Thursday, January 31, 2013

the debt reduction diaries: january summary

well, it's the last day of January.  so, without further ado....cue "Dora" music:

{dun dun dun dun dun dun dun}
we did it, we did it, we did it,
yeah, yeah, we did it,
we did it, lo hicimos, HOORAY!

we lasted through January with our $300 grocery budget, and actually, I still have $18 in my envelope. woot!  I think I'll go spend it at Chipotle.  :)  just kidding, I'm a gazelle...

in all seriousness, it sucked.  but sorta like the fun type of sucked.  I must have been going over my budget and using some "other" money in the last few months, but I wasn't paying that much attention, ya know? I was just using whatever cash I had, and if steve had to grab something from the store, he would use his card here and there.  and my mother in law had stocked our fridge a couple times. :)

but this month was serious.  no more cards.  no more sharing envelopes.  nothing.

which means the kids complain that there's nothing to eat for snacks, and we eat meals that we would never invite anyone over for, and we eat oatmeal for breakfast when we run out of milk, and..., and..., and..., that's the way it is.  we're all looking forward to February when I can buy some "good food" again. :)  which basically means fresh fruit.  but trust me, my kids get plenty.  They just LOVE it so they think it's not enough.  They want to eat 3 oranges a day instead of 1. that type of thing. nobody's being deprived too much.

and guess what else, we lasted the whole month without having to spend any of our "other" money.  so Steve finally went to the store this week and bought hair gel for him and CREAM for my poor dry skin.  and batteries.  and he bought me a candy bar because he loves me. :)  I was so proud of us for waiting until the END of the month just in case anything came up that we would need the money for, but it didn't!

so, we only used about $25 of our $100 by the end of the month.  There's a part of me that wants to keep that money in the envelope, because surely we'll need it sometime soon (but I guarantee we wont' "need" it if it's not there!).  and there's another part of me that wants to put it in our "summer fund" so that if pinkadink sales are lower this summer like they usually are, we have a little bit built up. and there's part of me that wants to use it to call a freaking dishwasher repair man bc I'm SICK of washing dishes by hand.  and there's another part of me that wants to use it to pay off debt, even if it's only $75.  and there's another part of me that wants to use some of it to get my boys haircuts.  and that part will probably win.  because have you seen them?  and no, I will not be cutting their hair myself.  I would rather make other sacrifices and have my boys look good (and I'm pretty sure neither would look good with a buzz cut after I mess up the haircut).  call me shallow, go ahead. :)

so last night we sat down for our February budget meeting.  Thankfully I have a husband who is a major spreadsheet kind of guy (what HAPPENED to my artist???) so it was much easier this month. :)  insert income, insert budget, insert bills, see if we come out even.  but my job is to do the running total, starting with what's in the bank account RIGHT NOW, and when we'll be depositing transferring pinkadink money and paying bills and stuff.  after like a year of not getting the money in QUITE soon enough, that's my biggest fear.  like, yeah, we WILL have the money we need this month, but will we have it IN TIME?

but let me tell you a little bit about what I learned in our budget meeting last night.

My nose is all tingly and I'm trying to see through my tears right now because GOD PROVIDES.  I just kept saying the whole time, "how is this even working??"  I know I can brag about how we rocked our grocery budget in January, and we rocked our "other" budget.  and I'll go ahead and brag, because it was the power of God that allowed us to do that anyway.

But what about our numbers for February?  how is it all working out???

We need to come up with $1000 of extra income each month in order to pay our bills and have our 400 in cash (grocery and other).  that's not even budgeting for anything that we should be budgeting for, like clothes (Josiah has ZERO pairs of jeans without holes in the knees) and our car registrations and our water filter and stuff like that.  We're hoping to work that in when we pay off a little debt, and for now, we might have to use emergency money for that (not the clothes, though, we just wear holey clothes) :) if we don't have enough when we need it.

I was sure there was NO WAY we'd be able to come up with that money in January (to be used in February).  I didn't start babysitting again til halfway through the month, and January is usually pretty slow for the pinadink, after finally surviving the holidays.  Plus, I try to come up with new products each year for the pinkadink to come out with in February, which means I spend a LOT of extra money on new fabrics and notions and all that to get my products looking like I want.  It costs a lot to come out with new stuff, but if people end up buying it, then of course it helps us out in the end.  So anyway, I just kind of wondered what we would cut in Feb in order to make up for it.

But as it turns out, I had so many pinkadink orders in January!  and I was even able to keep up with them!  PLUS have the time to work on my new stuff!  PLUS...Steve had an improv show in January, so he's bringing in extra money toward our $1000 this month, which means that we actually have the ability to pay about $300 toward our next debt!

