Monday, June 2, 2008

Black or red?

If you have any knowledge about businesses, you know that they are either operating in one of two colors: in the "red" or in the "black". Black means that they are successful and are making a profit. More money is coming in than is going out! Red, well is obviously quite the opposite. More money is being spent than is coming in.

Our families operate a lot like a business, we're either living in the red or living in the black. I imagine that many of us would say we operate in the black, even if it's only by a few pennies. But are we really? Are we paying everything in full or are we putting things on credit cards? Do we only buy what we need or do we buy things because we want them?

Kenney & I have been struggling lately with the wants, the needs, and deciphering what is what. We've chosen not to use credit cards, have closed all of them, and paid off all but 2 which we are currently working on. We only have one reliable income right now, and that is Kenney's. I've struggled with the idea that maybe I need to go back to work, that we can't make it on one income. But even if I did work, I'd be paying for two daycare fees and what I would earn wouldn't be enough to make any sort of contribution, so why bother?!?

It's easy to get frustrated and to be tempted to try to live beyond your means. Case in point: We wanted a van. it's really hard in our cars to transport everything we need. Also, we're planning on going to NY in August and I wasn't too sure how reliable my Santa fe is. I can picture us on the side of the road in the middle of no-where PA with too fussy kids and a broken down car and no money to fix it. (Did I mention we have little in savings? which is going to be eaten up this coming week to get new tires on my car so it will pass the inspection?) So we started looking into vans, only to find out we would not qualify for another loan at this point.

I almost cried. I was so sure we "needed" a van and that God would provide for us to get one. I was not looking forward to having 2 car payments but sometimes you have to make sacrafices. I was so down, and I looked over our budget again, and began to cry. Why is our going out so much more than our coming in? I'm being frugal with our money. We've cut our grocery bill a ton. We've stopped going out to eat. Kenney's little snacks at work are no longer being purchased. We're being extra careful about our electricity in our house. We've cut out anything non-essential from our budget. My husband is gone from 6:45 in the morning until 5:30 at night Monday through Friday, and he works on weekends from home. He works so hard, and yet we're still barely staying afloat?

We're not destitute by any means. We have a roof over our heads, food in our cupboards and fridge, we have two cars, and I'm so thankful for that. But it is really frustrating to know that we're trying so hard to be faithful in our giving to God, to pay off debt, and to feel like we're treading water, not really going any where?

7 comments:

Britney said...

I'm not very good with a budget. I like to think I need everything, so I'm really proud of you guys for being so diligent about paying off your debt. Keep up the good work, even though it's hard. You'll make it to financially freedom someday and imagine how free you will feel when you get there!

Innocence Underrated said...

it seems that the financial aspect of life always looms over us. with ridiculous school loans that we'll be paying off for more years to come it can be downright depressing. then sometimes i get annoyed that my parents couldn't pay for my schooling like other kids, but they "paid" in other ways. i never feel the need for "cool" or fashionable or trendy or big ticket items, but it is frustrating when those pennies you pay seem to barely make a dent in the big debt. I know it's hard but I feel if we use our money wisely and like you said no extras, no credit cards, and faithfully pay God will reward us...sometime! I know the Larry Birkett series/Crown Financial is great, I listen to it on the radio a lot, maybe check that out?

Elizabeth F. said...

I saw Dave Ramsey (that financial guru) on TV while I was visiting my brother. HE had a caller with a similar situation and he said definitely DO NOT go back to work! Why? He said you need to fix the problem of overspending b.c adding money to your life will only create more spending if you don't have it under control int he first place. That totally made sense to me. Now, I'm definitely NOT saying that you overspend, as I have no idea what you spend, but if you are struggling with wants vs. needs there is potential for making spending errors. Which we all do by the way! And I have been wondering lately if I'm buying things jsut because they are on sale and I have a coupon? Did I really need to spend that extra $2.49 this week? I don't know about you, but my gas budget has greatly improved since preschool has gotten out! Yay! LOL!

Innocence Underrated said...

i got to second that comment. i needed to go back to work to help pay the mortgage, but now that I am, we have some "extra" so it seems so what happened? a new grill appeared, Kian got shoes he didn't really need...so I finally said "i went back to work to put savings away and pay the mortgage NOT buy fun stuff!, or else I'm staying home again!" so if you can stay home do, and there's always the typical mom 'watch a kid or two' for soem extra bucks. maybe your neighbors need someone before/after school for an hour or two? just a thought...

Anonymous said...

If it is any comfort to you, your mother and I were exactly in the same boat as you and Kenney are. Keeping a long-term vision in sight is critical. HANG IN THERE.
Love,
Dad

Mrs Lippincott said...

Christy- we are totally in the same boat was you guys and I honestly dont know how it can get any tighter. I do work, 40 hours a week, and so does Josh but for us if i were to stay home it wouldn't really save us any money except for the gas for my car. We decided in Dec 2007 that we were getting out of hand with our credit cards and couldn't trust ourselves with them so we took out a debt consolidation loan and we now owe $327 a month for the next 5 years, but we will be credit card debt free in 5 years! (little yay!)Other than that we just try every week to think about only precisely what we need, not want. We go out for dinner once a month, if that. And even then it's only to a bbq place we can walk to and for $15 we all enjoy. I totally can't wait to see you guys in August! Love you!

American Mum said...

Hey I found a coupon blog you might like: http://kingdomfirstmom.blogspot.com/