What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Finances and Failures

You remember the bandmill post, don't you?

Ah yes- but you see, the words and the pictures were just a teeny tiny bit of the big picture- blog posts usually are that...surface snippets. 

The backstory to that post is a long and unlovely one, which I will not go into detail except to say that:

 Matt really really really wanted to buy that bandmill for himself.

I really really really wanted to be able to buy that bandmill for him.

We have dozens of trees that would be nearly worthless to sell but would be incredibly valuable to saw up and use to rebuild and better this place around us.  Dozens of trees that, now that they are cut, will eventually rot.  Buying a bandmill would have been a wonderful investment. 

And yet, despite all these positives, there was ONE negative.  We didn't have 15 grand just lying around.

As much as we wanted one and as easy as it was to convince ourselves that is was a smart move to finance (It's an investment!)- still, buying something we can't afford in the first place makes a smart investment not an investment at all.  Just stupid.

But being financially disciplined is REALLY HARD when you want something REALLY BAD.  It just is. 

The end of the drawn-out saga is, of course, that Matt's brother bought a bandmill and we paid him to let us use it.  A temporary means to an end- and a somewhat painful one too- but we now have some lumber to work with to do some of the projects that need to be done.

One good thing that came out of this very painful time was that I was spurred to reevaluate our finances and refocus on our financial goals.  The fact is, I had gotten lazy this year.


Sure, I still use a cash-based envelope system.  But if I needed to take money from the 'preparedness' envelope to buy myself some shorts that actually fit me, I would totally do it.

We had unexpected hospital bills (thanks to me. argh.).  We had several car "situations" that we hadn't planned for.  We had a few necessary (but unbudgeted) household repairs that NEEDED to be fixed (windows, electrical). An unexpected tax bill.  The more unexpected things came up, the less money I had excess to save anyway and the less I cared about trying.

I had lost my momentum, lost my drive.  I had lost my fervor.  (I stopped blogging my financial goals for the year too, come to think of it.) 

So much for code orange.

Well, things have to change. 

Matt STILL really wants a bandmill and I STILL really want him to have one and we STILL have dozens of trees waiting to decide whether they will be put to use or rot on the ground.

I am now refocused.

I know that, despite our modest income, we could be saving more for things like...a bandmill... simply by living on less and being focused!  I know this because I have friends who do.  I know this because I started listening to Dave Ramsey's show online every now and again during kitchen work- and I hear real people say it.  And especially, since finding this blog (incidentally, about the same time as the whole bandmill situation happened.)   Boy, can that lady live frugally!

Here I am, shamefully admitting (just one of) my (many) shortcomings...I failed.  

  We Christians are good at that, aren't we?  Failing.  
But, I think, we Christians also have the upper hand by understanding the Truth of this- that Christ died for our sins and forgives our failures.  This leaves us free to move past our failures (forget 'em!) and  we are free to start anew at any moment we so choose.   

Fresh opportunity.  A new start.  Renewed focus. 

I choose that.

And you, my friends, are going to hold me to it.  Okay?

I am going to post some financial things at least once a month here for you to read.  Or skip. (Whatever you choose!). I won't know!  ;-)  It will likely be things I am doing to save money and/or make money.  Something akin to these, perhaps?

Consider yourself forewarned.

And if you are in the same boat I am in and in need of a good kick in the financial pants- I'd love to hear what you are doing and how it is working for you!


Stefanie said...

I just wanted to encourage you both. Your efforts are amazing. Your not the only couple going through financial setbacks, so take heart. And Rebecca, you inspire me on the very same level as the other blogger linked. So feel proud of all you've accomplished despite the current challenges. And thanks for sharing.

Leah T. said...

I agree with Stefanie! You are an inspiration! I look forward to your posts on finances. I know they will be an encouragement to me and that I'll learn something that will be helpful to us. :)

Miranda Hupp said...

I will hold you to it if you hold me to it!

We are trying desperately to save money. I know I could do better. Its so hard! lol!

Brian has been talking about changing jobs. He hates where he is. The atmosphere is horrible. The work is horrible. The people are horrible. Although I know all these things it scares me! Especially since our dream of buying Huppstead is so close!

Bonnie said...

We are fresh into a family members divorce (partly) because of financial laziness. You ARE NOT financially lazy. You've paid your bills, you've pinched pennies 'til they scream, you have wanted to spend money and wisely NOT done it. This is good. And you know where you feel there are shortcomings, and this is also good. You are looking for ways to improve instead of just saying "Oh skip it." God allowed the door to be closed for the bandmill. Wonder what amazing blessing He has waiting for you that you never even dreamed of?

(And yes, bring on the money saving posts! B. handles our finances, but I'm always looking for ways to trim costs!)

Rebecca said...

Wow. I didn't realize when I posted this that it would be such a blessing to ME. It is hard admitting that you aren't where you wanted to be (or have slacked off). Especially in so public a forum. You all were very gracious and kind and encouraging. I wish I had posted this sooner! Thank you Stefanie and Leah and Bonnie!

Miranda- I know just how you feel. It is scary to contemplate job changes- but sometimes they are for the better! Just make sure he has a job lined up before he quits- I just listened to the Dave Ramsey show and a caller told about how her husband quit his job without anything lined up and she had to go back to work because five months later he hadn't found one. Poor lady! I absolutely will support you in this- WE CAN DO THIS! (Cue bandanna clad woman)

Anna Yager said...

Good for you - you ARE doing all the right things: being open about your challenges, listening to Dave Ramsey's stuff, working on a cash system. And I'm saying this as a professional financial planner - you're laying a foundation now that will pay you back many times over throughout your lives as a family. And the best part is - you've got lots of support!