Friday, January 17, 2014

Finances on Friday

I've been reading Rebecca's Finances on Friday posts and I thought that was a great way to really see what proactive choices you can make to improve finances.

So........I'm joining her link up to start my own Finances on Friday post!

If you've been reading my blog you know that about five years ago my husband lost his job and was unemployed for a year. Oh, he looked for jobs. Anywhere and everywhere. He was told he was underqualified, overqualified, too much, too little, too this or too that. One place told him he had been unemployed too long. (?) And many, many places didn't even acknowledge they received his application.  He went to places and asked for employment only to be told, "Go home and apply online." My husband is an eleven year military veteran, has experience in security, law enforcement, management, higher education and the finacial industry. You think he would have been able to find a job. And he did. At a home improvement store for minimum wage-part time for the next six months.

When you have (at the time) eight kids and you are the only source of income for your family-minimum wage and part time doesn't cut it.

So, we lost everything.

Why am I hashing all of this out again?  Well, let's just say it's been a long road. A VERY LONG ROAD.

There was a lot of questioning God, a lot of second guessing, a lot of guilt (am I doing everything I absolutely can?) and a lot of fear and disappointment.

I know many of you are Dave Ramsey fans, and I think he has some wonderful financial advise, but I hate his attitude. It's basically, "You are in a bad finacial place because you made bad finacial decisions because you are stupid."

You know, I don't think anyone ever makes perfect financial decisions. Hindsight is always 20/20. But, doing everything perfectly doesn't guarantee you financial success. Or even financial security. It's like cancer (I know-hang with me here). You can eat healthy and organic, exercise, not smoke, use less chemicals, and take supplements, but it doesn't guarantee that you won't someday get cancer.

See where I'm going with this?

I absolutely think that being a good steward with your finances is essential, especially if you are a Christian, God instructs us to be good stewards. And, that is precisely why I choose to be frugal and wanted to join this link up.

But, God may also allow things to happen in your life for His greater purposes, even though those purposes make NO sense to us whatsoever. We don't all have the same story, God uses us in different ways. And, just as he can use an illness in our lives to bring us near to Him, he can use finances (or loss of) to bring us near to Him as well.

So, here we are five years later. I've learned a lot, grown a lot, and have some closure. Do I understand why God chose to allow our finacial ruin and have us move across the country to Oklahoma? Umm. No, I still don't know. Ha! But, I do trust that He knows the bigger picture even if I don't!

I do, however, think that in God's timing we will have some land and a house (possibly very soon?!) to do a little farming and homesteading. This is something we've wanted to do for practically our entire marriage. Fresh eggs and vegetables and milk and ............

But, in the meantime, I can still keep track of what I'm doing to help us continue to get back on track!

My efforts this week:

-Used some swag bucks for Paypal cash to buy some maternity jeans I needed.

-Made a big batch of potato soup for dinner and to share with my book club, so I wouldn't be tempted to spend money by grabbing something quick (and a lot easier) at the store on the way there.

-Did a little work to promote my homeschool books on Currclick.

-Made a batch of homemade laundry detergent.

-Used a gift card from Christmas for a dinner date with David at Olive Garden. The total after the gift card was under $8. I can't even remember the last time I ate there. It was yummy! And, I had left overs for lunch the next day.

-Repurposed a plastic shelving unit from storage to use in the boys room.

-Bought some chicken breast for $1.79 a pound at Sam's. Cheapest I've seen it in a while!

-And, got gas at Sam's to save five cents a gallon.

-Was given two bags of hand me downs (for me!) that had two cute pairs of shoes in great condition! And some cozy sweatpants! (Yippee! Thanks to my friend!)

-A shout out to the window repairman! The passenger side of my van window rolled down, but wouldn't roll back up-on the way to church-the day it was snowing (I know!). I reluctantly called to have it fixed, because this is the fourth thing since September I've had to have worked on. (An icy branch went through my windshield last month, and some radiator work twice). Anyway, he couldn't figure out what was wrong with it after two hours of working on it, so he just pushed it back up (I can live with that) and didn't even charge me for looking at it. Bless his heart!

And, just to keep it real, where my efforts went a little awry.....

-Lost a library book. Yeah. :(

-Forgot to make David's lunch one day so he had to eat out.

-Internet bill went up $7 this year. Ouch!

Anyway, Thanks to Rebecca at Renaissance for allowing us to link up! Head over there and see what ideas others had this week!


Rebecca said...

I am so glad you suggested a link-up, Courtney! How nice it was to read this wonderful post and hear your story.

I think you are absolutely right about financial struggles being a way to shape us, purify us and draw us to Him. And you are absolutely right about not all financial struggles being the fault of an individual. (I get that vibe with D.Ramsey too)

May the Lord bless you both spiritually AND financially this year! ;-)

Well done, you.

Courtney said...

Thanks Rebecca! May the Lord bless you and your family as well!

Kimberly said...

Thank you for sharing with us! Really gives me hope there are reasons behind everything we go though. I am so looking forward to sharing goals with you and leaning from your adventures as well!

Courtney said...

Great, Kimberly! I'm looking forward to it as well!

Godly-young-widow said...

Thanks for sharing. I experienced a milder version of that almost 2 years ago and I still sometimes struggle over it. It wasn't just money; it was my dignity. I remember times I asked God, how much more "suffering for doing right" do I need to go through?
Swagbucks are such a blessing, huh? I found that off a link, I can't remember if it was someone's blog(maybe yours?) or in the process of some other link I found on making money online. I just gotta try to keep it in balance; it can very easily be time-consuming.
Blessings on you and yours

Courtney said...

Yes, Godly young widow! And, I tend to worry too much about what others are thinking, my own downfall I know, but it's still hard....

It definately is a balance. I would feel guilty for not doing everything I could, but I finally realized that not everything was worth the time I had to put into it. Still a work in progress. :)

Alyssa Spring said...

Thanks for sharing! ANd THANK YOU for saying what you said about Dave Ramsey... I also love his advice but any time we are struggeling financially I always feel such huge guilt. just can't dig yourself out of the hole when life throws it's huge curves at you. I look forward to reading your blog more. :)

Courtney said...

Alyssa, I'm so glad you hopped on over here to my blog! It's always nice to have encouragement, especially with something as "taboo" as financial struggles even though so many of us are in the same boat right now.

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