Introducing...."Money Monday"




Because so much of our life right now is centered up on our Financial Peace class and starting the journey to becoming debt-free by cutting up the credit cards and solely using cash, and because a few of you out there have asked me either how it's going and to share tidbits we learn along the way, I thought I should start a weekly update on how things are going.

Truly...there is so much info to share and so many amazing and providential stories, I want to make sure I have a place to capture it all and put it down for me...and yes, for you.

See...I figure that if our journey can be any sort of inspiration or example of God's goodness, then I'm all for that. And since Monday starts with "M" too...well, that's a no-brainer.

So, every Monday, I'm going to let you know how the week went, any insights or new things we learned in our class (we go on Sunday evenings) and any progress or provision we've experienced.

When I started to write this, I realized I had way to much to share and say, so I am going to divide this into two parts -- one for today, and one for tomorrow (and yes, I realize it will be Tuesday and no longer the spiffy Monday for "Money Monday," but I'm betting you'll give me grace this once.).

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This week....which ended Saturday since yesterday (Sunday) marked the beginning of week 4...has been pretty amazing.

In my last blog post about this topic (and you'll find all my related posts down below), I mentioned that God has not only provided a way for us to get replacement tires at an extremely affordable price, we also got some "free" rewards card money in the mail that just helped add some more "fun money" into the mix.

What I haven't shared it is how difficult and impossible Baby Step #1 of the Financial Peace method (getting $1,000 saved as an "emergency fund" in savings) has felt for us since we've started this process. Truly, our budget is squeaky tight. So tight we have not saved hardly anything in the last few years. There just hasn't been anything left over.

Which was the problem. We were waiting for leftovers to fund our savings...and by the time it got to the end of the month, there was nothing to save.

Now that we're allocating every penny (starting this month -- October), we were able to put $150 aside for the emergency fund. We were shocked that we had that much money to put aside (it's a lot to us). And honestly, even as we transferred it into savings to start that emergency fund, I think we both secretly were wondering just how long it would last in there. Because our track record isn't good.

We overspend.

We overdraft in savings.

We overspend that.

We overdraft into an overdraft loan.

It's a downward spiral that we've been caught in too many times. But, here's the thing...it's the middle of the month and we still have $150 in our emergency fund!  And that's not all.

Taking a page from some of our fellow "classmates," we looked around the house and found some items to sell on Craigslist. Our total take so far to date....$60 for two used and no longer needed baby items. And we have more items listed...and a few more to list.

So then we we're up to $210!

And then...on Friday...someone gave us a $500 check! Yeah...you read that right. $500! When we expressed our shock and somewhat reluctance to accept their generous gift, they said, "just put it into savings for when you need it."

What???

Just like that...we have $710 in our emergency fund with only $290 to go before it's fully-funded. And what seemed impossibly and unlikely to happen in the near future is all of a sudden attainable.

It's unbelievable!

But then, at the same time...it's completely believeable.

We asked.

We are obeying.

We are waiting.

God has said to ask and He will give us the desires of our heart. It's amazing to know that once our will (financially speaking) is in line with His, He will come alongside of us to bring blessing and provision!

And then we'll be on to Baby Step #2, Paying Off Debt with the 'Debt Snowball.'

Another thing that happened this week was a call to hear and obey the voice of the Lord to do something that seemed crazy and almost counter-intuitive to what we've been learning in FPU. This summer, our church went through the video series and book, The Blessed Life, by Robert Morris. In this series, Pastor Morris encourages believers to be responsible with their money by tithing and being financially stable enough to be able to give when God tells you to give -- and sometimes on the spur of the moment, in lavish amounts...and even when the provision doesn't seem to be there.

This has been something that has always been on my heart. I love to give money to different causes and organizations. However, we seem to have less and less funds available to do it. In addition to being amazed at our ability to allocate some money into our emergency fund, another amazing thing that we saw this month as we allocated out all of Rylie's paycheck is that we truly do have money to allocate for "charitable causes." I just know that as we are responsible and obedient with our finances, God will be able to trust us with more, because we've proven to be faithful.

Anyhow, however, this month, some expenses came up that caused us to have to reallocate that money out of charitable gifts and into another "envelope." It really made me sad to do it.

As I was in the shower last week (where I do my deep thinking), I was wishing that we could find some money to send to my aunt and uncle who were going to be leaving on a missions trip to Tanzania in a matter of days. I thought in my head (knowing our financial picture)...."if we could just send $20, that would be great. Just $20, God!" 

In that moment, almost audible, I heard that recognizable voice of God say, "Give them $50!"

"Nah...that can't be God," I thought. "That must just be me talking to myself. However...I was thinking $20. Fifty dollars seem pretty excessive knowing what our budget looks like this month. Hmmm..but what if it wasn't me?"

"Give them $50!"

"Okay...that's weird....I'm being pretty insistent with myself if this is just me talking. God, if this is you could you make sure I know that..."

"Give them $50!" 

Okay...I'm embarrased that it took me 3 times to finally get with the program, but I did. I talked to Rylie about it and without hesitation he said, "Do it...send them $50!"

So, I did. I took reallocated it from another envelope for a special event we had planned later in the month -- a date for my birthday to be specific -- and I told God...

"Here...this is for you. Use it. I trust you to either bring in the funds to replenish that envelope, or I will gladly give up my birthday date for the sake of someone else. Either way, I'm okay with it....more than okay, actually. Thrilled to be honest."

So fast forward to yesterday afternoon when Rylie's mom called me.

"Hey, Heather. I just wanted you to know that for your birthday, I want to babysit the kids and pay for you and Rylie to go out on a date. Would that be okay?"

(Insert huge smile on my face here!)

"Um, yes, Laura! Actually, that would be a complete answer to prayer!"

We continued to chat, and I was actually so overwhelmed by her gesture, that I didn't even really the chance to explain how timely and providential it was. But, I will. She has been woven into the tapestry of our financial adventure with God.

At this point, three weeks down and starting week 4, I feel like I've been overwhelmed by His love and affection. Now that I have experienced the closeness of that fellowship and can see how the "do it ourselves" mentality had really written him out of that equation and has not only dug us into debt, it has also actually hindered God from being allowed to work on our behalf. Now that we've removed that obstacle, it feels like that floodgate has been opened. And that river of blessing is so refreshing.

It's a seat-of-our-pants thrill ride because we are totally and completely dependent upon God and his provision. When he comes through for us in these big or small ways, it adds to the exhilaration.

This adventure is thrilling and yes, a bit terrifying too. But anyone can ride along.

The train is in the station....anyone else want to get on?


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*Check back tomorrow for Part 2 so that I can share the actual topical lessons we have learned.


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Related Posts About Our Financial Peace Journey (in order):
http://www.mosaicmomma.net/2011/10/financial-peace.html
http://www.mosaicmomma.net/2011/10/my-god-wink.html
http://www.mosaicmomma.net/2011/10/peace-like-river.html


For more info on Financial Peace, visit:
http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/preview/

For more info on using Inzolo -- an online and mobile "envelope system," tool, visit:
www.inzolo.com


For more info on The Blessed Life, visit:
http://theblessedlife.com/

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