Living on Rice and Beans???

Over the last month I have become a Dave Ramsey fanatic. I urge you to search for his name on you tube. My friend who I meet with introduced me to his method of becoming debt free! I am in love with Mr. Ramsey so much that for the next 3-5 years my husband and I have decided to be poor! If you hear what Ramsey says, you will understand. But like Mr. Ramsey says, we will be living like no other people for the next couple of years to then live like no one else for the rest of our lives!!!He is a Christian man who not only has devoted his life to show and teach people to live without debt, but to spread the Word of God! He teaches us about integrity and financial wealth all in the same podcast that you can hear daily from 2pm-5pm Eastern time! It is live too!

I urge you to Google him, I t will completely change your life and/or at least the outlook of debt and budgeting. My husband and I have realized that we have been living not within our means and although we de-cluttered we had to look more in depth at the root of the problem. We have spent so much money over the last decade that it’s ridiculous!!! It makes me sad, for we have sinned, but it also makes us soooo MAD!!!! And let me tell you, being mad is a good thing! We are now attacking this problem with  gazelle intensity! We are being swift and we know who the enemy is!!! Like the Bible states in proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. (NIV)

Well my friends, we are sick of being slaves! We created this mess and we will take a choke hold of it! I will break it all down and I personally could care less what any friends reading this may think or what even some family members think, but I am putting ourselves out there to hold ourselves accountable! We owe a little over $70,000.00!!! YIKES! I won’t bore you with the exact numbers but just in student loans its about $40k, $18k for one of our cars and $6k for our other car, the rest is various credit cards. And guys…. that is not even counting our mortgage!!! The good news is that within 3-5 years we plan to have it ALL paid! And two years after that our house!!! And two years after the house our son’s college education and 6 months worth of our salary as an emergency fund!!! But it will take a lot of hard work, no going out (yet we still plan to have fun.. a lot of FREE fun), maybe extra jobs in our future and cutting a lot of expenses. I’m not saying live on rice and beans but damn close to it!!

So who is with me? Have any of you heard of Dave Ramsey?

It took getting rid of everything to see how much I truly have!

Over the last few weeks I have noticed such a huge change in me and my family. We are living with less but have gained so much! Our son Frankie is oblivious to it all since he is only 4, but he is such a sweet and caring boy that he seems to understand when we explain certain things to him and he is so adamant about doing things right to please us. Before all this, anything he wanted, any request, any double look he gave an object he got. For Christmas his budget has been unlimited for the last 4 years of his life. For his birthday he gets whatever he wants from us and we throw this HUGE party that people would think it’s his Bar Mitzvah! We invite close to 150 people and the kids! We have his birthday at a huge hall at our church with 2-3 bounce houses that fit cozy inside incase it rains since his birthday is in June. We have more food than we know what to do with and to top it all off, we ask the guest to bring a check to donate to our charity of choice that year. Not to mention that we hire people to entertain the kids and we give toys to almost every kids who attended the party. Overall, his birthday usually costs between $5000-$8000. Yes! Ridiculous and I see that now. Frankie now knows that he only gets new toys for his birthday (which will be budgeted to  $100 in gifts and a birthday party of 8-10 friends at our house) and on Christmas (this year the budget will be $150, plus family gifts). He is also allowed to buy his own gifts with his own money. We call it his commission and he can earn up to $4 per week. When he turns five the commission will increase to $5 and so on! We don’t pay our son an allowance for chores around the house. He has to do them regardless. He is a part of the family and therefore must work and pitch in with the family. He earns the commission for simply doing good in school, behaving and going the extra mile! He will know that with hard work and dedication great fruits will come his way.

So, besides giving up the spending that was out of control towards our son we have gained more time with him. We play with him, do outside activities, we talk, we teach him and he is even taking a sense of pride on the chores we give him. This not only pleases us but he himself has become a much happier kid! Our son holds his head up high every time we praise him! His shoulders roll back as he reminds you how good he did at something. He talks to us about his day as soon as daddy comes home from work and tells us who did what and what he did at school. He is even more thankful. He thanks me for making his breakfast, packing his lunch or snacks, and even thanks me for cleaning the house and having it so pretty! Every Sunday he also tells me how beautiful I look wearing this or that. Whether its my dress, a shirt, my hair bow or a simple bracelet. I have gained a loving boy who will eventually grow up to be a caring man who appreciates women, the work we put in and the meaning of hard work! He has gained a lifetime of happiness knowing that we love people and not things.

