About two and a half years ago, I really felt impressed that I needed to once and for all get on a budget. I was always feeling like I was behind, like we never had any money, and that we would never get ahead of where we were. I felt stuck. I was always stressed out about money. Now my church is always reminding us to get out of debt, save food and money for a rainy day, etc. I never felt like I wasn’t doing these things. I thought I was doing ok. Until I really looked into things.
I remembered hearing about a guy named Dave Ramsey who was a budgeting expert. I thought, what the heck, I’ll download his podcasts and start listening. So as I began to listen nearly every day, I began to receive HOPE. I felt like I could do this. After all, there were so many more people that called into his show that were in much worse situations, and he had faith in them that they could succeed. Now, he doesn’t mince words. He tells people flat out that they are making dumb choices and need to get their lives in order. And I definitely needed to get our family’s budget in order!
So, I decided to get started. It was depressing. I felt even worse as I started, but I kept listening daily to Dave, and each time I did I would feel like I had the strength to keep trying. Dave teaches a zero budget strategy. You “give every dollar a name”. That made sense to me. I started following his “baby steps”. And after four hard months, finally had a month were we didn’t go over budget- not even one penny. We actually went under budget!
One thing that has made budgeting easy is his app everdollar. It literally has saved my sanity! I can know instantly how much I’ve spent so far on any given day, and see how much I have left. It’s given me freedom that I didn’t know I could have. Now I can tell myself, yes you can buy that, your app says so right here. Or I can tell the kids, hey I don’t have money for that this month, but next month I will budget for that. I can see where I may not have spent as much on gas, so I could move it to clothes for the kid that ripped a hole in his pants, etc.
Now comes, the real reason why I felt that whisper of inspiration to get on a good budget, pay off our debts, and save for a really rainy day. The past two years, my husband’s work has been a roller-coaster! Some months his boss liked him, and some months, he didn’t. It was all the sudden and we couldn’t make any sense of this. So about seven months ago, when our youngest was 6 weeks old, my husband walked in the door to our kitchen before 5pm(this NEVER, EVER happens that he’s home that early) and uttered the words we’d feared for nearly two years..I got fired.
This was very hard. There was no reason given. My husband had worked for this company for 14.5 years, spent more hours than I’d like to remember at work- sometimes working until 11pm for five-six months out of the year almost every night.
But you know what? We weren’t scared. Luckily we did get three months of severance, but we had a plan. Because I use the everydollar app, I knew how little we could live on. We cut extra-curricular activities out, and trimmed anywhere we could. We would not have felt so much peace had I not gotten our family on a budget, stuck to it, and gotten us almost totally out of debt by this time.
There’s a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 that the last line says “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear”. Most of the days these past seven months, we haven’t been afraid. Yes, there have been days where we both were freaked out a bit-I mean we have six kids and no income and a house payment to make. It does get to you at times to see your bank account shrink and not ever go up.
But we have been immensely blessed because of four things:
- I listened to the Spirit tell me to get our family’s finances in order.
- We have always paid our tithing-This is one thing I loved about listening to Dave Ramsey. Over and over again he would say, tithe first. If you tithe first, everything will work out. And that has been our experience too.
- We have the best family, friends and neighbors. I can’t tell you how many times during the month of December someone dropped something off to us. Whether it was money, cookies, things for the kids. We were blown away with the kindness given to our family. And this has continued. We have been looked after.
- My church is prepared. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they have a bishops storehouse. It is this amazing little grocery store for those who are down on their luck in regards to income. Having this extra food has really helped us stretch our money because we really thought we wouldn’t be still looking 7 months later.
We are given challenges for a reason. Sometimes we are given a heads up. I hope that we all will have enough quiet moments in our day to hear the whispers the Spirit gives.
Life is Good. Share the Good.
Here’s the link to Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar app
PS I’m sure there are many, many budgeting apps out there to use. This is the one that has worked for me. Use whatever works for you.:)