A Reflection

I feel so free.
Rachel mentioned the book "Not Buying It" by Judith Levine awhile back. It gave me permission to focus on financial health in ways I hadn't before. I was worried Rachel wouldn't react well to a major cut-back on spending to pay off our debt. But she said, "I'm OK with it. I was worried you wouldn't be!"
So, I tinkered with the budget and we are striving to save $3K and be debt-free by October 1, 2008. I won't keep on about it but to give these few reflections.
1. I found that externally cutting off spending has had a great internal effect.
2. I do not want what I cannot have. Since we are still (obviously) buying essentials I don't feel deprived. I needed a pair of shoes last week so I bought a pair. Just like that. That was a big deal for me.
3. Since I'm not focusing on the next CD I want to buy or the next movie I want to see I have found a special shine to posessions I was taking for granted. The KEXP Song of the Day podcast, the reading list I am involved with, the desire-free time spent with Sebastian and Rachel. This is a really good place to be.
4. Not focusing on the next material consumption has broadened my field of vision. I've started thinking about how to invest after October 1, '08. I've started thinking about our kids' college fund. I've starting thinking about early retirement. This is new and I am enjoying it.

There is lots more to consider here. It can be frustrating to constantly wrestle with money and its relationship with the gospel. Just so long as I keep questioning, I hope I can find some answers. If not... I'll just charge it.



Brett Denbow said...

And just to clarify there have only been about 10 albums and as many movies released since we started this that I want. Bruce Springsteen or Across the Universe, anybody?

Brittany said...

I've thought about Bruce a lot today. I'll email you a site to check out. Can you spot me a $20?

nikki peterson said...

rach, send me your addy and i will send brett a copy of across the universe.... from one barista to another... os, so excited fo me kit...aghhhhh!

graphics_girl said...

You two must check out Dave Ramsey. His book Total Money Makeover is excellent. My hubby and I recently became debt free (except our house). It's a great feeling! Keep it up!

*~*Amber*~* said...

pretty sweet reflections. Hubs and I do the whole Dave Ramsey "envelope system" and it's been a life saver. We never really had any debt other than school loans and our mortgage, but for regular saving and spending... it's been awesome! Go Brett!!! Save away!!

Cara said...

can we say:
"someone needs a blog!"

nice work brett.
thanks for sharing from your heart with us today!
so proud of you two - this is such a challenge!

Charin said...

I need to check out that book! :)
This is definitely something that my husband and I have been talking a lot about...I actually think we would be a lot happier if we had less material things. Less to clean and take care of anyway :)
Thanks for sharing.

OpaqueSkies said...

good for you guys. if you find that things change, or that you start to swerve from your original agreement, it's important to just assess your needs and rework your plan. We follow the Money Matters Money Map. Familiar with Larry Burkett? This is a financial ministry he started. Looking at finances can be liberating, b/c it charts where your heart and lifechoices are. Many people are not brave enough to do this. But if you can get a grasp at this age, then you will be that further along when you are older. It's all about having a vision for your future so that you can delay momentary gratification. But don't punish yourself for wanting certain things, just be realistic and plan it in as much as possible. Hopefully others will be inspired by you. This country has a serious debt problem...meaning its people.

"Divine" Hand said...

YEP, My hubby actually met Dave Ramsey not to long ago and he gave my hubby his card. Said if we ever needed any heip to personally call him. We too have been pondering this great issue and I think that Dave's resources are some of the best!!! Be blessed and I will keep you all in my prayers!

steph said...

Wow Brett. Great post. I just finished this book as well....after reading about it here on Rachel's blog. It really makes you think about what we think we "need". My husband and I have lived really tight basically our entire marriage. For the past about 1 1/2 years we have been debt free (minus the house and one of our cars). I can't even begin to explain the freedom and relief you feel once the debt is paid off. After finishing the book we are considering taking the challenge (no tv, internet, or luxuries) ourselves...it never hurts to save more money! And we both just feel guilty about the overconsumption of America. Good luck on your journey and thanks for the book recommendation Rachel!

Michelle said...

I think it is great that you are trying something different. It has definitely inspired me to cut back on my purchases. Thank you Brett!

Melissa said...

Awesome! I haven't heard of "Not buying It", but it sounds good enough to check out. Thanks for the tip!

Christa said...

That was a really inspiring post. Hope the good Lord is right beside your family during your challenge.

Anonymous said...

We're kind of in the same situation... saving to pay off a big bill. We're having some of the most fun we've ever had!

We do Taco Tuesday at a local ameri-mexi place.. $1.00 fish tacos. It's become our (cheap) ritual. Also, check out the library.. you can rent books AND DVDs for free! It's like going to the bookstore and getting everything you want and not owing a cent! My husband has started investing (we're 23) and he's made $15 in the past couple of weeks.. not any big feat, but imagine if he had thousands of dollars to invest.. "A little at a time," is what he keeps telling me.

Now that I've re-read your post.. I feel kind of silly because I haven't read the book.. :D

But we do the same kind of thing.. only the essentials. We are debt free minus our mortgage and it's a wonderful feeling.

Have a good one you guys!


Bekka said...

I tried to check out Not Buying It from the library the other day. It had apparently been stolen. I guess whoever took it decided that they weren't buying it either! :)

I'll chime in and agree with everyone who has suggested checking out Dave Ramsey. We started his system about 8 months ago...this is the longest we have ever faithfully stuck to a budget!

Best of luck to you both!

Lauren Zech said...

Good for you guys!
I would have a hard time trying that approach (at least when it comes to Scrapbook supplies and new reading books) but maybe that means that I should give it a go and teach myself to not "need" more supplies and books.

I will look out for more posts on your sucess!

Kara said...

check out www.daveramsey.com

the book is really good too!! sometimes you can check it out from your local library. i know that some churchs do, 'financial freedom' workshops.

good luck!! we did a payoff debt plan and we are ALMOST there.

Joy Madison said...

If you haven't listened to/seen/read Dave Ramsey, you should. He has a great BIBLE and Common Sense based program for getting and staying out of debt. I totally recommend his book and program!

Joy Madison said...

I just read all the comments, and I see others have mentioned Dave Ramsey:) You should check him out!

Niki said...

Brett- Thanks for sharing your struggles and outcomes; it is interesting hearing your thoughts when we normally only hear Rachel's.
I had to move from a 3 floor house to a one bedroom apartment last year and in the process got rid of about 40% of my belongings. It was emotionally wrenching and terrible, but now i find that i care less about "stuff" and more about experiences.
Good luck.

Tina said...

saving and pay off debts is one of the hardest things for me. My husband and I had some serious debts a few years ago. we mananged to take care of the burden but I feel like I'm slipping again. It's hard when you live in a world that's so materialistic....always needing/wanting the latest and greatest.
Good luck in your savings and financial change. Kudos to you for knowing that the best things in life can't be bought. :)