Jacob has been telling me for years that he wants to do Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey. YEARS. I never thought he would actually get the ambition to do it. I never thought there would be a day that I was like “YEAH DUDE, LET’S DO THIS!” The thought of it literally brought fear and dread to my insides. (More on THOSE feelings in a bit.)

Maybe you’ve heard of Financial Peace University ( FPU ). It’s where in the first class, you are told to make a budget and see what you can cut out to pay off your debts. Cut until it hurts. Then the next thing you have to do is CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARD IN FRONT OF THE CLASS. I am not joking. This is a thing. That people gladly do! *eye roll* They must be in some serious debt if they are willing to cut up their credit card and make all these sacrifices; at least, that’s what I assumed.

About two months ago, Jacob signed us up for an FPU class. I was shaken to my core guys. It was about the same time that I realized that I wanted my Word Of the Year to be health. Health in all areas of my life – including financial health. But honestly. I didn’t really think that finances would be one of the MAJOR changes I was making this year.

So when he told me that WE were doing this starting in January – I laughed a little. He then told me, “I’m serious about this and I need you to do it with me. We have to do this together.” I immediately felt like I got punched in the gut. A wave of really weird emotions hit me, but I couldn’t explain them so I pushed it away and focused on my big issue.

“We aren’t going to cut up the credit card, are we?!” He reassured me that we wouldn’t be. That we needed it. That we pay it off every month anyway so it wasn’t a problem for us. We would just skip that part.

Except, friends – it had become a problem.

When we first got the card (my first one at the age of 23 – we were married) we had a nice, low limit. Super easy to pay off every month. But now, 6 years later – they had raised that limit for our ‘good payment history” and we had pushed right up to it. It kind of hurt to pay it off – so we didn’t. It’s not that we couldn’t, it just stretched us a bit thin.

Week one of FPU happened and they want us to make a budget of what we think we spend in a month. Man you guys, we aced that one. We know exactly what we spend on our needs and living expenses. But for some reason – we had a whole lot of money spent that I couldn’t account for. I started to feel those feelings again. That wave of emotion kept hitting me. And that’s when I realized it – it was guilt.

Now, this isn’t the first time I realized I spend too much money. A few months ago, I looked around my craft room and became physically ill when I realized how much money I had sitting on those shelves in unused supplies. But my solution then was to get rid of most of the craft supplies. – I thought that would solve my guilt.

Then I did it with my closet – all this unworn clothing. I’m sure a donation place would LOVE this stuff because I don’t wear it. In the last six months, I started becoming super aware of the number of things ( guilt ) I had accumulated.

And during week one of FPU, it all clicked together that I am the reason we have a lot of unaccounted-for spending. I am the reason our home is cluttered with – guilt. But I was still determined to do this whole process without cutting the card, besides what would cutting up the card actually do? I have the numbers memorized and programmed into my Google pay.

So I started watching my spending and what I found in the span of 3 days horrified me. Social Media is/was more than just a time drain – it’s a money drain for me. I found myself clicking on ads and adding things to a cart before I realizing I had done it. SO MANY TIMES IT WAS DISGUSTING.

Now its week two of FPU and my sweet husband still says were not cutting up the card, we will just watch our spending. I already know that I have very limited self-control, but maybe he’s right. Maybe we can do this without cutting it up. Then – Dave Ramsey (although I’m pretty sure God said it to me because of how it felt and Dave doesn’t know my name and Jacob says he didn’t hear this part) said – and I’m paraphrasing here – When you spend cash, it hurts. When you spend on a credit card – it only hurts a little But when you spend money on your phone, it’s like a game. You never see the money leave. “Emily, you have a problem. Emily, don’t just cut up the card, CANCEL THE CREDIT CARD. You can’t do this on your own.” (See? I’m pretty sure Dave Ramsey didn’t call me out by name in the middle of a prerecorded video.)

But God did. You see, a few months ago at church there was a special prayer service. I was literally on my knees before the cross begging God to change my spending habits. Begging Him to make us financially stable. But NOT JUST stable, I wanted to have enough money that we wouldn’t have to stress about it at tax time. That we would never have to worry about the credit card payment or house payment. I wrote it all out, cried over it and laid it at the cross.

Are you starting to see the correlation here? You know the best way to not worry about a credit card payment? Don’t have a credit card. You know the best way to make us financially stable? Me not spending money on worthless, guilt-filled clutter. Know the best way for me to stop spending all the money? CANCEL THE CREDIT CARD!

*facepalm*

So when God said this to me – I felt a HUGE wave of relief flood over me. It was a way out. A way to stop myself before it became a problem.

Did you know that finances are one of the leading causes of divorce? Also, one the most argued about topics in marriages. By getting this problem of mine under control – I would not only be helping our financial health but I would be helping our marriage health. Talk about a huge win for the Word of the Year and OUR LIVES! This is potentially life-changing, friends.

Heres the thing. I‘m not naive. I know that this is going to be hard. It’s probably going to hurt – growing always hurts. Not only am I willing to do this, I am excited about this. I’m excited to take a barrier out of home, out of our marriage. I am PUMPED that I am going to learn how to stop throwing my money away. My kids are going to learn healthy money habits from me. My husband and I are going to have stress free conversations about our cash flow.

Freedom is calling friends. And I am running towards it. Thank you JESUS!

Proverbs 6 :1-5(TPT)

My son, if you cosign a loan for an acquaintance and guarantee his debt,
you’ll be sorry that you ever did it!
You’ll be trapped by your promise
and legally bound by the agreement.
So listen carefully to my advice:
Quickly get out of it if you possibly can!
Swallow your pride, get over your embarrassment,
and go tell your “friend” you want your name[a] off that contract.
Don’t put it off, and don’t rest until you get it done.
Rescue yourself from future pain[b]
and be free from it once and for all.
You’ll be so relieved that you did![c]

Until Next Time,

Emily B.

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