A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.Chinese Proverb
Well, I certainly do not have the answers! It took a while, but as I continued to take lessons in finance, eventually I knew there would be the boring stuff – you know, like a budget and tracking money! Healing myself spiritually was underway by putting God first and with giving more of my money and time to others. I then stated with an act of faith and although it was not a great deal of money, I began to pay myself first. To this point I was now putting 10% contributions, $40 a month to those in need, and 1% of my money to a 401k (myself) with $1,000 in savings from a tax return.
It was time to list all my monthly bills – it ain’t pretty!
Mortgage: $ 1,412
Student Loan: $210
Vehicle 1: $143
Vehicle 2: $168
2nd Mortgage: $335
Consolidation Loan: $440
Credit Card: $125
Cell Phone: $100
Total: $3,473 – Told you it was a mess!
Add in now –
Tithing – $512
Offerings – $40
401K – $50
Total – $602 ($4,075 grand total.)
Still need food, gasoline, kids expenses, entertainment, and other essential items.
Income: $3,828 so a deficit each month of $247.
The first thing I thought of to do was to ask for an income contingency payment on my student loans. I did not want to defer them completely but wondered about a lower payment. I was able to drop $110 off that payment to a new total of $100.
Then it was raise and bonus time. The raise was 2%, so it covered my 1% to 401K and gave me a few extra bucks. My new income was $3,916 or + $88, though $16 was added to tithing.
With the bonus I received I was able to pay-off one of the vehicles to free up another $168. Next, I shut off the TV to free up a cool $100.
New totals: My $247 deficit was now +$203, but, remember I was using my CC for food and gas and so that payment went up by $125, so I was now really at a +$78. Positive is positive though, no?
Still, it was clear that we needed to stop running up debt. If we could get to that point, we could at least stop the bleeding.
At least the reality was on paper and I could see it in front of me. Also, by putting it on paper I was able to make some immediate adjustments to help out, as well as to face the music on other areas that needed my attention.