Thursday, February 18, 2010

Financial Goals: Thankfulness and Contentment

First, let me say I am sorry for the lack of posts this week but earlier this week my computer was on the verge of  a slow death and we had to get it fixed.  So, now we are back and I am very excited and thankful!

This morning I was spending time with the boys and I realized just how blessed we are.  As I have shared previously, this is the year that we are really trying to attack our debt and be debt free as well as have some savings in the bank by May 2011.  There are many components that have gotten us on this track and that are helping us to keep it going.  As I played with the boys I was thinking about all of these things and how thankful I am for them and how I really am finding contentment (in a healthy way) of where we are.  I wanted to share this list with you:

 I am Thankful For:

1) Using Coupons-It has been just over a year that I really began using coupons for almost everything that we buy and it has changed how we live and how we spend money.  If this is your first time visiting you will learn very quickly how much I love couponing and love helping others use them too.  On my sidebar you will also see a list of coupon savvy individuals who have influenced our family, and still do to this day in using coupons!

2) Our Stockpile-This is made up of predominately products that I have spent $1 or less (more often they have been free) for brand name products for both our groceries and household goods.  Most of these purchases were made using a coupon or two paired with a great sale at the drugstore or grocery store.  Currently this week, we have no real needs except for diapers.  It feels good to know we are stocked up on our necessities and that what we don't spend in our grocery/household budget can go more towards paying down our debt!

3)Resources and Wisdom of Others:  Most of what I have learned about using coupons, becoming more frugal in our living, and living debt free has been from the wisdom of others.  I wish that I could thank each one individually for what I have learned and am still learning in all the areas above.  Those that have contributed to our education in these areas have been:  Money Saving Mom, Southern Savers, Hip2Save, Dave Ramsey's podcasts,  friends and mentors committed to our family to name only a few.

4)Community of others: Since I started using coupons a year ago I began to become more acquainted with the internet community and sharing and learning with others all over the world.  Just a few months ago (4 months actually)I began writing and sharing on my blog about couponing in order to help others.  I knew nothing about blogging or what I was doing as a blogging newbie.  I still know very little, but I am learning and in this learning  I have found community with other women doing the same at SavvyBlogging.  Last but not least, I am thankful for the community we have from our family, friends, fellow campus ministry staff and college students that we have been unbelievably blessed with.

5)The Bible:  Especially as we are dealing with our personal debt and learning to live more frugally I am encouraged by the Word of God.  Paul says in Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  Contentment is a battle that I see in my life daily but with the Word of God I feel better equipped to face this it.

6)Our jobs:  In addition to using coupons for just about everything, my husband and I realized that some other things needed to be done to get rid of our debt.  My husband and I have been on staff with a college ministry for several years but we knew something had to change for us to move forward in our finances so he got a second job at Starbucks (until our debt was paid). His employers  were willing to work with his ministry schedule and we have been truly blessed by this arrangement.   This helped a lot, but we recognized at the end of the year last year, that if our goal was to be debt free by May 2011 we needed to do something else.  We then came up with a more aggressive plan where I would  get a small part-time job, short term until we got out of debt.  And the Lord has blessed us with just that, a 15 hour a week job, where BJ can stay with the boys and work on ministry responsibilities or college students have volunteered to babysit for us for free(you guys are awesome)!  Though at times it is difficult working on top of our already busy lives, we know in the end the purpose will be fulfilled, our debt will be paid off and we will be free!

7)Our Family:  Our family has been such a blessing in meeting needs out of the generosity of their hearts.  My mom has blessed us with clothes for the boys and so many helpful things that are even too numerous to share them all.  BJ's parents have been so gracious and surprised us with gifts for the boys, clothes, ink for our printers and much, much more.  All of this has helped us not spend money on these items and use it to go towards our debt.  Thank you!

8)Each other:  I am so thankful we are on this journey together.  We got ourselves in a mess and we will have to work to get out of the debt.  We are both having to work hard and sacrifice by adjusting our lifestyle and time together in order to get to where we are going.  I am grateful to have a husband who is supportive and loving and who is committed to being freed from the cloud of debt we have lived under.

9)A Plan: I feel like for the first time we have a plan of action.  In the past we have had desires, strong desires to get rid of our debt and live a more frugal lifestyle but for the first time we have an actual plan.  A plan that seems to be working!  It is only the second month into our aggressive pay-off plan but there are signs of progress and it is very exciting!

10)The Lord:  Though I have waited to share this last, He is the first and greatest thing I am thankful for!  Without the grace the Lord has given us, I do not believe any of this would have been possible.  The way our jobs have worked out, the community we have, our families, and  the resources that we have found out about (including couponing)  really has been a gift from the Lord and for all of this I have much to be thankful for, first and foremost to Him!

We still have a long way to go but we also have much that we are thankful for!  Even in the midst of difficult circumstances what are you learning to be thankful for?  How are things going in your financial goals?  I would love to hear about them!

Photo Credit: Robb North

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