This is God at work, people.  This should not be happening.

Also, after a few conversations with super awesome people, we have also decided to put our tithing up to a full 10%.  of course that was always our goal, but we could NOT see how that could acutally happen when we first worked our budget last month.  we were close, but we couldn't really make it work without cutting it just a smidge.  But we decided that it doesn't really matter what our spreadsheet says.  God provides and he continues to prove that to us.  so we're going to trust that when we give 10% it will turn up somewhere.  and extra order here or an extra improv show there.  we aren't sure.  but we're trusting.

It sounds so easy to just "trust God," doesn't it?  I've actually always had a really easy time with trusting God because I usually feel like 'what else can we do?  nothing!  so we just trust!"  But this year I"m trying to be more active in my trust.  It's been so passive for me all my life.  Just this quiet gentle trust.  But now, this year, I'm trusting BIG. I'm trusting actively.

I'm spending each dollar with SUPER-awareness that God gave it to me in the first place, and it needs to honor Him.  I open my cupboards a bazillion times a day, knowing that it LOOKS like there's nothing in there, but God helps me figure out each day what to prepare for my family and what to put on my grocery list and meal plan.  I've never felt like He's as present in our life and family as I do now.

and y'all (I wanna live in the south so bad)'s triggered something huge.  This whole "teamwork" with God and family thing has brought out something in the Hydeen household that needs some major recognition.  it's ORGANIZATION!  it's like something flipped a switch in our heads.  Our home has never been this organized.  ever.  it's like we just feel more in control of our lives in general, and it's spreading into our house!  now, I have to warn you that if you show up here, you won't THINK that it's any more organized than it ever has been.  but just trust me.  it is.  and if you don't believe the money thing is a miracle, you'll certainly believe that ME being ORGANIZED is a miracle.  :)

I don't even know how to close this January summary.  Last night I sat wondering with Steve about what position we would have been in if I hadn't had so much business over the holidays for the pinkadink.  and if we hadn't been able to take that chunk of money and get caught up with our bills.  and if we were still just a LITTLE BIT short of getting our money BEFORE the bills were due.

It's hard for me to feel like I can encourage other people when we would likely still be stuck without that boost.  But as Dave Ramsey always says (I listen to his radio show every day now that we dont' have netflix!), find a way to MAKE MORE MONEY.  even if it's just temporary.  figure out what you can do.  it might not be a JOB somewhere if that wouldn't work for you.  but sell stuff, work from home, find someone to babysit like I do, something!  try something to get you over the hump.  thankfully I already had a business built that I could just work extra hard at, but I know it's not that way for everyone.  But I bet you have stuff in your life that (even if it would sting a little) you could get rid of.  sell it and buy something cheaper or don't replace it at all.

I can't promise anything about what it will do for you life, but I can tell you about mine.  This life of sacrifice (which is SO MINOR compared to most of the world) has changed me, even in just a month.  It's made me more thankful, more positive, brought me closer to God, closer to my husband.  It sounds so lovely doesn't it?  it's actually REALLY HARD.  but the benefits are so sweet.

I know it's the honeymoon phase.  It might be something that wears off and just makes me crabby in a few months.  I'll get sick of eating the same foods.  I'll get sick of the kids complaining.  I'll get sick of sewing every night after a whole day of playing Barbies and cleaning and making food.

but for now, I'm gonna brag that my GOD PROVIDES.  and he blesses our work and our sacrifices.  and it feels good. :)


Alyssa said...

You guys are doing awesome -- and God DOES provide. EVERY SINGLE TIME -- HE is ALWAYS faithful. And often in the ways you don't expect... Way to go on the tithing thing, too -- when we were both on unemployment due to simultaneous layoffs (and Samantha was due in like 2 weeks), we made the same decision and trusted God. I look back FONDLY on that time. HE totally used it to grow us closer as a couple and closer to HIM, and even though there were times I had NO IDEA how we were going to buy diapers, He ALWAYS provided in some way! Praying for you-- and encouraging you, too!

Alyssa said...

and one more thing -- spreadsheets are just a different kind of art. ;)

The Yellow Door Paperie said...

When we give our offering at church we say, "All things come from the O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee."

And it sounds just like what you are doing giving Him back what he's given you. Because all things come from HIM.

Good for you!

Stephanie and Nathan Huisman said...

Impressive Andrea, truly! Nathan and I are working on our own debt reduction project, but I must say we are not on the same level as you! It's inspiring to read of your ups and downs and most of all, your trust in God and how you and Steve are working together. Keep it up!