Monday, September 17, 2007

Adult Growth Network: Financial Peace University

This fall, our church is offering "Financial Peace University" as part of the Growth Network. As I have shared before in this blog, Cindy and I have read "The Total Money Makeover" and are finally on the same page when it comes to our finances.

For many years, my idea of being responsible was making sure that the mortgage, electricity, gas, cable, direct tv bills got paid and that there was money for groceries and gas. Beyond that, the money could go where ever it wanted (and it would). Cindy saw the other side of the picture: doctor visits, birthday gifts, hair appointments, extra curricular activities.

When we started our baby steps, we were very fortunate. We had $7,000 tied up in a car, visa and a kohl's charge card. We had about $1,800 in savings. Baby Step one was to have $1,000 in an emergency fund. The hardest part of baby step one was taking $800 out to pay of the Kohl's account and put some onto visa. We finished Baby Step two in march when we received our refund from taxes and was able to pay of the remainder.

What really changed here was our mindset and that we did a zero dollar budget on paper, on purpose, before the start of each month. That means, we put each dollar of my paycheck into a category (including one called blow). The first few months were hard, but we have gotten better at this with each new month. The second biggest difference was moving more towards cash than the visa debit/check card. Not for all categories, but mainly food (grocery/restaurant) and blow.

So I was really excited about starting FPU. I had met the coordinators and the husband was about as weird as I was. In my mind, I was ready for this: I had read the books, listened to the radio shows. You could (and still can) call me a Dave Fan.

And then I started hearing the stories from people I know. And started hearing their situations with money, with getting spouses on board. I realize now that I had it rather easy. For us, Baby Step one was a passing second, for some people, this is going to represent months of savings. I felt really bad for my pre-class attitudes. I envisioned going in and everyone was going to be like me! But there are people who are really hurting, even in the walls of our church. I felt ashamed, and that night was face down praying for forgiveness of my attitude and for the people in the class. I don't want to be like one of Job's friends, but I do want to tell them that there is hope. Just stick with it. Something like that.

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1 comment:

Todd Vick said...

Tracy and I need to follow your footsteps. We are being managed by our debt instead of vice-versa.