How We Got Out of Debt - Why and How We Manage Our Finances
My husband and I have not been brought up with a healthy relationship with money. We have both had "bad" role models on financial stewardship, but life isn't always so black and white. We were never taught to save, and money burned a hole in our pockets. If we had it, we spent it. If we wanted to buy something and didn't have the money for it, we simply borrowed or took loans for them. Some home items were bought on a monthly payment system, thankfully in Finland, but they too add up on bill day (The price tag doesn't change)! Anyhow, it seemed like our intentions were good, we tried to save up, but those savings too were spent eventually. We seemed to be eating our future paychecks and the pay was gone before we ever got to see it. We always tithed 10% regardless of our financial situation.
It wasn't until we moved to another continent that we were really put to the test. Money was sparse, we had a few maxed out credit cards (nothing major) that needed paying off and we were visiting the food bank on a regular basis. Our faith was put to the test. We even contemplated halving what we tithed until things settled a bit.
God was teaching us to trust in His timing with things that we wanted and needed. He taught us that His way would free us from our debts and loans. We watched the Financial Freedom Seminar (20h, 1h x 20 days) by Embassy Institute, in the evenings while the kids were sleeping. God showed us a lot, not just what the Bible says about finances, but also on other areas too. One major thing that I took with me was, "if you're moving in the right direction, it will be blessed", God blesses the right road. So my husband and I put that all to the test, what was there to lose?? First, we started to tithe from our first fruits, before tax. Secondly we made a promise to buy anything on credit. Thirdly, we aimed to pay off our debts and loans before we made any new purchases.
We really needed a car. We didn't have money to buy a car and certainly not for another 5 years if we were to pay our debts off first and then pay the car in cash! Well, like I said -God DOES bless the right direction.
We had a few temptations along the way, to deal with the matter ourselves. One was increased credit on our credit cards. I had a letter and an email that said all I had to do is dial this number and press "9" for instant credit. Oooh that was tempting, especially because I wanted all our bills in one country (it would've saved us hundreds of over seas fee) which some of us know as "debt consolidation". But we were determined and we did recognize it as an attack, something good was coming and we were not going to blow it by accepting "worldly" ways. I'm so glad I deleted and threw that letter in the bin. Why?
Because, a few months later, while we had our taxes done and wishing for only enough to cover the service fee, God blessed our direction. We got enough taxes back to cover all the credit card bills and loans in Finland, and the sending fee -to the penny. Not kidding. It's true. It didn't make sense, and it didn't have to. We knew, it was all God!
So this is how we manage our finances. No living off credit. We have credit cards to pay for things that can only be paid by credit. If you can't afford it in cash, you can't afford it on VISA either. We will save up for everything. If we can't afford it there and then, then we don't buy it. We don't lend money, we give -if God puts that on our hearts. We tithe from our first fruits, not our seconds. We put some into savings, what ever we can on any given month. Our food budget is higher for a good reason. Quality over Quantity. Organic over Contaminated and so on... We are working on the savings part, we are still learning.
How did we purchase our very first car a few months later? Read all about it, here