Friday, March 18, 2011


Monday, our local market played the episode of the Dave Ramsey show in which we were featured, so we all gathered around William who was painting the back of the house and enjoyed it together (again)!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

We're Debt Free!!

I thought that I'd share our journey to "debt-freeness" here on our blog hoping to inspire others...

Since the onset of adulthood, both William and I have been in debt. I began with a little Discover Card when they were brand new on the market, and William was given a Visa when he was sent off to college. I tried paying my card off every month until one month, it didn't get paid off . The interest was added for the previous 2 months, and I found myself in over my head. I joined the marriage with about $400 on my card. William was another story... He was given a Visa when he went away to school and gave it a work-out! He made minimum payments each month. He also had a gas card to keep him on the move. He brought his cards with over $2500 and a sizable loan for my wedding ring set to our marriage.

We had major income crises for the first 3 years of our marriage. Our plans to graduate from college and get our dream jobs were not fulfilled in the least as we scrambled around for decent employment. We even went into debt another $1200 to pay a headhunter for William to work at the Footlocker 12 hours a day, 6 days a week! (Major stupid tax!!!!!)

In 1994, we decided that we needed a new, dependable car, so we ordered a Sapphire Blue Chrysler Concorde that cost 70% of William's salary. We put a down payment on it and leased the rest of it, later to re-finance when we found out that leases were bad, and 17 years later, we're still driving the thing! Lesson learned.

Over the years, we used our ATM card for most of our purchases, and when the money was gone (usually a little before the next pay day), we charged it, not really thinking that anything was wrong with doing that and didn't know that we were spending 12-18% more by swiping a card. That's what everybody does, right? Occasionally, we'd receive a tax refund, bonus, or gift, and pay down our cards just to charge them back up when we hit a crisis which would happen all too often. We had investment accounts and stocks, but no savings for emergencies.

In 2009, my sister, Patti and her husband, Scott, attended Financial Peace University, a personal finance course taught by Dave Ramsey on DVD, at their church. First, I thought that they were falling info some kind of crazy christian spin-off cult or get-rich scheme, but William and I saw big difference in the way that they dealt with money. It was really good to see the change.

Out of curiosity, I skeptically began listening to Dave Ramsey's podcast of an hour of each of his daily radio shows and listened to the "The Total Money Makeover," and he actually made sense. "The same advice your grandmother would give you, only we keep our teeth in." Basic common sense. (How come nobody taught us about this? Shouldn't everybody know this stuff?)

So, in February 2010, I told William that we needed to get it together. He totally agreed, and indicated that he was waiting for me. We were so sick of living paycheck to paycheck. William makes good money, but we didn't have much to show for it and felt like we are struggling to buy necessities and to maintain our modest home and older vehicles.

At the same time, William and I both LOVE to GIVE! We were giving to several worthy organizations and supporting several missionaries, and giving above and beyond our tithe to our church, but at the cost of taking care of our family. This really hit me when I read I Timothy 5:8 "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." So there's "giving sacrificially," and then there's giving away most everything and living off of the credit card. That doesn't make any sense! We can't give what we don't have. We look forward giving extravagantly!

Over the next several months, we began our debt snowball and attempted to make a workable budget TOGETHER as William taught me how to get into all of the places online to balance accounts and pay bills. We stopped using the credit cards. It was all very painful. We had trouble finding the right tool to balance our bank accounts and track our budget that didn't have a monthly fee because we did not need to add another monthly payment. We finally found You Need a Budget (YNAB) to do the job and have been very satisfied with it.

In September, we began Financial Peace University at our church. (William listened to the audio CD's that came in the kit since he stayed home with the kids.) Although, we had heard a lot of what we needed to know to get going with the Baby Steps, it was great encouragement and inspiration to attend the class. My mom and I graduated with perfect attendance, and it was totally worth the 13 Tuesday nights and the $102 for the materials!

Over the last several months as we have been getting closer and closer to our goal, "Murphy" has moved in. William got sick and had to go for medical tests twice, our furnace needed repair, we slid on the ice and hit a tree, we had to get new brakes, and our oven and dishwasher no longer work. For emergencies, we've had our $1,000 emergency fund, and for other things, the budget allows us to allocate each paycheck where it needs to go. We had to roll the medical expenses into our snowball, and now we'll be replacing the bumper, dishwasher, and oven with CASH!

On to baby step #3: Saving 6-months of expenses for our BIG emergency fund.

Our story, filled with so much STUPID TAX, really makes me excited to teach the personal finance course in our home school co-op, and we know that our kids are learning a lot from our experiences and openness about our family finances, so hopefully, they won't be paying so much stupid tax because they know better!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh, my gravy!

It has been since October since I have updated our blog! Yes, that means that I haven't been reading your blogs either! Facebook has taken over.

School is going well. The kids are growing quickly. Jeremy swims, and the girls are dancing. Benaiah uses the toilet.

I'm teaching Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance to middle and high school students at our home school co-op and loving it.

IBM is still paying William.

Mom is getting her house ready to put on the market to downsize. Patti and her family are doing well. Scott's business is growing.

Jasmine is still kicking, but sometimes she scares us by sleeping until 2 pm. Patti got a springer spaniel with missing toes that is named "Ladybug." She is sweet.

I am tired.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dancing for Kenya!

Graceful Expressions, where the girls are both taking dance classes is having a special performance to benefit the the children at Noel orphanage in Choimim, Kenya.

The show is going to be so cute! (Annika is actually quite a scary spider!) Miss April is so creative with her choreography and costumes, and our girls are both spiders and have been practicing very hard for this special night!

You can go to the Graceful Expressions site or go the the Holly Springs Cultural Center for tickets.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 30, 2010

BiT ~ Mid May

The Ethiopian adoption community in the triangle area was invited to share a meal by the woman who makes and sells the best injera in town! A lot of people showed up for this wonderful feast hosted by Tenu and her husband Moges. There are remarkable people who run a soup kitchen in Raleigh and an orphanage in Ethiopia! They gathered all of the families into a huge circle and we went around and introduced ourselves. This is just he kind of experience we want to share with Benaiah! By the way, the food was phenomenal! Better than any restaurant!

Jeremy swam his last USA Swimming meet with New Wave for now... He did really well and won his heat in the 100 backstroke for which he was awarded the duck. He loves getting those ducks!

BiT ~ Early May 2010

We wrapped up another year of Awana with the "Awarnaval" and celebrated the conclusion of the spring semester of our home school co-op with family night.

We also found a skink or something creepy-crawly in our bedroom. He kept getting away and discovered again under pillows -NOT on the bed!

William took Jeremy on a trip that we hope he will always remember. They traveled to Wilmington, NC where the went through the "Passport 2 Purity" materials. (It has object lessons and CD's that cover the birds and bees and addresses staying keeping pure for your future spouse.) They had a great time! They stayed in a Kozy Kabin at the KOA. (You just have to chuckle at that!) In between sessions of the program, they went to the beach and toured the USS North Carolina. To top it off, they went out for a really nice dinner, and Jeremy was presented with a gift to remember the occasion. *sniff*

A Little BIT

So, my last family post was in April!! UGH! So much has happened since then! So, where to begin? One GINORMOUS post with the past 4 months? Or 50,000 smaller posts?

We are going to go BACK IN TIME, "BIT" for short. (The kids love Huey Lewis & The News' song, and Benaiah asks for it in the car!)

So, watch for our BIT posts!