A while back, my husband and I awoke from a general stupor regarding our personal finances. We were approaching our 50s and realized that the way things were headed, we would not be retiring in our mid 60s. In fact, things looked dicey. Lots of debt – car loans, student loans, credit cards, home equity loan, all on top of a mortgage that was based on two full-time incomes. One of which ended.
My husband had taken a position with a non-profit organization to bring a more peaceful lifestyle to our family (Ha! – a story for another time), and had taken nearly a 50% cut in pay to do so. We’d never fully adjusted to the pay cut. And when we determined that, for our family’s sake, it was no longer healthy for me to remain in a stressful full-time job, it was time to get serious about finding solutions.
We began our own bootcamp shortly before our church went through Financial Peace University, the flagship course of personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. We went through a period of fasting and agreed that we needed to sell our home and move into something smaller. I’m sure Dave Ramsey would have been able to tell us that without the fasting.
No doubt I’ll talk more in the future about the details of our progress out of debt, but for now, let me say that it was learning to make a budget and truly live by it that made the difference for us.
Back to our past two years. Because of our training in budgeting, we were able to get through the weddings of two daughters (the second one is in a few weeks!), survive a period of unemployment after my husband resigned his position with no other job in sight, as well as move 3 times within 9 months – all while moving toward our financial goals.
We are not yet fully where we’d like to be financially, but we have a peace knowing that the Lord has trained us and continues to train us to bring him glory by living within our means. And we want to help others know that peace. That’s the story behind MyBudgetMentor. We are designing a safe, encouraging place for people to learn how to make realistic budgets and discover the sense of peace and control that comes from actually living by them to reach their financial goals.
We’d love to hear your experiences with budgeting, your hopes, your fears, and your questions, so please comment below. We’ll read them all. Welcome!