Saturday, April 14, 2012

We are Dave Ramsified!

Or in other words, DEBT FREE!!

Besides our house.

But other than that? We don't even have a car payment!!

Let me go back a bit.

When we started our adoption journey with Sage, we were blessed to be able to pay for MOST of our adoption.

But not all of it. So we just "made payments" on a small loan.

Then, when I saw Maverys face? Well, that was one of many of Mark's hold ups.

We were not quite done paying those payments from our first round. And there was no sight of any big money coming to pay even part of her adoption.

So, we did what many people do when they need adoption money.

We did some fundraising.

But that did not cover it all, or even close.

We took out a loan.

We went in debt. 

Then Mavery came home and needed so many things.

Praise God her first heart surgery was covered by our amazing insurance.

But her attachment therapy was not. Nor was her Sensory Processing Therapy. Not to mention the other 4 kids and their needs.

Marks amazing insurance turned not so amazing, and in fact we took a pay cut with the economy cutting out, well, some of the paycheck we were used too.

But that did not mean our bills stopped. You know heart surgeries are pretty necessary when the doctor orders them. As are Mark's brain scans each year.

So that small debt grew bit by bit.

Add to all of this that in our relationship Mark has always been the money person. Me, not so much.

My theory is, he makes it, I spend it.

It worked well for me. Till I had to return from the spending.

About a year ago I was pushing another adoption.

Mark was not and it was the money, the money, the MONEY.

Mainly the lack of and debt we were in.

My reasoning was, LOTS of people live in debt. It is the American way after all.

And really, would God look down on us for spending money we do not have on an ORPHAN?

But when we were praying over this child last year, something clicked.

If it was all about the money standing in our way, well, I could fix that.

And so the Lord changed my heart and opened my eyes to MY spending.

He brought out the sin of our debt.

He showed us that we were a slave to our debt.

And I refuse to be a slave to anyone besides Jesus Christ.

We felt we needed to put the house up for sale to start. We would sell the house, downsize and that would help us to get it paid off.

So we put it up, and NOTHING happened. Lord, what is the deal??

Then our church offered a class called the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

Which cost $100 just to join. Seemed like a total rip off to me when you are trying to SAVE $$.

But we went. And while we had been doing pretty well on our own, the class was exactly what we  I needed.

Sure, Mark learned quite a few things too, though he had always been good with money and investing.

But me? I learned much more.

The number one thing I learned?

By submitting to the budget, I was submitting to my husband. 

I could SEE the burden on my husbands shoulders lifted when I stayed in our budget each week.

We had no more fights about money.

Well ok, we had fewer fights about money.

Because I am still a girl. Who likes to shop.

But let me tell you, when you ONLY use cash? It changes everything.

Shopping is not nearly as much fun when I know that the cash I carry is IT for the week.

We put Dave Ramsey's rules into practice. We followed his debt snowball.

We were frustrated when it seemed that EVERYTHING was breaking down while we were TRYING to save money.

But we first saw the light when our van needed work. $600.00 of work.

We had $500 already put away in our car emergency fund.

It did not hurt hardly at all when all we had to come up with was that extra $100.

It actually felt REALLY good.

We were doing well and figured we were on target to pay off our debt by the end of 2012. Which was a miracle when just 6 months before we had our house for sale and were ready to downsize!

And then, Mark's work gave him a bonus.


Marks first words to me were, do not think we now have money.

Our budget stays the same.

And I get that. I am GOOD with that.

While we are thankful God allowed us to stay in our house and pay off our debt, it still is a higher payment/tax payment than we want. But it is ok, we budget for that.

We are saving up cash for the car we need to purchase.

We are putting as much away as we can for college. Weddings. Life.

AND we know God has put a calling on our lives for orphans. We have no idea what that looks like, but we want to be ready when we need to be. If it is simply to GO on mission. OR if it is bring more home.

Now, I know that MANY people will say, WELL, my husband does not get a bonus (true story, said to me today). Or we just don't make enough to save or blah, blah, blah.

Yes, Mark has a good job with a nice paycheck. BUT. We also have some nice sized bills to pay with that paycheck.  I don't take for granted what the Lord has blessed us with financially.

AND I do not doubt for ONE MINUTE that GOD gave Mark that bonus.

Maybe, because we were willing to lay it down. Give up our house. Not go on vacation. Give up our free spending habits. I.HAVE.NO.IDEA.

But I do know it was from Him and I will sing His glory.

It also makes me angry. IF we had learned the rules when we were young and starting out, where would our lives be now?

Giving away more, I hope.

 Sending teenagers on mission trips that so badly want to go but can't afford it. (something on my heart)

Going to China a few times a year to love on orphans.

Maybe adopting MORE.

No looking back though. Instead we look forward.

To a life honoring to God and remembering it is all from Him.


Mom to my China Posse said...

Yipee! Andy wants to start that. Is there a web site or book to follow dave Ramseys plan? I am happy for you Shannon, your one of the truest people I have ever met and Im proud your my friend. I can't wait to see what god has in store for you!

Janell said...

I just signed up yesterday after reading your post. I have been thinking about it for over a year. I know a few people that have gone through the class, but kept thinking it wasn't the right time, I had too much already on my plate. After reading your post I signed up. I work and am taking college classes and I was able to get a discount on the online class. I started last night and did the first in the series. I can't wait to get home today and do the next one. Thanks for your post, it was what finally made me do it now.