Category Archives: Finance

Rising to the Challenge

Over the past 6 months, I have had the opportunity to meet with a health coach every other week. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was something I would definitely recommend!

I worked with Pamela from Five Foundations Holistic Health Coaching. We met at my house for about an hour every other week until I moved and then we finished our sessions by phone. At the beginning, Pam asked me about my habits – eating, exercise, spiritual, etc – and then worked with me to set goals for the next 1, 3, and 6 months. Based on my goals, I told Pam which areas I would like to focus on and she helped with exercise ideas, recipes, organization or time management strategies, anything at all. 

It was so nice to get those few moments to focus on myself and what my goals are. As a mom, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and only focus on the kids. But what I kept finding was that there were a lot of things I wanted to do, almost nothing I was actually doing, and a lot of stress/guilt/depression about the situation. I “didn’t have time” or “didn’t know how” to make changes and these meetings with Pam made all the difference!

I can most definitely say that writing out goals and prioritizing them and then working toward accomplishing them has made me a better person. A better mom, a better wife, a better follower of Jesus, a better everything.

I am proud of myself and the things I accomplished over the past 6 months. I have met almost all of my goals and am close to completing the last few. Pam’s support throughout the process was critical. When I first made the goals, she made sure they were specific and measurable. As I worked on them she researched answers for me, held me accountable for action, and encouraged me to keep working on them. Over time if something wasn’t quite working out, she helped me re-work my goal and evaluate my daily routine.

I now read my Bible more often, work out consistently, run faster than before, weigh 30 pounds less, make time to read for fun/growth, and I am working on cooking at home more. Pam has had a major role in helping me reach my goals.

Why use a health coach?

  • Pam was there for ME. Her focus was on helping ME make positive changes in my life.
  • Pam was my accountability partner. I always knew that if I wasn’t doing what I said I wanted to, I’d have to admit it to her.
  • She provided extra resources, ideas, and modifications to help me along the way.
  • She ‘made’ me set goals for the future.
  • She helped me evaluate my life in all aspects: social life, joy, spirituality, creativity, finances, career, education, health, physical activity, home cooking, home environment, and relationships.
  • She had me set my priorities. I can’t do it all at once. Baby steps in each area.

This process has given me so much confidence in myself and my ability to affect change in my life. I really did feel stuck in a lot of areas before this. The weight of the things I wanted to do was crippling me and it resulted in my own inaction. I was accomplishing nothing. Now I have a system that has been working of setting goals, taking small steps towards achieving them, evaluating them over time, and adjusting as needed.

I know that technically I could have done it on my own, but the point is I wasn’t. And I had been trying. Having Pam as my health coach was the difference. If you get a chance to work with a quality coach that can teach you to make positive differences and help you set your priorities, do it!

Advertisements

It’s Official!

So, it’s official. We are moving to Nashville! Damien will be Dave Ramsey’s newest IT guy.

In general, I really like change. I like trying new things. This type of change is a lot like a double edged sword, though.

We love AZ. We love our family and how close we are to them. We love the friendships we have made. We love the weather here. We love the wide open spaces and beautiful outdoor opportunities.

We are so excited about working (I’m using we, but obviously only Damien has a jobJ) for a company that not only helps people change their lives financially, but is leading people to know Christ. I shared before about how Financial Peace University changed our lives and I meant it. Taking control of our finances has given us a peace and a freedom that we’ve never had. Teaching FPU over the last 9 weeks was absolutely amazing. Encouraging ourselves to be ‘gazelle intense’ and helping our friends along the way has been awesome. Sometimes I joke that we joined the Dave cult, but his methods and his company have forever altered our lives for the better. And now we get to be a part of that!

God has blessed us in some pretty incredible ways and he has always provided for us (and Damien’s career). Over the years he has opened and closed different doors along the way and this is another one of those opportunities. He is giving us an amazing chance to do something we are passionate about.

This has not been an easy decision. It would be infinitely easier to stay here where we have friends and family and we are comfortable. I am crushed that we are going so far away from family. In the past few years I have developed some of my best friendships. It hurts to leave.

