The Money Talk…Blah

Hey guys!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I also hope you are taking advantage of the this dreary day {if you live in the Midwest that is} to do some resting & relaxing before gearing up for a new week. As much as I do not enjoy the weekends coming to an all-to-abrupt halt, I do enjoy looking forward to a fresh week filled with different conversations, new experiences, and the opportunity to grow.

I have some pretty exciting news to share with you all, and it ties in perfectly well with today’s blog post regarding something I do not enjoy talking about  an extremely important thing to discuss…FINANCES. So I will wait to get through grime to get to the fun stuff.

Finances were not something we discussed very often growing up. I mean, we did when it was an issue, but it wasn’t something my parents really talked about proactively. With my dad being a pastor, we didn’t exactly sit around and create budgets on excel spreadsheets, or make accounts on Mint.com {great website by the way}. No, we talked about relationship things, matters of the heart, and Jesus. Which are awesome things to discuss and I am so thankful for all of those quality conversations. And I love my parents and everything they taught me.

I have just recently realized the value in bringing finances to light with the person you are in a relationship with. Now, I am not neglecting the importance of doing this when you are single by any means; just from personal experience, I have seen the fruit of openly discussing our personal financial situation in my relationship with Jordan. Trust me, this was all Jordan who brought this up, I had no desire to talk about such things.

After having a handful of conversations with him regarding this topic, I am finally starting to warm up to the idea of discussing these things. I still tell him “there are other things I would rather do than discuss where I am financially with you after a long day.” His response is always, “well would you rather do it before work?” In other words, he knows I am just making excuses and then after I complain a little, I settle in and in the end, am always glad we talked things out.

I don’t know about you guys, but while I was an undergrad student, I got sucked into those credit card deals. It seemed so perfect; buy whatever you want now, and just make at least the minimum payment every month, and you are golden. Sounds so great until the interest rate is 25% and you feel like you are hardly making a dent into paying that puppy off.

Oh and then you also assume, I am almost done with college and then I will get a job with a good salary and pay off my debt in no time. Well, look who is back in college, making a monthly stipend as a graduate assistant, which I am so blessed to be given, yet still not making a salary. It doesn’t exactly put you where you imagined years ago that you’d be. Even though I was able to keep up on my payments, I was still feeling very frustrated that I wasn’t getting very far.

So knowing that I will officially be done with school in about 4 months, and praying that I get a good job, I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But I still wanted a game plan to set myself up better for this next transition in life. And that is where Jordan stepped in. His wisdom financially and the fact that he has done things the “right” way his whole life when it came to finances, gave me the confidence to hear his advice. We also made sure to talk to people we trusted about debt to figure out the very best approach for me.

About 10 months ago, I cut up 4 credit cards. I kept 1 because it is Von Maur’s interest free card. I love VM & did not feel as though this was an issue to keep that card. It was such a great feeling throwing those away and using only my debit card or cash for all purchases. That meant saying goodbye to shopping or purchasing unnecessary things at Target merely because they were cute. I started living within my means and only using the money I had in my possession, not the money this credit card makes you feel like you have.

So that was my start, and since that decision, I have completely stuck to it. I have not once felt deprived of anything. I became more creative and realized I am no less joyful or filled up without the ability to swipe those cards. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Now, that was huge, but it was still tough not being able to make much more than the minimum payment.

So, I decided, after only really thinking and praying about it for about a day and a half, that my 4 runner which I loved, was not the most financially wise car for me to have right now. Yesterday, Jordan and I went perusing for cars just to “look” and hear out what offers are going on right now. All I knew was that I wanted lower car payments, better gas mileage, and possibly cash back so that I could pay off some credit cards.

Well, God works in amazing ways. After 4 hours of negotiating {all Jordan}, test driving, and weighing the pros and cons, I pulled the trigger. I have felt at such peace since I made the decision and I am SO excited to have the ability to pay 2 CC’s completely off andbe able to use the money I am saving in gas and with the lower car payments towards my 1 other credit card. The freedom I will and have already begun feeling not being bound by my debt is incredible.

Sure, it still makes me sad looking at my budget and realizing I have minimal funds for entertainment and other fun things, but I would much rather have that then be in debt. It was really difficult talking about where I was financially with Jordan, who is nowhere close to where I am. However, he approached me with such gentleness, acceptance, and grace. He looked at it as a challenge for us to take care of this and the opportunity for our relationship to grow through collaborating about this. We are on the same page with finances, have no secrets, and I working towards the same goal together.

It is extremely comforting knowing he has my back and loves me exactly for who I am and for my circumstances. We created my budget together and although he prefers to use electronic systems for tracking expenses and I prefer writing it down, it’s all the same at the end of the day. As long as I am sticking to my budget and communicating with him throughout it all, it is ultimately setting us up well as a couple.

I like cute things, and this is a cute way to write down expenses.
I like cute things, and this is a cute way to write down expenses.
http://imperfectlypolished.com/2012/09/21/financial-freedom-friday-how-to-start-planning-a-budget/

I really like Dave Ramsey’s approach to finances and I wanted to share a few of his quotes with you all…

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

“Pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you.”

So, if you are somebody who was feeling weighed down by having to make monthly payments towards your debt, maybe I was able to make you feel a little less alone in this battle. Every individual handles finances a different way and all couples discuss different matters, but I know personally for Jordan and I, this was huge for our relationship. We can encourage each other and know where each other’s money is going.

I wish I could post a picture of my new new, cute, VW Passat, but I won’t have it in my possession until Monday or Tuesday. I will be sure to include a photo next time! It is spacious, zippy, and just fun.

Have a blessed week everyone! Thank you so much for listening to me. I know finances are not glamorous to talk about. But I am putting my trust in the Lord because I know he will always provide if I am faithful.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:19

Let your light shine!

-Abby Dawn

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