12.05.2016

Battling the Snowball of Debt

God works in funny and amazing ways. Often when He is working in my life I do not immediately recognize it but when I reflect back on events I see His footprints every step of the way.

Last month I got myself into a snaffu. I HATE debt and in my mission to just get out of it I made a wonderful payment and paid of my lounger and felt oh so happy until the next day I realized something. I totally forgot about the auto payment of my car loan. Oops. Everything went through but we immediately went from my self-imposed comfort living zone of living paycheck to paycheck to one that is a wee bit too tight for my comfort.

I became the freaky, stressed out, way too serious mom and wife and can't say that I like that mom. Geesh! She is no fun! No more splurging, tighten those belts, remember the reason for the season. Do not spend one penny.

Thanks be to God I already had darling daughter's Christmas gifts bought and paid for so that was one worry I did not have but it meant I needed to really focus on those extra dollars. Our grocery budget. Those little $3 here and there of treats and impulse purchases that add up to the snowball of debt.

Call me crazy, but I am kinda happy this happened. In a weird sort of way.

I have learned so much over these weeks of struggle and my mind was finally opening up to hear words of financial wisdom from others. Things like the RedCard and Cartwheel at Target. Things I never listened to. Hey, this momma doesn't want or need another credit card and don't try to con me in with that 5% off my purchase when I sign up. Not listening. Made up my mind. Nope, nope, nope.

What?! It is 5% off your purchases ALWAYS?! Seriously?! Always! And it doesn't HAVE to be a credit card (with no annual fee), you can link it to your bank account and still benefit? And this Cartwheel thing....ummmm.....it's like digital coupons for the kid that grew up cutting coupons for her mom. Fun! I mean, seriously? (And nope, not being paid by Target to say this but Target, if you wanted to pay me, that would be okay. Just saying....)

Come on, did you cut coupons for your mom? I remember the stacks and stacks of them to go through. She taught us which to cut when we saw them and sometimes we asked, "What about this one?", and sometimes we, well at least me!, cut out one or two or three for a special treat we may like. You know, like Lucky Charms. Hmmm...maybe if Mom has this coupon she will buy me some!

I don't know if my ploy ever worked. She never said anything. But I do know, yep, sometimes those Lucky Charms showed up and maybe it is because it was a magically delicious deal where coupons were doubled and tripled and the cereal was already on sale and my mom was able to get it for a steal! Maybe. (Yes, that really happened. You always shopped on double and triple coupon days!)

But that is the kind of fun darling daughter got to feel when I said, okay, I will buy you some Goldfish. It was a swimming good deal with a sale price and Cartwheel savings and RedCard savings and I stayed within my very tight but not too bad budget. Seriously, $38 for groceries for a week is good for a mom who was paying $200 or more a week. This coming week will be a "big" week with Costco on the plan but I am empowered and strong. No. I will not spend $400. Imagine if I could cut down that trip to $200! Oh the happy chills and dancing butterflies I see swirling magically around me with a delightful fairy dust!

We are eating well and being creative with our meals. I am looking at our protein sources and focusing on those with more bang for the buck. Thank goodness we love eggs and tofu and don't rely on meat too much. That can add up; however, I just may splurge on Tony Roma's ribs at Costco if they have them in stock for our Christmas dinner. Wouldn't that be cool?!

And darling daughter is more excited about her few and meaningful gifts but totally cracked up when I went over budget on our angel gifts yesterday (where I took advantage of 50% off Cartwheel deals and more). We ALWAYS buy gifts for two kids who are less fortunate from the angel tree at church. I do not care how desperate finances may seem. This WILL NOT be cut. I set a budget and we headed off, darling and I, to pick the sweetest gifts we can think of and this year, just like last year, my heart swelled, my eyes teared up, and I thought about how tight money is for us.

Then I thought about other families. Families were money can be tighter. Moms who may be facing the same struggles I am but do not have gifts for their kids and I cried. Yes, I cried in the middle of the store (and am crying now) thinking, somehow we will survive. God has blessed me so abundantly and I will take these blessings and share them even if it means adding on more weeks of super budget friendly meals and no fancy coffee flavors for me.

And then today I got the greatest gift! I got to sit down with paychecks and bills and looked at them front and center. I did not feel my heart racing like usually, I just said, okay, how can I do this? And I made some amazing payments that made me do the happy dance AND I was able to see my path for the next couple of months. My snowball is not growing anymore. It is stabilizing and dare I say it, God willing, shrinking!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my husband, his job, and my jobs.

Daily Bible Verse: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5

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