But I know that God has opened up this opportunity for us. I know that he has big plans in store for us. And new friends. And amazing technology like Skype. And things I can’t even guess at. Although I’m sad, I can trust in a God who is always faithful.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Psalm 145:17

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.


Financial Peace University is Starting Soon!

After taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last summer, we felt led to lead a class of our own and it’s starting soon. Taking FPU was a life changer. For the first time, we took the things we knew we should be doing, combined with a bunch of new things we learned, and actually DID them. The group setting and class structure helped to keep us accountable. We actually wrote out and followed a budget for the first time. We made the decision to sell a bunch of stuff in order to get out of debt. We are now working on building an emergency fund. It is a totally different experience when you know you have the money to pay your bills and handle life’s hiccups. Throughout our married lives, God has blessed us immensely and I’m disappointed to report that we wasted a lot of it. God calls us to be good stewards with everything he gives us and that definitely includes our money. Now we have hope, and more importantly, a plan. We still mess up and make bad decisions, but we aren’t spending money we don’t have. Cutting up and closing all our credit cards keeps us honest. We actually CAN’T spend money we don’t have. We are responsible for planning and saving for emergencies. February is the 9th month we’ve budgeted through and it’s still a process. We are way faster at it and have a much better idea of what we spend on things, but it still requires dedication. I’m most excited about teaching this class so we can get back some of the intensity we had while paying off debt to help us finish the emergency fund. I don’t need that *thing* now. I need to provide for my family. If you have the opportunity to take FPU, or just read The Total Money Makeover, it can change your future.

Our class starts in two weeks from today! For more information about classes in your area, check out the class finder on Dave’s site.

white_gold_blueback


Freedom!

As I’ve mentioned before, we recently finished Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It was exactly the kick in the rear we needed. On the one hand it kills us that we wasted 9 years worth of money by not planning how we wanted to spend it, but on the other hand I am so thankful that we are still so young and are finally getting it figured out! I’m here to say:

We are debt free except our house!!!!

We were able to sell our truck and use the money to pay off our car and then within a few weeks we were able to pay off the little bit of consumer debt we had. Technically, we didn’t follow Dave’s debt snowball because we should have paid off the credit card first, but the point of the snowball is to get some emotional traction and keep you motivated. Not only did we not have long to go, but the car was such an emotional win. We have been talking about getting that car paid off for what feels like forever! I am proud to say with confidence that we will NEVER have another car payment.

If we want/need a new car, we will save up and buy one. We are definitely car people and enjoy the whole new car/fancy car thing. We would often drive through car lots for fun just to check out the newest models. On one hand we were always ‘reasonable’ about the cars we did buy, but let’s be honest. Why on earth is any car worth $15-$20,000 in debt? (more or less) My entire perspective on cars has shifted. I would still love to buy a fast car, but now I have no problem saving up for it. There is no way a car is going to out prioritize other things that I can do with my family. Like the kitchen upgrade we should have been able to do forever ago, but never budgeted in!

It’s also been neat to see God working in our financial transformation. Awhile ago we tried to sell our truck so that we could purchase Damien’s dad’s truck. Not only was the other truck the exact make and model we wanted, but it had/has incredible emotional significance because it was Andy’s. We listed our truck and put a sign in the window and nothing. No one even called us or anything. I think in a lot of ways God was protecting us. We definitely didn’t need Andy’s truck and I don’t think we would have been able to sell it this time around. Without that truck, we had no emotional tie to the vehicle we could sell to pay off the car. I’m thankful it didn’t work out before.

God has been working in much smaller ways, too. When we first started our budget, (It’s a process, but what a rewarding one!) we miscalculated how much money we could spend one of the weeks. We weren’t over budget, but the money we needed wasn’t coming until payday later that week – oops! We found ourselves needing a few groceries and we could have used our little emergency fund no problem until we could plan more efficiently, but God provided. That day Damien earned $10 cash for taking a survey. Who gets $10 from a survey?! It was little and I could say it was insignificant, but it wasn’t.

Not only is it neat to watch God work out the little things, a huge weight is off my shoulders. It’s hard to describe it, but I can breathe easier. This process is teaching us how to have discipline with our finances, but it’s also working on my attitude. Stuff won’t help me feel better. Having a handle on my family’s future does!