Learning How to be Financially Free

The following post is written by a guest, Blair Allen.  I wanted you to hear her testimony of God’s faithfulness in helping her and her husband with their finances.  Be sure to head on over to her blog at the end of the post where you will have a chance to win the resource God used to help them pull out of a financial pit.

No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.  Luke 16: 13-15

 

The Beginning

Three years ago I was a Navy wife and mother to two young children.  My husband was deployed on the USS Ronald Reagan and we were more than $75,000 in debt. Just our living expenses alone were close to $2,000 a month.  The Daddy made approximately $30,000 per year.

While on cruise (the deployment) he was docking at wonderful ports in beautiful Asian countries.  I could only afford to give him $10 in most ports.  Once off the boat with shipmates in a pier you would need to stay in port all day that amount of money was not enough for him to even get off of the boat.

Writing this still makes my stomach churn and my eyes fill with tears.  I felt awful that my man was working himself to the bone, sleeping in awful conditions when there was time for sleep and then not even getting to enjoy the splendor that surrounded him when the opportunity arose.  How hard it must have been for him to watch his buddies leave while he sat there with his heart aching with homesickness.  I can not stand thinking about this and am so thankful we will never relive it again!

During this same time our church began offering a Financial Peace University class.  I was very interested after seeing the promo videos during the service.  There was one drawback:  the class cost $100.  I attended the first class, which is always free.  They mentioned that if you could not afford the kit they would be offering partial scholarships for $50, you only needed to apply.  Man, my pride sure made that hard to do!

Something had to change for us though.  The Daddy would be out of the Navy within a year and we wanted to be better off than when he had enlisted.  Wasn’t that the whole point of enlisting in the first place? A better life.  I applied for the scholarship and it was almost immediately approved.  The whole process was humbling.  I wrote the check for $50 and began learning more about money each Wednesday night than I had ever learned from my parents or during all of high school.

However, you can imagine The Daddy’s response when I told him that I had spent $50 on “some class”.  He surely thought I had lost my mind!  It was so hard, Ladies.  While I was not going against my husband’s wishes to begin implementing what I was learning, I was not receiving much support either.

 

The Middle and Life As We Knew It

When The Daddy came home from cruise and saw that not only did we have a little money in savings and our credit cards had been cut up, but that we had also paid off one small debt, he jumped on board with me.  The Daddy’s first job after getting out of the Navy allowed him to listen to his iPod while he worked.  He downloaded the CDs that come in the kit and began listening to them for hours.  Then he downloaded Dave Ramsey’s podcast from his radio show to listen to while working.

Through listening to these CDs he realized that having a budget did not mean he would never spend money on fun things againIt simply meant that we would assign each dollar we worked hard to earn a place to go.  Once we paid back other people the dollars we had borrowed from them we could buy things we wanted.  Only this time it would be our dollars we were spending and we would not have to worry about owing someone for our things.  As a result he acquired “gazelle intensity” seemingly overnight.

He sold his Harley.  He sold his great big beautiful truck.  That alone saved us $400 per month in car payments.  Fortunately, The Daddy knows his way around a car and was able to purchase “a beater” (Oh, you know what I’m talking about!) to drive for a while.  We did not go out to eat.  I did not buy new clothes.  We gave nothing beyond our tithe.

 

The End and Life As We Will Know It

Dave Ramsey says all the time that “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”  To this day our rears sit on a couch in our living room with cigarette burns.  Did I mention we don’t smoke?  Now that we are debt free we do not have to live this way any longer.  Our dollars are free to save up and then be spent as we choose.

For the next few months we will save up a six month emergency fund and then we will get a new couch.  We will replace my substitute wedding ring with something simple but more appropriate. We will save for a vacation to make more memories with our children.  We will save for the Daddy to have a “project car” to tinker with.  We will live the American dream as our grandfathers dreamed it to be.  More importantly, we will live peacefully waiting to hear from God and excited to go when He says go without any hesitation!

We want you to experience this same peace.  That is why The Daddy and I are giving away a Financial Peace University kit to one lucky reader!  Please visit The Straightened Path to enter our giveaway.  We will be choosing and announcing a winner on New Years Eve.

Blair Allen

 

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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7 thoughts on “Learning How to be Financially Free

  1. Oh, what a great giveaway!!! I’m going to check out the giveaway and enter. I found your blog via the Raising Homemakers link-up today. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  2. What a great testimony! My husband and I have taught 2 financial peace classes so far and are working on saving to buy a house. Dave’s plan really works!

  3. We are debt free too. Our journey began 10 years ago when we got married. My DH had a load of debt and I had nothing. Nothing at all. No debt but not a penny either. So we prayed and began a plan to pay it all off. God is sooo faithful. Not only did we get completely off debt in 3.8 years but this past Summer we got upgraded to a bigger house with more land just like we had been asking and praying for.

    We didn’t use Ramsey’s plan or book or even a strict budget. This is what we did:

    1) we kept tithing and giving. We specifically sowed money for debt cancellation.
    2) We used our credit card only if we could pay the charge at the end of the month. We got rid of all credit cards but one. In the beginning we used one credit card to pay off another credit card when they had those 0% interest deals and made huge payments. Today we only have one credit card and everything we charge we pay it off when the bill is due.
    3) We routinely look at our bills and see where we can cut down: phone, cable, insurance, etc
    4) I, the wife, make a purpose to buy clothes only when on clearance or at thrifty stores. I only buy what is needed. I don’t buy extra clothes or shoes just because it’s cute. Sometimes I buy years ahead (I have 4 children) because the price is ridiculously low for a brand new item.
    5) Lately I have been making more homemade things like food and even deodorant, shampoo and cleaning products.
    6) Whenever my DH and I want to purchase something we talk about it and then we wait , and wait and wait some more. We look for a better price, we bargain and we ask ourselves “can we do without it??”
    7) I have swapped services instead of paying cash. I clean a dance studio in exchange for ballet lessons for both my daughters. I scrapbook and card make to pay for music lessons.
    8) My DH and I know for sure that we are debt free because God has intervened in our behalf and blessed us abundantly. We could never do this on our own. To God be the glory.

    Blessings,
    tereza