Sunday, August 21, 2011

Financial Freedom

I write this post only hours after our first formal marital budget meeting. Tonight has been such an eye opener that I have to share my initial thoughts.

The church we go to offers free financial counseling by members of the church who volunteer their time to help other less finance-savvy people like us set a budget, get out of debt and/or work through other various financial blunders or needs. For us, we felt God calling us to set up a meeting with someone to have them help us set a general budget. We went into the meeting not entirely sure what this meant, but we were essentially looking to get more information on how much expendable money we actually have every month, what to do with that money and also discuss things like buying a home and having children (the financial aspects).

Initially, the meeting went relatively as predicted. We looked at our financials (bank statements, student loan information, car payments, etc.) and were able to see first how much God is currently entrusting us with monthly, and second, a written report of where our money is going each month, along with how much we have remaining after expenses (a good sign!). All of this information goes into a really exciting Excel spreadsheet (wait..."exciting Excel spreadsheet"...what?!) that we can modify as our income/expenses change. It feels so liberating to now have the tools to keep track of our money. The ball is definitely in our court.

About an hour in the conversation took a turn! It took me a while to catch on to what was being discussed, but once I caught wind I quickly realized we were discussing that Jesus wants us to be debt free. This is not something I have ever considered before. When we arrived at their house, one of the first things the husband posed to us was how great it would be if we didn't owe anybody anything and could be free to use our money however God was calling us to use it. This was now starting to sink in. But how can we be debt free, start a family and buy a house in the next couple years with all of our student loans and expenses?

To be honest, we went into this meeting having no direction on how we were spending our money. I am interested in sharing this exciting, and hopefully inspiring, new journey we're heading on so I will loosely share a bit of where we currently stand. Prior to today, we have been paying the minimums on all of our bills (car and student loans) and saving the rest. I guess we have essentially been "saving" for a house, which was really just because we didn't know what we should be doing with our leftover money each month. This option sounded the most "fun". We also didn't have any budgets formally set like personal allowances, food, clothing, gas, etc. We learned tonight that this doesn't allow for accountability or goal setting.

The most exciting news of tonight was learning that we should be using our leftover money not to be saving for a house but to be pursing financial freedom and becoming debt free. We would have never imagined that it was even possible to have our car and heaping pile of student loans paid off within about a year an a half. Praise Jesus for financial wisdom! Obviously this can all be affected at anytime by a loss of job, pregnancy, job replacement, income increase, etc., but the great news is that we now have the tools and basic wisdom to handle these possible circumstances in a biblical way.

Scattered thoughts for now, but we look forward to sharing our journey as it unfolds and as we learn more about managing our money so we can, God willing, start a family someday soon.

** By no means are we downplaying the value of our educations when I talk about becoming debt free from our student loans. This is a good debt that we now are tasked with figuring out how to get out of as quickly as possible.


  1. Happy for you guys Kelsey! When you eventually come to a place in your lives where the next step is buying a house, there are some pretty great options that support this life style too! For example my husband is paid every two weeks, instead of paying our mortgage once a month we have half of the bill taken out of each pay check before we even see it. By doing this we are actually knocking off quite a bit of money off our mortgage and not feeling a blow from it. Excited to hear more about your journey!

  2. Kelsey, I'm so proud of you and Arthur for taking this step. The only debt your mother and I carried was our Mortgage (Which right now we no longer have) :). The faster you get out of debt and have control over the money that you earn the better your life will be. That's when you can make the choice to have children and still enjoy the wealth that God provides. BTW, Lena's post is very true. If you take your Mortgage payment and make a half payment every two weeks, you will cut a 30 year mortgage down to a 22 year mortgage and save literally $100,000 of interest payments over the life of your loan.

  3. Lena, that's such great advice. Thank you!


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