Another thing I have gained is better conversations with the hubby! At night we don’t watch TV anymore. If we do it is on a Friday night, but even that has become a lost art in our bedroom. Before it was turn on Netflix, let’s catch the Walking Dead, what is on E!, etc… Now we talk more about our day. He gets to know more about my work and vice versa. We talk about our projects, our plans, our budget. We do things together. At least he tries to help more with things around the house. It is taking him a while because he is very unorganized. He is making more of an effort to wake up earlier. He is writing to do lists, notes and reminders. I have gained so much more from my husband over the last month than in the last ten years of our married life so far! It is amazing!

I have a new found respect for myself. I feel like I have accomplished so much. Not only the things around my house, but in my personal view of myself. As you all know I have a huge self acceptance issue and I turn to food for many if not all of the things that go on and when I think I have a grasp of it, it turns out that I don’t! I have to keep reminding myself that I am worth it. I am worth more than that cake, more than those chips, you get the picture. If Jesus could pass the temptations of his fasting after the 40 days, how could I not pass by a moment of temptation? With living with less, I have been able to create (yet not mastered, but working on it) a plan for food. I have a budget and I must stick to it! It must be healthy and it must be things we all enjoy to eat. Food Proportions will come in handy a lot more when I start to tighten up this budget a bit more and although it is still a work in progress, it is a steering in the right direction!

I dare you my friends to do this with me! You will fee freeing! You will gain more than you would lose. I am seeing now that all those material things that made me so happy in reality didn’t. Only for a small moment they brought happiness which then turned o clutter and a way of clogging up my life. It took something so drastic to open up my eyes! I am thankful to God for allowing me to see beyond our material world. I lived a life of sin by being so materialistic and for portraying something I was not. Something that was taking away from others viewing the real me.



Update on de-cluttering my life!

I am finally finished! I have de-clutter, organized and formatted my home and my life. So many changes have been made. Big Decisions have been prayed about, talked about with my husband and a new plan has been set in place! The past week Of having everything organized and de-cluttered has been a God-sent! I’ve had more time to spend with Frankie, to read, to concentrate on simple tasks that I have been meaning to get around to at home. It really is more fulfilling to live with less!

I have however been struggling with my eating habits these last two weeks. I have been so occupied to getting the house to where I was happy that I have let myself go. I have been eating everything in sight and have gained weight in the process. Now that I have more of a flow of things I need to get right back on track!

Let me tell you that getting ready in the morning has become a breeze, and although I must admit that I have added a few key pieces of clothing to my wardrobe it has been to compliment the new look and color scheme of things. I have gotten rid of even more shoes! I know, what is wrong with me? I have realized that if something is not working then it must go!

I also finally got around to talking to my priest about my decision to leave my job. He was so kind an understanding about it. I have had second thoughts as I mentioned before because now I have signed up to getting out of debt the Dave Ramsey way and well, the extra money would have been nice but I can always apply at any other jobs and if they don’t make me happy or are bringing more stress, then I will let it go. I am not bound to anyone or anything besides my husband and child. That’s the way I see it.

What have you done lately to de-clutter your life, your home, your thoughts?

My child is worth more of my time.

My husband and I are VERY active at our church and our community. Since Frankie was a newborn he has been next to us in every activity that we have devoted our time to. So much so that he himself volunteers and several things at our parish since he has been three years old. We draw the line somewhere though and the reason I am writing this post is to bring light to those parents that volunteer sooooooo much that their kids suffer from it. Yes, we see it. The mom or dad are so involved in helping everyone, every group, different churches that their kids get dragged everywhere, they don’t have other interaction with kids their ages. I’ve seen the parents or mother of the kids asking people in the community to watch their kids because they have to be somewhere to volunteer, because they promised so-and-so that they would help, etc. It saddens me!!! It actually infuriates me! I believe that spending time with your child(ren) is much more important than any volunteer work you can give. There is a limit and kids need to be kids. If you are a parent, mother/father that does this frequently, I please urge you to volunteer more of your time with your kids. Trust me… It will please God more if you do.

