Thursday, December 17, 2009


Last night was the last class in Financial Peace University and we did in fact graduate. It was a great experience to actually go through the full 12 weeks with a group of people instead of just reading and doing it on our own. I am a chatty one though, so the small groups made the class way more enjoyable by far.

Right now is a tough time of year to really stay "on plan" for us, so the classes were perfectly timed. Matt works full time for part of the year, but we are currently in the slow time, so there isn't much money to roll into the snowball.

The best take-away from the class had to be that we finally developed a very real, very living, working budget for our family. I created a nice budget spreadsheet in Excel that takes our gross income and calculates out our tithe (since it varies depending on Matt's check), and then lists all of our obligations for that 2 week time period. It is set up to tell me how much I need to take out of the bank in cash (groceries, gas, entertainment money, blow money, household money) and how much is left after bills that we need to move into the snowball. Since we have very few debts left, the workbook is pretty much a cut and paste from the previous month with just a few minor changes here and there. Dave isn't lying when he says that once you get it down to a science, it will go much faster. It used to take me at least an hour to get it all straight, and now it's way less than 10 minutes! And it's so much faster to balance my checking account now that I only have a few large transactions to really work with and balance out.

The budget workbook has also helped us stay very faithful in our tithing to our church, and we have not had to dip into our emergency fund at all! We have taken the test and God has shown us that if we are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to us, and has provided for all of our needs plus some these past 12 weeks.

Hopefully our church will offer FPU again and now that I've been through it as a student, I would love to do more than just help with one of the smaller groups.