Wednesday, February 4, 2009

September 1

So in looking back, I can see that on September 1 we took our first steps towards living like no one else. On that day, I emptied our savings account and left only $1000 towards as our "baby emergency fund". The rest of the money was put towards a smaller credit card bill that we never could seem to be done with. That was also the day that "blow" money was born, money in the pocket of ourselves to do fun things like stop and get coffee on the way to work, or grab a quick lunch at Taco Bell.

A lot of people start on the debt free wagon and decide to go full tilt and give themselves nothing to play with. In a perfect world, we would not have blow money....every last dime would go towards eliminating debt. But, as with any diet, if you starve yourself you are only setting yourself up for failure. So, by giving ourselves some blow money to play with, we ultimately spend less on crap than we did before. Once the blow money is gone, it's gone and that's all you have until the next paycheck cycle. It's really not all that bad and I love that we don't have to account to each other for it. So if I want to blow all of mine on yogurt parfaits at McDonalds, than I can and if Matt wants to blow all of his on $1.75 bottles of Diet Coke from the gas station, than he can. FREEDOM already! I love it!

Our first few months on plan weren't very eventful. We were just getting a feel for the debt snowball effect and trying to get a handle on where all of our money was going. As Dave says, you need to know where every dollar is going and what it's being spent on. A very humbling and embarassing examination of spending.

Once we had agreed that this was the direction our finances were following, we took the opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities as well. Our first order of business was to scrap our weekly "gift" to church. We were working with God's money and he's pretty clear about how that's supposed to work. He gives us 100% and asks that we work with 90% and give him back 10% joyfully. JOYFULLY--not because we have to, not because we were taught to, but because we are sons and daughters of the King and given unending love and grace. A new budget line was created and that check is the first check written every other week when it's time to do bills. We pay our Creator first and foremost, the rest of the debtors get in line behind Him.

September is good time to hop on the Ramsey wagon at our house since that's the month our annual bonus comes in from work and I get a small check for my annual raise that is retro back to July 1. We took that money and used it towards paying property taxes and to give our debt a little jumpstart.