Faith,  Money,  My Life,  Resolutions

Resolution #5: Live Beneath Our Means

This post is a continuation of the details regarding my 2012 resolutions.
My final resolution is, by far, going to be the hardest one despite the fact that it is a no brainer.

See, what had happened wuz…

For this one, we are going to need some background info. This is where I air our deep, dark, money secrets. I’m not sure why people are so afraid to talk about money but I find it refreshing when I see that other people aren’t perfect. So, here we go. This is me, not being perfect with money. P.S. I’m not a perfect parent either. I’m not perfect, period.

Hubby and I met in 2003. Bought a house in 2004. We both were working full time, but had new “careers” that paid pretty crappy. We both had some debt that we brought to the marriage. We weren’t overly frivolous but we didn’t hesitate to eat out and put it on the credit card.

Fast forward to 2007. Hubby got a little promotion. tLG arrived. I quit working to stay home with tLG. I do not regret this decision at all. All the debt in the world would have been worth the quality of life that I felt by being available for her. I cashed out my 401K and we lived off that for a while. We stopped using credit cards. I started couponing.

In 2008, I started working part-time from home. Both of our jobs paid on commission and were never consistent. Hubby was moved to 2 different locations over the next few years, with the understanding that it was a “promotion.” Turns out the promotion in title didn’t quite add up on the commission scale.

For years, the bills were never less than the income. Many times, we used our tax return and rationed it out over the next 12 months to get by (Looking back, I’m still amazed that we made it but God is good. SO good!)

As of 2011, things were starting to settle down into a more predictable money routine. We were no longer having to use the tax return to help us along each month. We used it to pay for Skylar’s school instead (An amazingly wonderful school that I am so thankful to have). In the summer of 2011, hubby lost his job. Hubby was unemployed for several months. Because we had already used the tax return to pay for school, there was no emergency fund. We were on food stamps for 6 months. We cashed out part of hubby’s 401K (I know, I know – You Dave Ramsey people are having a heart attack about now). I picked up another part-time job. Hubby found an entry-level job.

Present day 2012 – At this moment, our monthly expenses are still not less than our income. We still have some 401K money in reserve and we are eagerly anticipating our tax return. I feel like we are back to square one. I was hoping to have “arrived” at some point. But, let’s be honest, the loss of a job is an unfortunate and unexpected event. The economy is terrible so job hunting is less than ideal. Combine that with the fact that we were unprepared for such a career disaster, and that sets us back a bit. Oh, and let me not forget medical bills. *sigh* It is what it is.

Okay, so back to that resolution I was referring to. This time, I don’t want it to take us eight years to get things under control again. The problem is that I already feel like we are at the bare minimum as far as expenses go. At this point in our lives, we are not frivolous. Life is just, well, it’s expensive. Plain and simple. Mike’s truck will be for sale very soon and I’m looking at other creative ways to cut some costs. By the end of 2012 (more like July), my goal is for us to be living beneath our means. For real this time! Even if we are just a single penny under budget, I will be thrilled.

Side note: On paper, all of this looks kinda gloomy. However, I can see that God was at work through all of it. There are lots of little between-the-lines details that I left out but I firmly believe that every incidence had purpose. However, if I could go back to 2004, I would do a lot of things different, money wise. Wouldn’t we all? And I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that we are still trying to pay down that blasted credit card from 2004. Ouch! Seriously, young married people – come talk to me. I got plenty of advice for ya! 🙂


  • Anonymous

    I love this. So refreshing. Thanks for sharing. And for the record, this is one Dave Ramsey peep who did not cringe when you cashed in your 401K… shoot, I'm impressed you even have a 401K. We're not even remotely close to being to that step yet. 😉 (We JUST hit baby step #1, like, this month, and we're pretty giddy, hehe.) Was it hard to get on food stamps? I looked into it because I think we borderline might qualify after baby #2 arrives, and I think it might help a ton just while we get caught up. Have you guys thought about taking Financial Peace University? They offer it all the time at church… we loved it and hated it all at once, hehe. It really does help though. When we started it, we were like, there is no WAY this is gonna help us, we're too fargone, but it did, it really did! We were in the same boat as you guys, expenses absolutely as minimal as possible, couponing, doing everything we can to cut our budget but there just not being enough money to pay all our bills and necessities each month (and forget about saving!!) but by the end of the class our budget was able to *justbarely* break even! Message me if you want more info, I'm like you, I'd be happy to share details. 😉 Oh and woot for tax returns… they are our saving grace every year too, hehe.
    -HP <3

  • Jess

    You'll be able to do it! I think you're doing great even under the money situations at this time. Most people could not even be able to handle it as well as you and Mike have under the changes. You already saving as much as you can though couponing and etc. I'm sure you've even made money with all the couponing that you do. You've inspired me with couponing and the things you post on fb on saving money.

    You've provided Skylar the best parenting, education, and everything a child needs and wants. You're the best mom in the world and if I ever have children I am coming to you with all your ideas and advice on raising a child and running a household.

    Even under the situation at this time you sure know how to make some great lemonade!

    You're doing great and things will def get better for you, Mike and Skylar.

    Keep up the great work!

    cycle girl 😉

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