Testimony from Sue
When my husband and I got married over five years ago, we were a financial mess. We allowed bad habits to get worse by charging everything to our handy credit card.
Three years and two children later, a friend forwarded me an email about a website called MoneySavingMom.com. We didn’t know it then, but that email would change our lives.
I read Crystal’s blog faithfully each morning. She inspired me to read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and I was so excited that I read it in two days. My husband Ben read the book also and we dove head-first into creating a budget. These changes enabled us to live a comfortable, more budget-friendly lifestyle:
1. We stopped using credit cards and paid cash for everything.
Ben and I adopted the radical financial practice of paying cash-only. We found that we spent much less on average by using cash rather than using our debit cards. Although it took time to get used to, practice made perfect.
Our rule is once the cash is gone, it’s gone. No more spending.
2. We began shopping at discount and second-hand stores for everything.
Clothing, home decor, bread; we had to get creative! I found our local bread outlet to be a great deal. We stock up every few months and keep the excess in our chest freezer. Also, since our house is a “fixer-upper,” we found that shopping at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a useful resource for supplies and hardware.
3. I couponed like crazy.
As a stay-at-home mom, couponing became a much like a part-time job to save money for our family. MoneySavingMom.com made this step so much easier by outlining the drugstore game, highlighting creative ways to get coupons, and listing store match-ups by region.
4. We learned to say “no.
Difficult as it was, we learned to say “no” to family and friends for restaurant outings or vacations in order to stick to our budget. We also learned to enjoy the art of entertaining from our home. It is a great way to spend time with others in a comfortable, budget-friendly environment.
5. We stuck to our convictions and tweaked our plan.
Throughout this change in our lives, Ben and I have relied heavily on God and his provision in our lives. We continued to tithe 10% of our income and manage our money the best we knew how.
Our plan to pay off debt has changed with our circumstances, but our budget has stayed the same. In the past three years of living on a budget, we have saved for an emergency fund, paid off one vehicle, and paid cash to complete my college education!
Living on a budget has not only blessed our family financially, but it has allowed us to live freely and peacefully within our means. We may not know what God has for our future, but we have found great joy in a simple life today.
Sue is a full-time mom, proud wife of a firefighter, and a recent college graduate. She has a passion for saving money and living simply. Sue and her family live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.