A year of peace… Why I’m quitting almost everything!

Since the beginning of November I began to notice that my stress level was up the roof. I was smoking like a chimney which is something I picked up as of lately because before I was a smoker who would only do two maybe three cigarettes per day and that was it. It came to the point that I was smoking nearly a pack a day. It got worse when my husband lost his job after Thanksgiving break. That was the eye opener! He has been our main bread winner and without his salary how where we going to make ends meet?

I have always been great at math and our budget and of course, that is where I started to look. What can we cut down? Boy o’ Boy I was in for a huge surprise. We became that materialistic, disposable family that accumulated stuff! We had our son in every sport we could attend, signed him up to every website he can learn from, we acquired more and more shit along the way that some of it just sat at home and even some with tags still on them. We were indulgent, sinful, wasteful, whatever you want to call it. How can it be? How did we get there? It was all the money one starts getting used to. It is unbelievable to even think that without my husbands salary that we would survive financially. What did we do when we first got married? Both our combined salaries then didn’t even come close to just my husbands salary, yet here we were, with his “BIG” salary, my decent salary (my 40 hours per week job as a secretary) and a Part time job (20 hours per week as Director of Religious Education) All this EXTRA money and we were broke?? How is that possible. I guess this is were I started looking into having less, but yes you already read about us minimalizing our home and de-cluttering just not the house but our lives, but now I want to also live stress free (or close to it) and this implies us working less. Yes, you read correctly.

For my new years plan (because I hate to call it a resolution) Was to be happier and have a lot less stress in everything and anything that involves us (me in particular who is doing this more drastically) If something doesn’t bring me happiness and/or is bringing upon stress in my life I am getting it out of the way, away from me, out of our lives, or working to make that aspect of it better. It’s funny because as I have gotten rid off at least 75% of everything that was cluttering up our lives and I of course offered certain things to my family first (jewelry, appliances, art work, anything of high value) they have come to the conclusion that we are moving. LOL! I explained to them about this whole minimalizing our lives and they just don’t get it. Hopefully they will get to see how happy living with less is making us because I can already see the change.

The crazy part of all this is that last week I quit my part time job as Director of Religious Education. I know crazy right? I love what I do. I love the kids most of all! I love it that we are molding young minds and teaching them about the faith. I am a firm believer that Religious Education is not just information that we teach these kids about the Bible and our Faith. It is Faith Formation! We are forming them to know and defend their faith! With that being said, this is what is stressing me the most. It has been about 3-4 years that I have been dealing with whether or not this is right for me. The reason being the parents. Believe it or not, most of them take their children to CCD Classes (a.k.a. Sunday School) to get them out of their hair for 3 hours. They never know what is going on. The kids don’t turn in assignments, the parents clearly don’t care, then when you seem like the total b*tch for reminding them (almost to the point of harassing them for information or paperwork) of events, etc. Then there are those that drop them off very early when they know my husband and I are there setting up and guess what? They pick them  up late AFTER Mass is over!!! Where are they? Why didn’t they come to Mass? I feel like the Sunday babysitter most of the times. I think that working with the parents bring on the most stress. I don’t want that in my life anymore. Not for a while. I want to get away from it for some time. I talked to our priest and explained to him. He was very surprised but understanding. I’m not leaving the church, my community, just de-cluttering that aspect of my life too! I will miss it though. Dearly!!! So much to the point that it aches me and I second guess whether or not I have made the right decision.

Only time will tell, and for now I will continue to get rid of anything that doesn’t make me happy. Things will be tight around our household but not impossible. Common’ I have God on my side! I have faith!  I believe a lot of good will come from this. Plus, the only true test is time.