Our Financial Peace Journey started in the fall of 2010. Hubby and I were in church and the pastor announced a new class called Financial Peace University starting. Hubby asked me if I wanted to attend. I was sort of non-committal as usual and said “I don’t care”. Little did I know what God had planned for us and our family!
We had debt, but then everyone does, right?? That is normal, isn’t it?? We were able to meet our minimum payments each month, we paid private school tuition for our youngest son. We had a house and two cars, none of which were paid for, but we had them! We went on vacations and worried about how to pay for them later. Living the American dream……
Arguments we had usually touched-on money issues and honestly we otherwise didn’t really talk much about money or our family finances. We, like many people were supplementing our income with credit cards. We did little to no planning for the future and I am not so sure we would be saving anything for retirement. Actually, I know we would not have. We were living in the moment and retirement was years away…about 25!
I paid the bills and handled the household finances alone. It was very stressful for me and I didn’t feel comfortable saying no to my new hubby. We were a newly blended family in 2000 and we didn’t plan a lot on how we’d handle money together before we were married. We were definitely living like everyone else, and going into debt.
We started FPU and are thankful every day for God leading us there. He knew what we needed, more than we did. We sort-of had our head in the sand regarding our debt. If you had asked me how much we had in debt back then, I would have had no idea. FPU pulled our heads out of the sand to face the debt we had accumulated.
I have never shared this publicly before, except in the safety of the FPU panel, as it is embarrassing, we had $95,000 in credit card and student loan debt. Putting a real number on our debt, really opened our eyes! I am sharing this now as we want everyone to know that financial peace is possible. We are sharing our story in hopes that other families will join our family in the journey to beat debt and discover the financial peace we all yearn for.
God will generously provide all you need – 2 Cor. 9:8
This is now………
Our marriage is stronger than ever due to FPU and learning to work together as a team. We frequently discuss our finances and make decisions together. I can hardly recall the last time we argued over money, it is that rare. We sit down together every week for a budget meeting and pay our bills together. We try to identify and share a weekly victory to keep us (me) motivated. We plan, (MAJORLY), for our future and retirement. A big part of this journey is staying motivated. It takes some sacrifice to become debt free.
Honestly, we feel we live like no one else, but we have not found it uncomfortable. We both agree we still have a very pleasurable life with a brighter future. At times one of us may feel discouraged (usually Jen) but the other person is always there to remind them of our goals. We have goals and dreams. We discuss those and the steps to achieve them. The most amazing thing is these dreams are achievable.
We have an emergency fund to help us avoid using a credit card. We only use one credit card for things that MUST be paid-off each week. (Using the credit card earns us points that translate into gift cards that pay for our dates) We are accumulating ZERO new credit card debt.
We are very hopeful and excited about our future. As of this month, we are down to only one credit card and our student loans. Our snowball is starting to gain some serious momentum! After 2 years on the FPU program, we have paid-off $45,000 in debt, are nearly ½ done and the debt is decreasing MUCH faster now. We should be free of credit card debt by this time next year and have made serious progress on the student loans. As we pay this off, our retirement planning will also skyrocket! (Instead of paying interest to creditors, we are investing that same money into retirement!)
Stop by next week as we share more about our FPU journey. We hope our story inspires you and helps you to realize it is possible and worth all the sacrifice and hard work. (It is really not that hard!) There is still time to join the FPU class at First Lutheran Church in WBL, contact Jeff for more info. Join us in living like no one else………
Paul and Jen
Other Articles in our FPU Series:
Financial Peace University
Change Takes a Leap of Faith
Budgeting…Time to Make a Plan
FPU: Inside Our Weekly Budget Meeting
FPU: Sink Your Debt with a Sinking Fund
Groceries: Cut the Dance and Start to Wiggle!
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