Friday, February 11, 2011

Financial Peace

Financial Peace.  Those two words probably don't go together in most people's vocabularies.  They really haven't for us since we have two opposing philosophies about money!  But considering the statistics about marital problems stemming from money, it might be a good thing to work on!

Just over a year ago I started hearing about Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University.  It sounded a little weird to me and the cost to take the class was fairly high.  So I dismissed it.

After buying a house and trying to keep a budget for six months, at the new year we saw that the class was being offered again.  In the interim I had actually learned quite a bit more about it and Brian knew way more about Dave Ramsey than I did, so we signed up.

The church very graciously gave us a scholarship for some of the cost and we dove in.  What is Financial Peace University?  It's a thirteen week video class taught by Dave Ramsey (some of you may have heard of him? =) with the basic premise being to get out of debt quickly.  And also, how to be on the same page as your spouse.  That's the part I wanted, but we've learned a lot of other things and actually prioritized some things in our life.  And we're only on week 5!

The first "baby step" as Ramsey calls them is to get a thousand dollars in an emergency fund.  We sat down and figured out our taxes and realized that we would get enough back (and then some) to fully fund this account soon.  And then both our cars went into the shop.

Brian's car had an oil leak that we thought started right after it was last serviced.  But it turned out to be some seals around the engine that really needed to be replaced... at a cost of almost a thousand dollars.  While his car was still in the shop I finally took mine in to get an alignment and have my muffler welded back on as it was rattling like crazy.  I asked my friend Jennifer to meet me for coffee while I was waiting as it was supposed to be about 3 hours.

Two hours into our coffee date I got a call that my muffler needed to be replaced... along with my catalytic converter.  And since my car is a Subaru and they are specialty parts the guy figured it would be about a thousand dollars to replace, but he'd have to call the parts company for sure on Monday.  I freaked out.  Not only would we have already spent our emergency fund on one car, the second one needed the same amount of repair.  And my car is hardly worth that much total it's so old!

God must have known what I needed because Jennifer started telling me about her job and how she had been thinking to hire an administrative assistant part time and would I be interested.  Not only that, she offered to loan us an extra car they weren't using as the shop man had me believing that my car was liable to catch fire at any point while I was driving.

Monday came and we got an actual quote of $600 for the repair.  Then we took it to another shop that my mechanic had actually recommended and they looked at it and said... the muffler needs tightening.  Done.  And we'll pressure test your catalytic converter, but we don't think that's the problem.  A day and $65 later, I had new seals in my exhaust system and my car is ready to go.  Needless to say I won't recommend the first shop to anyone!

But I'm so thankful for the way things were orchestrated.  I've been working with Jennifer on this position and I will officially start working part time, from home(!) on Monday.

Brian's philosophy is that God will always take care of our money.  I believe this, but I still feel the need to be in control of everything.  I'm beginning to see through all of this that God is still very definitely in control and it might actually be nicer to sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the view rather than white knuckle it the whole way!

So tell me, what's your philosophy on money?  And have you ever taken Financial Peace University?


  1. I like control but find God is much better at deciding what to spend our money on ;) So I hear you!

  2. I like knowing where every cent goes, David just wants to make sure we don't overspend....
    We've never taken a class, but we use one of Ramsey's tips. Every time we pay off a bill, we add that monthly dollar amount to another bill. We are still paying the same amount in bills each month, but the number of bills gets much smaller. It's helped us pay off a couple credit cards much faster!

  3. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Mike and I took the FPU class when we first got married because we knew we needed help managing school loan payments and want to get out of debt as soon as humanly possible. It is awesome and we have saved SO much money by just the envelope system alone, we are still praying for a miracle for the loans (to pay them off completely- they are around 170k) but I recommend the course for anyone to take!
    -Kim Johnson (Oneder)

  4. This brings back some memories of when we were much younger and had five little children and a broken down truck ... period! We were trying to save up a down payment on a new car and one after another things would happen that used up what we managed to save. At the same time, the Bishop of our church asked each family to give $500 towards a building fund and we had no clue where it would come from but we really wanted to do our part and prayed that we would find a way to donate the money. Then one day a check made out to me came in the mail that was from my grandmother's estate. She'd given $500 to each grandchild. I have to admit it was hard to give that money to the church instead of going after that new car but we did it and shortly after that a cousin of mine called and asked if we wanted his station wagon because they'd bought a new van and had no use for it. God knows what we need to learn and finds a way to teach it to us!


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