Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Journey Towards Living on Less

"To live content with small means- to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich"- William Ellery Channing

In June of 2008, we had our first child. At that time I was working as a teacher and my husband was an Athletic Trainer. Neither of these professions is exactly known for paying well (especially where we live in the South), and so when we felt like God was leading me to take a year off of work, it was a little scary. We felt confident that it was what we were being called to do, so I left my job with the intention of returning one year later. During this time I stayed at home with Karsyn, began learning how to live on less, and finished Graduate school.

We were surprised month after month when the budget written out on paper always came up short, but because of God's faithfulness, we always had enough money. On paper it didn't work, but it did work month after month after month.

I returned to work in the Fall of 2009 as a School Counselor and Marcus had been promoted to working in a Administrative role at the hospital he had been working for. We decided we wanted to have another child and it happened quicker than we expected. Mack would be joining our family in May, and once again we felt called that I should take a year off of work.

With the things we had learned over the past two years, we were much more knowledgeable in how to not only set up a budget, but to actually stay within it. I had also learned many tips and strategies for saving money through couponing, selling items, buying items on discount, consignment shopping, etc.

Over the next week I'll try to post some things here that helped us, in hopes that they can help you!

Let me be very clear on this point. We do NOT have it all figured out. There are thousands more people who know far more than we do and who have much more evolved systems. I will share with you what works for us and then you can do with it what you wish.

For today's post, I'll give you a few resources that you can begin using now and looking over. I'll also add some helpful information that may motivate you on your journey towards living within your means.

My favorite resources on financial freedom:
Dave Ramsey

He has MANY publications, DVDs, Group Studies, tools, software programs, etc. that can help you get started. I will talk more about some of the tools we used most in tomorrow's post.

Faith Based Family Finances which is published by Focus on the Family Ministries.

And many of the resources from Crown Financial Ministries and the Crown Money Map.

I'll be giving more specific information from these tomorrow that will help you get started. For now- some helpful things we have learned:

1- The way we spend our money should reflect our convictions on life.
2- It is OKAY to invest in things that really matter. It is also okay to spend money on things that don't every now and then. The key difference is to plan to do those things- to intentionally set aside money ahead of time so that you afford them.
3- Debt will only serve to enslave you to the past.
4- We have GOT to learn the difference between a luxury and a necessity.
5- Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like. - Will Rogers
6- Cash is a tool that we can use to build, repair, or create what matters most to us. - Dave Ramsey
7- Our goal is that WE should tell our money where it should go- Dave Ramsey
8- It is essential that both partners in a marriage are equally committed to the same goals and spending/savings plan.
9- If you will live like no one else (not spending money, cutting out all non-necessary expenses, not buying things we don't need to try to fill some void), then later you can live like no one else (completely debt free, able to give money to others, to your family, etc.) Dave Ramsey
10- Keep it Simple and stay focused on the goal you are trying to reach. Dave Ramsey calls this Gazelle-like intensity.

Please join me again tomorrow as I show you how I put together our written budget and how we stick to it. I'll also try to cover our envelope cash spending system, couponing basics, and anything else you might have questions about. If you happen to still be reading, do me a favor. If you aren't a follower yet, click FOLLOW. It thrills my soul each time I get a new reader!   Also, please comment or send me a private message and let me know what questions you have or anything you want to know about these topics.

Love you all!


  1. We LOVE Dave Ramsey... saved us when Wade was laid off and has changed our mindset of how God wants us to manage our finances. Still learning a lot, but have made leaps and bounds towards being better stewards with God's money. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm so excited to read all your thoughts on this! I love the part about "debt only serves to enslave you to your past". That is SOOO true! We have been on a journey to debt free living and we are about 1 month away! I think the best part of paying each thing off is being one step closer to the freedom to give as we want without feeling like we're taking money we need to pay for things we thought we needed at age 20. You could call it our "stupidity tax" I guess! I'll just be so happy when it's gone!

  3. I'm sorry I'm late commenting on this, just now having a chance to catch up on your blog. Love the quote :) It's in my quote notebook. One of my all time favorites!


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