Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . .

29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt

Today, Dave shared 29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt in his online newsletter, so I thought I would share them with you in honor of this Leap Day . . . and add in a few comments of my own that you can live without, but I’m sharing to make it more of a “real” blog post (or, I just like to try to be funny even though I’m not).

Frugal Living

  1. Start couponing. It’s worth the time, and you can save a ton of money. (I’m pretty novice, but I did save 44% at Kroger today!)
  2. Cut cable. Welcome to 2012, where you can watch most of your favorite shows online. Put that $80-per-month cable bill toward your debt. (So, we have no willpower to cut the Dish, but we did cut down on the programming.)
  3. Stop eating out. If you don’t know where all your money is going each month, we’re pretty sure Applebee’s can locate it for you. (This has been big for us!! I’m hoping it doubles as a weight loss plan.)
  4. Visit the library. Remember libraries? They have free books you can borrow! Free is a lot cheaper than Amazon! (Sadly, I have only been to our public library once in my lifetime. Yes, I know, it’s sad. Does it help if I say I’ve intended to take the kids to story hour?)
  5. Plan your grocery trips. Or, follow your stomach, who really doesn’t care about your budget. Your choice. Get tips for cutting your grocery bill. (Really, I am a nerd that loves sitting down to make my 2 week grocery list while planning the next 2 weeks of meals and matching Kroger deals with our needs. Then, it thrills me even more to see if I can beat my budget during the shopping trip.)
  6. Learn the word “no.” Learn it. Make it a new part of your vocabulary. Love it. Embrace it. Because, when it comes to money, you’ll be saying it quite often. Practice with us now: “NO!” (This one is tough!)
  7. Tell the kids to shut up. When it comes to money, the kids can be a worse guide than your stomach, and they don’t care about your budget either. (Our kids are actually great!)
  8. Avoid expensive hobbies. $200 a month on golf? And you don’t even have a 401(k) or a college fund for your kid? Are you serious? (It’s definitely a pro that my husband doesn’t have hobbies.)
  9. Use eBay or Craigslist. Sell your stuff. Or, better yet, if you have a skill for making something, put that skill to use by making stuff and selling it online. (Consignment has been more of our recent forte.)
  10. Sell the car! The average car payment is more than $400 per month. Everyone, say it all together: “Sell the car!” (We fail, we aren’t selling the car!)
  11. Stop making excuses. If you don’t want to get out of debt, then guess what? You’re not going to get out of debt. To win with money, you have to change the way you think. (Done!)
  12. Cut up your credit cards. Shred ‘em. Burn ‘em. Shoot ‘em. Drop ‘em in a trash compactor. Cut ‘em up while skydiving. You’ll never get out of debt until you stop making debt a way of life. (So done!)
  13. Use the envelope system. You spend less money when you use cash. (Love our envelopes!)
  14. Get on a budget. So unoriginal, right? But it’s true. You’ll never get out of debt without knowing exactly where all your money is going. (We have been budget fools since the day we married. . . this is another one of those weird things that I enjoy. )
  15. Listen to The Dave Ramsey ShowEvery day, Dave helps millions of people across the country find hope with their money. His advice will help you too. Listen online. (Apparently, I’m not smart enough to find our local station.)
  16. Merge bank accounts. If you’re married, you and your spouse should share the same account. When you got married, “two became one,” right? (That was one of my biggest excitements of getting married!)
  17. Stop investing. Yes, you read that right. Once you’re debt-free, then start putting 15% of your income into a retirement plan.
  18. Use your tax refund to pay debt. The beach will still be there next summer. We promise.
  19. Build your emergency fund. Start with $1,000. After you’re out of debt, build the fund to three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
  20. Ignore your broke friends. Twenty years from now, you won’t have a financial worry in the world, and they will still have car loans, mortgages and credit card bills. If they call you crazy, like Jeff and Crystal’s friends did, you’re on the right track! (We are living like no one else so that one day, we can live like no one else!)
  21. Subscribe to My Total Money Makeover. MyTMMO has one of the most active and exciting financial forums on the planet. Our members love to talk money. Plus, as a MyTMMO member, you get access to archived shows, budget tools, fresh articles and all sorts of other cool stuff.
  22. Give more. Wait a minute … give more? Yes, giving changes your spirit. Make giving a priority in your budget and you’ll see a difference. (What a blessing to be able to give, and it really is true that God blesses when we are giving.)
  23. Ask for a raise. Why not? Unless you’re sitting at home reading this article right now, after calling in sick with a “sore throat” for the fourth time in three weeks. If that’s the case, maybe you shouldn’t ask for a raise. (Um, probably not a good time for this one!)
  24. Don’t quit your day job. You’re in debt, so you need money. Pursue your dream while you are working your day job. Learn how. When you’re debt-free, you have so many more options because money isn’t an issue.
  25. Get a part-time job. This guy made nearly $20,000 a year delivering pizzas. No excuses! (We get a pass on this one – 3 kids 4 and under is more than a part-time job!)
  26. Stay away from get-rich-quick schemes. If it smells like a pyramid scheme, then it’s a pyramid scheme. Don’t get hoodwinked by a smooth-talking salesman. Check out six scams to avoid.
  27. Get in shape. Better health means fewer doctor’s bills. Walk, run, lift, press. Just get off the couch and do something!
  28. Read a book. Instead of watching mindless television, read a book … from the library that you’ve already visited for free! (Well, what about me? I don’t go to the library, remember.)
  29. Take a successful friend to lunch. Find someone who is doing things the right way—with money, with marriage, with life in general—and do what they are doing. Get to know them. (Um, I did this on Tuesday with my best friend . . . but I guess I owe her because we both paid.)
Share your tips with me and other readers!
Posted in Proverbs 31 Wife

