Falling Off the Budget Wagon?

Some of you, especially those who know us well, may be wondering if there is some significance to our recent silence on the blog. September 1st came and went without a post, trumpeting our financial stewardship success.

Some readers are probably thinking: “Those weasels. I bet they quit trying to pay down their debt, and are too ashamed to admit it. Let’s call Dave Ramsey and have him pay them a little visit, har har har.” Dave Ramsey’s budget goons know how to strike terror into many a lapsed budgeter.

Airplane Kiddos
Not Dave Ramsey’s actual goons.

I’ll admit, we had a bit of trouble. We went on vacation, and lost track of some of our incidental expenses — we couldn’t find the receipts and had trouble with some of the numbers when we came back. It is tempting, when that happens, to throw up your hands in defeat, and to sneak in additional purchases.

“Oh, sorry Kath — I bought that boat in the driveway ‘while we were on vacation’ … did I ‘forget’ to record that as well? Darn the luck!”

… or maybe not. :)

This was a weird month for us. We went on vacation with Kathy’s folks, but they bore many of the expenses. I got a quarterly bonus from my work, but we bought a new laptop. Since I get paid every two weeks, this was one of the months when we get an extra paycheck; but we had some really large homeschool curriculum expenses, and had to replace our broken microwave.

September Debt Progress
We’re down to 44% of our original debt, after five months!

When the dust settled, we managed to stay within our budget, but we don’t have much to show for the extra money we took in. Our debt is down to 44% of where it was on April 1st. On the surface, this is very encouraging, but the last two months’ progress is small compared to some of our earlier large jumps of debt repayment. Dave Ramsey would not use us as poster-children for ‘gazelle-like debt reduction intensity’.

Fat Gazelle
This is more our kind of gazelle.

All this said, we’re still on the budgeting wagon. We’re not quite as excited about it as we were at first, but we’re still eager to see what God will do with the tiny amount of faith and effort we are bringing to the table. We’re a little worried about our first Christmas ‘under the budget’ (both Kathy and I love to spend a lot at Christmas); we’ve been putting some money aside for Christmas each month, but if our roof fails this Fall, we’ll have to spend all that (and more) on repairs.

It is at this point that we are reminded of our continual dependence on God. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and perseverance is definitely a weak area for both Kathy and I. We continue to be thankful to our Lord for His provision for our needs, to the extent that we are not really even surprised that our big homeschool curriculum expenses came ‘coincidentally’ due the same month when we received an extra paycheck.

Kathy is teaching a course at our local homeschool co-op using curriculum from Dave Ramsey (Financial Peace for the Next Generation) — she’s very excited about it, and will probably have more to say on this topic in upcoming weeks.

We’re committed to continuing this budget process at least until we are free of all non-mortgage debt, so tune in here for a month-by-month record of our struggle toward financial peace.


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8 thoughts on “Falling Off the Budget Wagon?”

  1. Ever hear of a book by Eugene Petersen several years ago – “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”? I liked the book, but I’ve always loved the title. Does it describe how you’re feeling about the debt reduction process? It’s paying off, so keep on persevering! God is able to prosper you as you keep your eyes fixed on Him. And Christmas can be an adventure of creativity this year!

  2. Your gazelle looks so lively compared to ours. Our is a pile of bones picked clean by vultures.
    I exaggerate. But you are an inspiration as we likewise try to reduce/eliminate our debt.

  3. Great job! Hang in there!

    Though with the looks of those Dave Ramsey enforcers, I think you’d have a jolly visit. :-)


  4. Keep on! I just started this month keeping strict records of my expenses. I haven’t been keeping to a budget as well as I’d like, but I think that this will help me a lot. It does come down to dependence on God.

  5. I wish I was doing as well as you folks at sticking to a budget! I just read “Total Money Makeover” a couple of months ago, but I think I need a visit from the Dave Ramsey enforcers–or maybe I just need to get a whiff of a lion or two!

  6. You all have been doing really well and should be so proud of your progress so far. Everyone has an off month now and again!
    As far as Christmas goes, we have been cuttting back a little each year. Our focus isn’t as much spending less for Christmas but giving the kids less STUFF. The more we give them, the more they have and the less they appreciate what they have. Each year we give them less, they use and enjoy what they have more.

    Just a thought.
    Hang in there!
    Leeann—> who just met Dave Ramsey this weekend!

  7. KEEP up the work! We’ve only had small debt a couple of times in our life and I can still remember the stress that put us under. It will be SO WORTH the effort it took to pay it off when you are on the other side!

    We could also stand to do a better job of budgeting. We agreed to do the Dave Ramsey thing with some friends of ours and we’re doing a pretty bare bones everyday budget and socking the $$ away for an inground pool or paying off our house (both about the same $$ amount)!

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