Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Budgeting Diaries: An Introduction

I have been mentioning this on the past couple of Fridays and it is finally here.  Grand premier of 
get excited… right!!!!

So what is this anyways?  Well, when I started this blog a few years ago, I had a vision to write about budgeting and all our frugal ways.  Now don't get me wrong, we are still frugal- just ask my hubs, or my in-laws, or my parents, or my kids (in about 5 years;)), but the good ol' blog grew to be about life and not just budgeting.  And I am fine with that. 

But as I was praying about this blog and vision for the future, I kept coming back to the name…
Our Life on a Budget

 and goodness… how hard is it 
to be on a budget
to live with in our means
to be a good steward of what God has given us
to be a cheerful giver
to give sacrificially

And as I pondered those things I thought about how encouraging it would be to hear from real people, their real stories 
and tips 
and pointers 
and where they've been
and where they are going
and how God has/is/will use what He has entrusted to them.

So it starts now, just stories from real people… starting with me!
_______________________


I could go all the way back to my childhood, but my story probably really starts when I was 14 years old and got my first job.  Burger King.  Yep, you heard me right, I worked at Burger King- I wish I had a picture to share with y'all.  When I turned 14 my mom said, "You are 14 ,you can get a job and your brother already works at Burger King."  And since my brother could drive there were no options, I applied and started working with in a few weeks and I was the only 8th grader I knew with a job… seriously.  My conversations at school went something like this:
"What are you doing Friday night?"  
"I have to work."
Cue blank stares
"But don't worry, I can still hang out, they aren't allowed to let me work past 7.  I may just smell like grease and french fries."
Okay, so I may have left off the last part.

Working so young had its pluses and minuses.  I knew the value of a dollar from a young age and I can probably thank my early work experience for my frugal tendencies.  I learned about saving, paid for most of my first car (that we still use 12 years and 200,000 miles later), and paid for most things on my own.  Minuses?  Besides being spread a little thin as a high schooler, I think I formed some unhealthy relationships with money as well.  Worry, stress, stinginess when dealing with money.  I also felt like I could never quite do or get the things my peers got… whether this is a positive or negative I am not sure.

Moving from there I went to college.  I am fortunate because between HOPE (a scholarship program in Georgia) and my parents, my college was paid for… zero debt… wahoo!  I had not had experience with debt, so I did not realize at the time what a big deal this was.  I just worked during the summer and did a couple of babysitting jobs during the year to get my spending money.  Met my now husband in college. Then I graduated, got married, moved to a new city, started my first teaching job.

During this stage we were pretty wise with our money… but definitely could have been wiser while we had two solid incomes.  We listened to and read some stuff by Dave Ramsey.  Paid off *almost* all the debts we had… and man are we glad now:)!  But we coulda, shoulda, woulda saved a little more here.  

Then after 6 months of marriage I came home one day and Andrew said "I think I am called to go to seminary.  God is calling me to be a college minister."  This is the same husband that told me he NEVER wanted to go into vocational ministry.  But you know, God calls as where we think we will never go right?

So God provided an awesome teaching job for me in New Orleans, we packed up and went.  

Now we were paying for school, out of pocket and thankfully did not go into debt to do so.  But again looking back, I was working in a well paid teaching job and Andrew had a paid internship in addition to school, we lived on campus in cheap housing.  Another time we coulda, shoulda, woulda saved a little more.  

Toward the end of our time in New Orleans we got pregnant with Bailey Drew.  BD was born in March, Andrew was graduating in May and we had to move off campus.  Oh yea, we also needed a job for Andrew. We did not know exactly what Andrew graduating would bring… but we were sure it would be a job and I may or may not work.  Well… we searched high and low for jobs… boo job market at that time.  And God provided a one year internship in Statesboro, Georgia.  An internship?  Really?  I mean it was God's provision, but not what we expected.  How were we going to make ends meet?  Did I need a job?  Just for a year?  So many unanswered questions, but we knew were supposed to go, even if it financially did not make sense.  

We went.  I started looking at some local preschools and with in a week or so of being in Statesboro I found a part time preschool job and BD could come and be down the hall form me.  And an anonymous donor paid for BD's tuition.  I mean praise the Lord for His provision, because we did not realize how necessary it was for me to have this job… life is expensive right?

So if you remember I said this was a one year internship.  January rolls around… we start looking, surely by May or June or July at the latest we will have something.  Andrew had a few interviews and one "sure thing,"  that was not a sure thing at all.  And all the while July rolled around and we were going to have to move somewhere and had no job lined up… and God kept saying to me-

"Trust ME.  Not your budget, or your plan or even your emergency fund."

The week before we had to move out we were packing boxes and did not even know where we were moving to!  Andrew gets a call from his home church about the possibility of being a college minister there and within the same week he got another offer.  We went from nothing to choices!  And just in time- again God's provision.  

We ended up coming back to Andrew's home church.  But the lack of job for so long and the "late" timing on the job led us to move in with the in-laws.  I LOVE Andrew's parents, but definitely not my ideal situation! But provision again- we had a place to live.  We did not know where we would be until the last week in July, so I thought I had basically no hope of finding a job.  But I took my application to an awesome half day preschool, they had a teacher quit after the first day (for a different job) and again God had provided the right job at the right time!

During this past year we saved and bought a house.  It was not my ideal scenario of 20% down, 15 year mortgage, but we just could not afford rent for any decent sized place, especially if we were trying to save to get into a house.  We trusted that this was where we needed to be.

We also found out I was pregnant with Jameson… due in July.  This pretty much made it so I could not work the next year, he would be a month old when school started.  It just wouldn't work.  After the school year ended this past May we started making less money than we ever have, in our entire marriage.  While we had planned the budget for one income, it was tight, like super tight and the idea of saving to pay for a car or a big expense or pay down the house, would just be impossible.  

So again God has brought me back to a place of trust in his provision again.  When my dad said a few months ago, "Well, your cars are getting old, you need to start saving for replacements."  I bit my tongue and thought- I know this, but I also know we are where God has called us right now, I have to trust that He will provide just like He always has. 

So right now… I have my feelers out for jobs I can do mostly from home- and I am trusting, we are trusting that God will provide the right thing in the right timing just as He always had.  We are rubbing our pennies together, and watching how God provides.

So really the story is not done… this is where we are now… 
the biggest things I have learned from our journey so far?
*God's provision
*Give even when it is hard or does not make sense
*Budget and save and be smart- but don't trust rely on your emergency fund- trust and rely on God! :)

_________________________

What is your story?  Or do you have some tips or pointers or anything you think would be encouraging to readers trying to be good stewards of what God has given them?  Email me at stasia08@gmail.com and you can share a post! :)



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7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing . Enjoyed reading this. GOD does provide.

    Charlotte Moore

    ReplyDelete
  2. God works in amazing ways. Good read, and I know He will provide for you when the time is right. Stopping by from Jennie's link up.

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  3. God always provides. We had a recently drop in income, and no joke, within a couple of days, God had replaced that income from another source. Prayers for you guys, and for finding a job that works for you.

    Tif
    www.brightonabudget.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, God always provides... it's us who need to trust in his provision.

    You've shared a lovely journey and testimony here. Praying that God opens doors for you.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete