Saturday, September 24, 2011

How I became a Homemaker Pt. 2-- On a Wing and a Prayer

We left off junior year of college. Fast forward to the end of senior year. My last semester was student teaching. Our school specifically forbade working during this time, so Lubby worked as a temp which led to a full-time job. I had taken an extra semester to graduate, so he was done with his undergrad and was waiting for me to finish. Then we would move to Texas for Seminary.

It is pretty difficult to land a teaching gig in January, but I was basically offered my choice of two after student teaching. Lubby already had a job that was getting us by (although barely). We could now have two full-time incomes, but were so used to living on so little we would be able to save up a ton for our move. I fought very hard to stay in Oklahoma for those seven months and start Seminary in the fall.

Lubby felt strongly that God was calling us to move right away, however. So, with tearful submission, I forsook my worldly wisdom and we moved to Texas on a wing and a prayer-- no jobs, no prospects.

I started this blog not long after coming here. If you go back to the very beginning you'll see some of the things we did to get by. I worked as a substitute; I donated plasma; after a month or two, Lubby finally got a job as a waiter at Cracker Barrel. We were living on love and faith, taking just about any job we could to get by.

And we did get by. Eventually we even started to thrive a little bit. And for both of us, those "take whatever you can get" jobs were the avenue for major blessings...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How I became a Homemaker pt. 1-- The Very Beginning

I got married when I was 18. My husband (often referred to as "Lubby") and I were about to enter our junior year of college as full-time students. Starting out, we had a tiny bit of savings and I had a part-time job. Our expenses consisted of $350 for rent, about $75 for electricity, plus gas and food. After a few months Lubby got a part-time job as well. Our luxury expense was a $.99 drink from Sonic once a week.

We were poor, but not miserable. We didn't have cable or Internet (although we had it at school and could sometimes pick up the wifi from the apartment's clubhouse). We got help from family, who occasionally bought us "extravagant" groceries like hot chocolate mixes and paid for our cellphones on their family plan. We even lived with my parents for a while, though that's a whole other story.

One thing that had always been of the utmost importance to me was to stay at home with my kids. Lubby and I talked extensively about our future plans and how we were going to pull that off. We had two more years of school, plus two and a half years of Seminary for him. I would use my degree to work as a teacher while he was in school, then he would take over as provider and I could stay home.

Little did we know all of the adventures we would have in the mean time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You're Never Too Successful to Learn Something New

Financial Peace University is starting tonight at our church. I am beyond excited, especially because my husband and I have the great honor of helping facilitate the class.

I am always a little bit shocked (and dare I say slightly offended) when people are dismissive of the class. I shouldn't be, I know. I'm working on that part. But it always seems the conversation goes like this:

"I'm so excited to start FPU!"

"Oh? I know someone who did that. As for us, we already have it together. We only have one credit card. And I have to have a safe car, but our payment is affordable. We got a great interest rate because we have great credit. But good for you that you're doing it."

Now I know, I know; this person doesn't mean to be as condescending as they are coming across. Really, the sad part is this whole conversation is a product of double ignorance on their part: ignorance of my financial position and ignorance of the freedom that comes with having no payments and cash in the bank.

It seems to me that often people try to defend *not* taking the class when I mention that we're doing it.

The whole thing reminds me of freshman English 102 and our first introduction to Greek tragedy and hubris: that age-old self-pride which tells the hero that he can do it all himself and ultimately-- without fail-- leads to his demise. It is not so much inability, but a refusal to learn. After all, it takes humility to learn; you must admit what you think is correct may not be so.

If you don't take Dave Ramsey's advice, you may still succeed with money. But if your attitude is that of "I have nothing to learn from anybody" you will almost certainly fail at life.

I encourage everyone to take this class. I believe everyone, no matter how successful, can learn something from it. But if you don't want to take the class, please don't act like you've got it all figured out and the rest of us poor plebeians should go ahead.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Taking the Plunge

You know that feeling when you jump from a great height into a freezing cold body of water? The shock of the temperature; the surge of adrenaline; the deep, desperate gasp of air as your face finally breaks the surface and you can breathe again?

Isn't it wonderful? That is my life.

For about two weeks I have officially been a home maker. I say two weeks not because I just started, but because two weeks ago summer break ended, teachers returned to work, and I didn't.

Like the hot, miserable soul, I dove into a freezing river.

It is a great and glorious feeling full of excitement mixed with the tiniest twinge of apprehension. The shock-- was this really the best idea? Maybe I'll drown-- perhaps the promise of relief was not worth it after all. But it's the surfacing that makes the whole thing worth while. That deep gasp of breath-- the peace and joy of a risk well-taken.

With all of the costs counted, my husband and I jumped in together. Tonight we will do our first budget in two years that does not include my school checks. And we will swim.

So, as I sit here with my coffee and my cats, it's hard to hear all of those on the bank telling me I shouldn't have jumped. Because in the end, it's a whole other kind of drowning not to jump.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to do

I've been struggling with what exactly to do with this blog.

I originally started it to bring people very real numbers-- a case study in personal finance, if you will. Yes, I want to post general tips and information, but I feel that a real see-exactly-how-and-if-this-is-working type blog is needed out there and I'm exactly the kind of bare-it-all kind of girl to do it. Theory is wonderful, but example is inspiring (or at least instructive)!

Yet, I'm in a place where I don't really know if I'm free to do that anymore. I didn't post real budget numbers during the school year because it's socially unacceptable to talk about exactly how much you make.

I personally think the taboo on salary is ridiculous. If someone isn't getting paid fairly, they should have a right to know. If the company won't fix it, they should (and do) have a right to quit. I work in a school, so any parent could come up and demand to see how much I get paid, my benefits, and even my address and phone number unless I specifically request my contact info be withheld. But, on the off-chance I make more than my co-workers, I don't want to be resented.

Then there's my husband. He is on staff at a church, so that makes things more complicated as well.

What is the answer here? Is it okay to continue posting real-life budget numbers? If we simply combined our incomes and didn't label exactly how much one or the other makes, would that be better? Any answers would be appreciated...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

FPU-- Drinking the Kool-aid

We've finally done it. This Dave-junkie and her wonderful husband have finally taken the plunge and enrolled in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

We're the youngest in the class, which is both sad and exciting. I look forward to bringing new and not-so-new insights to this blog as a result of this class.

We are technically on baby step 4, but we aren't working it. Lubby's school is going to cost us an arm and a leg this semester, so in order to avoid debt and have him graduate next May we are having to cashflow like crazy. But, that's a different post. I hope to bring more info on those numbers very soon.

Until then~

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The two rules to becoming a millionaire

Many times people avoid dealing with their finances or striving to do better for a very simple reason: they think it is too complicated. It is true, striving to navigate the world of mutual funds, IRAs, 401(k)s, 203(b)s, REITs, DRIPs, and on and on... wow. I'm stressed out just thinking about the massive amount I DON'T know about these things.

Really, though, there are only two rules to become wealthy, and they are the rules we live by. They are:

1. Live on less than you make and save the difference
2. Avoid debt

Everyone does better when these two rules are followed. Are there strategies for maximizing the return on that savings? Of course. but even if a body starts by hiding the money in his sock drawer he will be on his way to his first million. So start. We'll work on the details as we go.