Over the last few months, Ben and I have been working through Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" with some friends of ours, Coltin and Chelsea. (Click on their names to head over to their blog, Chelsea is a professional baker if you are in the DFW area and need cupcakes/cookies/cake for any reason!) We snagged the dvd kit from our church, bought membership kits, and were set up. Since then, every Thursday (with some skips for things!) we have switched off meeting at each other's homes. We have dug into what it really means to be good stewards of our finances and explored hard things together. Working through this process, and starting the envelope system has truly changed my life.
Um... what? For those of you who know me in real life, you know that I love to shop. I love beautiful, quality things. Ben goes back and forth between his love for J. Crew and thrift shops, but he is for sure the more level headed one when it comes to finances. For the girl that used to buy every single piece of clothing from Anthropologie, or would throw in a cute dress or cardigan every time she went to Target... life is completely changed. Yes, I still love Anthro with a fiery love, but it is my responsibility as a wife and as a future mother to handle our money wisely and to plan for the future.
When we first got married, Ben had a ledger where he wrote out all the areas he thought we would spend money, and an estimated budget. It was my job to stick to that budgeted amount for each category. Really, only groceries. We struggled each month with not going over. I thought that dealing with the money was the husband's job, that it was all on Ben. But soon, I realized that I was the only one spending our money, so I needed to take a more hands on role in how we could do that in a responsible, God- honoring way. After noticing that I was the one buying everything that we needed, we reached a turning point. When we needed groceries or paper towels or whatever, I could pull out our debit or credit card and watch our money float away before our eyes, OR I could get serious. At this point, handling our finances with wisdom became a way for me to honor Ben and love him well. As I mentioned here, I married the hardest working man alive. It is 100% true that the majority of money that has ever come to him from working or as a gift has gone into savings or investments. The man planned for our life together as an 8th grader. These things are what allowed us to get married before graduation, and even buy a house right before we got married. What a blessing! I sure wasn't going to be the wife that came in and blew it all. He was loving me all of those years with his hard work and saving, and it was now my turn to return that love by being a good steward of our finances.
The thing is, that learning more about how to manage our finances in a Godly way has taught us more than I ever imagined. Now, we look at each dollar as an opportunity to give to someone extravagantly, to be invested and provide education for our future children, or to go towards our dream of building a home one day.
All of this to say, next week is our final week of Financial Peace University, and we are celebrating with a few blog posts detailing our journey. We have dreams of one day being able to blog and look back on paying off our house early. But for now, we are celebrating a program that changed our lives and our young marriage.
I will be sharing the tangible details of how we manage the big bad "Envelope System", why we believe wise money management is so important and how we plan to celebrate completing FPU. Man, I could already get started on my love for the envelope system. I want to talk about it constantly because it just plain fires me up. I NEVER thought I would say that. I was SO kicking and screaming against using cash for things. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Have any of y'all gone through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University? Anyone have any specific questions about budgeting or using the envelope system or how you could get connected with an FPU class?
We so look forward to sharing our journey so far, as soon as we return from Salt Lake City! Happy weekend, friends!
If you are already pumped up by reading this post, which I hope and pray that you are.... check out the incredible series on "Financial Freedom" written by photographer, Nancy Ray. These posts are what started to get my thoughts brewing about finances!
I'm linking up with these two incredible blogs today: