Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ach. Budget & Bills... Forcing me into New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions always seem a little silly to me, mostly because people make a big deal of making them, then ignoring them.  A "practice in futility" as tradition?  Odd. I usually set new goals for myself year-around, not only for January 1st.
This year, though, circumstances have mounted, making me face some realities and try to come up with new resolutions just as the New Year arrives.   We have been raising 8 kids on one (teacher's) salary, so I'm sure it's no surprise to hear that it's never been financially easy, and some times tougher than others.  I cut my own hair, and make most of our food from scratch...We don't belong to a gym, have cable, go out to eat, vacation, or have major credit card bills, so the things that shows like Oprah's tell us to eliminate are not there to cut.  The Lord has been ever-faithful, even in the face of some bad decisions on our parts, and seen us through-- many times. This, I think, is the toughest spot we've encountered....but, while I'm overwhelmed, it's not beyond Him, I know.   
The gritty details:  Hubby had assured additional work the last couple of years...but not this year.  Plus, our medical insurance went up.  These 2 things combined meant a $1300 per month drop in our net income.  Ouch.  Through the summer, anticipating this possibility, we were able to prepare and rebudget to barely keep our nostrils above the water line.  Less meat in casseroles, more beans, more oatmeal, the kids taking on more of their own expenses.  But this month the bank let us know that due to a shortage in our reserve account for taxes and insurance, our mortgage payment will be $200 more each month.  (Sounds like a card in Monopoly...Too bad I can't "Pass Go" a few times!)  I did NOT anticipate that jump.  I thought I was outsmarting our situation, but no longer.  Last year at this time, our house payment was 27% of our paycheck...In January it will be almost 40%. 
I only share this here, because maybe others are facing similar struggles and could benefit from the discussion.  -And you may catch glimpses of this belt-tightening journey throughout the blog this year. You may have your own strategies to share, and maybe we'll all learn something together...  
Of course, our riches are in our family, and we have no regrets about having our wonderful crew, or my time at home with them.  They are our ministry and tremendous gifts.  As a start, I need to remember these words:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? ...So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  ...your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."   Matthew 6: 25 - 33
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4: 12 - 13

God Bless you in 2011...HAPPY NEW YEAR!  


  1. Ugh. Our bank did that last year. That surprise led to a frank discussion about whether or not I should rejoin the workforce. Ever supportive DH thought I should remain home and with some belt tightening we were able to swing it. But you're right when you're already living frugally, finding another notch in the belt takes a knife.

  2. Rejoining the workforce has its own expenses, too....not to mention other costs besides the financial. The whetting stone is out! Dull knives won't do the job any more. :-)

  3. Sabjimata will be proud...I saved the parchment after making last night's pizza! It's a start, right?

  4. Parchment can definitely be used over again. Since nothing sticks, you can just brush off the crumbs and it's ready to be reused.

  5. Oooouuuuuffffff! Not a nice holiday gift. My sympathies.

  6. You are a faithful steward of what the Lord has given you. Thank you for sharing this family trial so that others might be encouraged. I pray that many will happen upon this post and have hope. If we take nothing for granted and recognize that all things are gifts from God -- even things we might label bad or negative -- then our eyes will stay open to His abundant and constant blessing. May He bless you this day with unimaginable riches!

  7. Thank you.
    Thankfully, the Lord sees us through and forgives us even when we're not so faithful and good stewards.


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