Friday, July 9, 2010

Shame, Shame, Shame

My husband came in with a couple of bags of groceries the other day - everything in the bags was on our list of allowable items.  However, there was something in his smile that said he was up to no good.  Of course, I needed only look directly North of that grin to see the object of his sheepishness - sunglasses!  He bought himself a very cheap pair of sunglasses!  But I didn't care if they were $1.  The point was that they are not an allowable item.  He, of course, was very aware I would react with disdain and began offering an 'explanation' for his indiscretion.  He claimed his eyes were going to be damaged if he didn't have them and pulled a little guilt trip on me. So, he has a pair of sunglasses.  Honestly, I am thrilled that we have stuck with this as closely as we have for 7 months - it has really been eye opening - I think there may be a pun in there somewhere.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where is the Money Going?

We have established that we are saving approximately $250 to $300 a month using our no-shopping method.  So, do we have a pile of cash somewhere because of this?  In a word - NO.  Prior to our beginning this method, we had  put our student loans in 'forbearance'.  This is the action of putting repayment of the student loan on hold, while still making the interest payment on the loan.  Now that we have extra money from not shopping for a bunch of stuff, we are able to make the payment on the loan again. In addition to this, we have been able to continue making extra payments on our Visa credit card - a major blessing. So, we won't have a big pile of cash at the end of the year, as we initially thought we would.  But we began to see the wisdom in having debt wiped away, and we will have some major debts paid down and/or completely gone by the end of the year.  The Visa alone is major.  If we simply made the minimum payment on it, we would be paying on it for the next 20 years - that's not an exaggeration - it is a fact. Yet, it will be a distant memory by December 31 of this year and we can't wait to celebrate that one!  It is important to note that we canceled this credit card so we CANNOT use it for any reason.  That was a difficult decision for us, because we have always used our credit card as a safety net in the event something 'happened' or an emergency came up.  We found, though, it was just too easy to use it for other things - stuff we wanted when we wanted it.  And it got us up to $10,000 in credit card debt!  It's funny, because before we started this no-shopping method, I would have been ashamed to admit that.  I was hiding it, from everyone and myself - not wanting to admit it even existed, but it was a deep wound on our finances, insidious and dangerous, and if allowed to continue it would have poisoned our financial security.  There is a certain freedom in being able to say it out loud and know there is a plan in place to heal the wound.  We pray we are making the right decisions for our children, because that is the number one reason for doing any of this. I often fear that next year will bring some incredibly bad economic woes to our nation and our people.  I pray I am wrong, but it's not looking good.  I am a woman of faith and I pray we all weather the storm, and it will take faith to do it, but I do think the storm will come. We are to be good stewards of what we have been blessed with. We can't live willy nilly, tossing money around like it's confetti, so we must do what we should to prepare for what may be a difficult future.