Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goin' Green - Financially

If I could say that my husband and I have an area of our marriage where we've been through the ringer and back, it would be in the area of finances. We've done it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm so open about this area now to anyone who wishes to 'talk shop' because, well, I feel like wherever you are - we've been. I wish I could tell the whole's a good one. But the gist is.....

We've had plenty. We've been lean. We've had just enough. We've had not enough. And we've survived with our marriage intact (and even a few battle scars). In the past five years, my hubs and I have "Dave Ramsey'd" ourselves debt free (except mortgage) and it felt good. Unbelievably good. Since then, we've loosened a little with extreme "budgets", but the motivation for simplicity stuck.

Then came Africa. I came back to my remodeled home and Lexus SUV.....and I just felt stupid. Then came budget cuts from our schools. We both are teachers, so take every healthcare hike and teacher salary freeze and multiply it times two - not fun. Then comes ballet lessons, food cost increasing, rising gas prices.....whew! We both realized we needed to get in "Dave" mode again before we were right back to where we used to be.

My point is......whatever you gotta do to get your budget in order - you just gotta do it. I know so many people who are struggling financially, and as someone who's 'been there' I say - swallow your pride and just do it. Whatever needs to be done, sold, taken on, etc. - just do it.

Five years ago, to get Dave Ramsey debt free, my hubs and I sold our nice (expensive) house and two nice Tahoes and bought a tiny 1200 sq.ft home and two cars that cost less than $8,ooo combined. We drove those stinkers until they nearly fell apart, but we got debt free in the process and never felt smarter. It did hurt and we were embarrassed at first.....but only for a little while. We just felt smarter the less 'out of debt' we got.

Fast forward five years..... a medium sized affordable home and two used (but paid for) larger cars. Better, but still not 'green' on the gas budget. Africa helped me let go of any attachment to my "Lex" so, a few days ago, we went to one dealership and traded in both our guzzlers for greener cars. No financing, just a sign on the line deal. Once again - we feel smart. A little snug, but smart. ; )

$35 fill ups rock.

This really isn't a 'pat us on our back' post. I hope it doesn't come off that way. What I do know, is that there are 150+ readers out there (some of who may be newly married, in financial trouble, about to have kids, etc.) and maybe, just maybe, this post might encourage some to 'go green' financially in their own way.

Marriage is hard enough. Money stress only magnifies it. If you are out there and any of this sounds familiar, email me. We have an excel file that we've crafted over the years and it really helps when it comes to planning your month.

Again - just a helpful post today. None of this is eternal anyway....


L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys said...

This is a great post and one that hit home today given what my husband mentioned to me this morning before he left for work.

Thanks for sharing I would love to see your excel file.

Thanks again for the post!

Hanna•made said...

I would love to have a copy of the spreadsheet. My husband and I are also both teachers. My email is I can't get the contact you button to pull up on my computer in order to email you. Thanks so much for this post, and being so real about an often "untalked about" topic.

Mavis & Harriet said...

So true! I went to a mom's nite out Tues and when I was leaving I saw a friend drive off in her old van, they just built a 6000 sq foot home completely debt free, I was driving my 99 jeep that I bought at a GARAGE SALE for $1000 (and never have had a problem with) and we built our home debt free, laughing to myself that others probably think we are too poor for nicer cars. No, just that we know what really matters in life and don't need others approval, only our Saviours!!! Love you!

Sarah said...

Dave Ramsey is the way to go! We wouldn't have survived the past 4-5 years if we hadn't gotten our finances in order. Some months are really hard, but it would be much harder if we were drowning in debt!

Jody said...

Great encouragement! The hubs and I are still working on getting debt free - which has proven to be a tad bit harder when you're paying for two IVF cycles in the thick of it, and one more to come next year. But its been worth it. Its so encouraging to hear other people tell their "we're debt free!" stories and know that these penny-pinching and disciplined years will be worth it in the end.

Lane said...

Hi Flo,

I've read your blog for years and stumbled upon it when reading a good friend's sister's blog. The good friend is Lara Thurman...I read "Katie's Kisses" after you blogged about it and Katie's message certainly hit home.

I would love to see your spreadsheet. My email address is

Thanks for sticking with it all these years!

Lane from McKinney

Laurie said...

I would love a copy of the spreadsheet. I am proud of you for sharing. It is often hard to someone who just got a new car, I still feel guilty driving it...I still miss my old expedition. As someone who has followed D.R., I have often been embarrassed by where i live...only to realize it was the smartest thing we ever did buying what we did when we did. Thank you again for making me feel not so "alone."

Rhonda @ Restored~Home said...

Please send me your spreadsheet. We have just started DR and need some help. It is very tough but very necessary. Thanks!

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