Well, it has been a few weeks since I posted.
But who wants to blog when you have two rounds of family and friends come to town? You get to spend your days with you friends Utah skiing and at museums? You’re able to take a relaxing weekend trip with your husband for the first time in two years? And you have two big youth events to work around and help coordinate? Yeah, me either.
But hey, now I’m back.
And we’ll pick up right where we left off. That big gap. The one between finishing our pre-service training and receiving our paperwork.
That gap was providential.
Before we started our classes, a friend gave us tickets to see Dave Ramsey live at his Smart Money Tour in Salt Lake City (May 2016).
For the first three years of our marriage, there was very little money to manage, and we had always been careful. Our only debt was our house.
During that seminar, a couple only a few years our senior came up on stage to do their Debt Free Scream. They had paid off their house.
Let me say that again. They had paid off their house!
The house! And they were in their early thirties.
We went home inspired. We sat down with our budget. And we realized that while we weren’t swimming in debt, we also were not doing a good job of budgeting.
At the end of the month, our money was telling us where it had gone.
And it frustrated the tar out of us. We needed to change that trend and be the ones telling our money where to go.
I hated our monthly money meetings.
There was always stress and finger-pointing and discouragement over being unable to meet our goals and save like we should.
So we determined to change.
We started an envelope system. And when the whole cash thing did not succeed for me, we started a digital envelope system. That was a success.
While our home and expenses were within our means, saving and investing for our future was not. And as we looked deeper, even if we worked hard to pay off our house early, it still would take twenty years instead of thirty. Personally, that wasn’t how we wanted to spend the next twenty years. It isn’t wrong to pay for a house over thirty years, but both Joe and I felt deep down in our guts that we wanted to be free.
We didn’t want to be “slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
It took me a month. And Rachel Cruze’s book Love Your Life, Not Theirs. I finally sat down with Joe and said, “I think we need to sell our house.”
To which he replied, “I thought you’d never say that.”
When we moved to Utah, we sold our first home, a perpetual DIY foreclosure project.
We bought our dream house.
Our forever home (or so we thought).
We loved it. It was everything we hoped for in a house. And we had the best neighbors.
But the more I lived in that big house, the more I found myself struggling.
Struggling with materialism and then discouragement when I couldn’t keep it tidy after a day with my two Tasmanian devils spinning around.
We started looking online for a new home and stumbled upon a townhouse a little north of our current home. When I walked into the home and saw the panoramic view of the mountains, it was love at first site.
We made an offer that night.
Somehow, even with multiple offers, ours was accepted.
We listed our house the next day, and it, too, had multiple offers (for above what our realtor predicted!) and was under contract within 48 hours.
Even though moving was a ridiculous amount of work, we have never regretted it.
We were able to cut our payment in half.
We were able to drop to a 15 year fixed rate. We’re on track to be completely debt free in under 5 years. And I feel so much less overwhelmed with keeping it up. (Most days...then there are the other days when little people make it snow with baby powder or salt...)
Our financial goals were no longer pie-in-the-sky ideas.
We were able to make them a reality. It took some soul searching and sacrifice. But it was 100% worth it.
We had to really analyze "needs" versus "wants." And when we were honest with ourselves, our needs were much simpler than our culture and Instagram and Pinterest told us. Contentment. Contentment with a smaller, simpler way of life.
Within a couple months, our foster care licensing process was back on track, and we were feeling much more stable as a couple, a family, and in our finances.
And our marriage, I might add, was better than ever.
There’s something about financial security that boosts marriage stability.
And boy, would we need that stability in the months to come.