For the past few weeks our Church has been doing a series called “Taking Care of Business” and it has ignited a passion that I did not really know existed within me. What is that passion? I want to help people get back on track with their finances and truly surrender in that area of life. Here’s were it all started for April and me…
One Faithful Move:
In August of 2007, April and I had been married for a little less than 1 year and we decided to get serious about money. Before that we had been living high on the hog as a newly married couple with a dual income household, and money was not tight, but in fact… it was easy. But by August of 2007 all had changed. I took a job making less money and we moved back to Gainesville, GA (where we live now, and where I grew up). Our expenses grew larger while our income had dropped. We realized that it was time to get on a budget.
I picked up Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover“. It was mind blowing to see the financial principles that could help us, yet we were just playing stupid. We worked through the budget sheets, listed our debt, and “spent” our money to the penny; and the adventure began.
We quickly realized that using the cash envelopes just were not going to work us, after all, we had grown up using plastic more than paper. We needed something different; something electronic that we could use to track our spending and help us make better spending decisions on a daily basis. So I found Mint.com. We used Mint.com for a little while and it wasn’t the solution because at the time, it had 1 serious flaw… we could not use it effectively to make pro-active spending decisions (which might be different now). It was a reactionary expense tracking tool, not effective for pro-active solutions.
Almost a Lost Cause
Running out of solutions quickly, we were close to giving up the “cause” of extreme budget planning and tracking. Without an effective tool we were still over spending. We weren’t getting into credit card debt, but we were not giving away money. We did not tithe consistently nor did we give money away as we felt responsible to do. At the end of each month we would ask ourselves, “Why don’t we have room to tithe & give?” As I reflect back, we still were not surrendering to the Mission of Jesus. The money was still about us, getting out of debt, and saving for the future. All about US not Him.
Not About Us
In the early chapters of Matthew 6 there is a verse that says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ([youversion]Matthew 6:21[/youversion]) In May of 2008 we decided to start giving first, and then figuring it out after that. Around the same time we stumbled upon mvelopes.com, a pay service that creates electronic envelopes (I’ll post more about it later). But there is power in this verse… Our heart never could get fully on board – we had to give first and spend second. Crazy, I know… but now our heart desires to give more and more now… and we are more passionate about debt free (not there yet) living now because we have been developing the giving muscle. I know it’s crazy, but our deceitful heart always lies to us, and Jesus knew it would take us giving first to keep our heart in check.
There is more about this topic to come… I love it, and love seeing people surrender to the Mission of Jesus in the area of MONEY. Thanks for reading a little of our story. Check back this week as we talk about MONEY and it’s position in our lives.