Proverbs 31 Journey – Show Him Love

I love the title of this post because while I intended it for one purpose, as soon as I typed it, I realized that it holds a double-fold purpose, both of which I need to hear. I meant for this post to be about showing our husbands love, but we cannot possibly love our husbands fully without first loving God fully. This means for me that I am going to have to wake up earlier than necessary each morning to make time with my Heavenly Father before I spend the day with the earthly man of my dreams. And, because I have just made this public, I now have hundreds of accountability partners to ask me tomorrow if I really got up with the alarm clock.

I used to be an early riser, but I struggle with that these days. After we had our second child, I became a night owl wanting to stay up late with Nathan to be able to talk, watch TV, finish unfinished work and just have downtime together, but I require sleep, and because of that, I despise getting up earlier than necessary these days! It frustrates me to no end!

 

So, on that note, I’m going to have to finish this post tomorrow because my first big step in loving my husband fully, is to love my God fully which means I need to make an extra effort for downtime with my Father first thing in the morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the next and the next and so on and on.

 

I challenge each of you to do the same (if you are not already) and post about your day – I know that our morning is going to be so much more peaceful when we start the day right in the Terry house!

Posted in Inspiration

Leaving a Legacy

I have had many people in my life that have invested in me, but tonight, I want to touch on a couple that has invested in me and Nathan – Jeff & Roberta Biggs. As Jeff & Bert prepare to move where God has called them to serve, it makes me reflect on what they have meant to Nathan and I over the past 13 years.

We first met the couple when Jeff began serving as our Youth Pastor, needless did we know that they would become so much more to us over the years. We soon both journeyed away to college, but made sure to visit with Jeff & Bert any weekend we were in town . . . they had become some of our closest friends. We called it a great night when Nathan & Bert stayed up to watch a movie while Jeff & I fell asleep during the previews on the chair and couch respectively. Nathan also enjoyed fun times with Jeff at the farm (though, Jeff never managed to make a hunter of Nathan) while I enjoyed shopping and chatting with Bert. They taught us a lot about being a couple that served the Lord simply by watching them interact with one another in such a real way.

I credit Bert with connecting me with great friendships that I still hold dear today. The first came when she introduced me to Cathy Snyder (Feely) the summer before I entered Bethel College (now University . . . I’m getting old, my college changed names!) Cathy remains a close friend, and I continue to be amazed by her unwavering faith.

We share lots of funny memories with the Biggs family, but one in particular would be when my car was stolen. I came home one weekend to surprise my mom while I knew my dad was away, and little did I know that she had decided to take a trip to Chicago! So, I didn’t want to waste my time alone at my parent’s house and headed to Jeff & Bert’s to crash for the night. The next morning, while taking a shower, a knock on the bathroom door alerted me to a missing car. Jeff drove all around the neighborhood looking for my car, but it had been stolen. That is one of those stories that is kinda cool to tell people, you know, it’s great for the “2 Truths & a Lie” game.

When the time came for Nathan & I to get married, we knew without a doubt that Jeff would marry us, and anyone who attended our ceremony found out why – he knew us like no one else and made it so special for us. I also knew that as an only child with lots of “2” groups in my life at that time (2 best friends, 2 amazing cousins, 2 spectacular friends from college) that I couldn’t possibly pick a Maid of Honor out of that group, so I wanted to ask Bert to serve as my Matron of Honor – she had invested in our relationship like no one else and she had become one of my closest, dearest friends that I knew would be in my life for a lifetime!!

With Jeff & Bert having started their family by this time and us living in another state, life got crazy, and we didn’t get to have our get togethers as often, but every time spent together has always been so relaxed, so fun and just really special. I love that we can always just pick right up with Jeff & Bert. I love that Bert introduced me to another special friend that I hold near and dear, Carrie Moore. I love that I know even with the Biggs family moving to Illinois, if we need them, they would be here in the drop of a hat. I love that I know they are serving God first and foremost. I love that Bert will cry when she reads this and Jeff will make fun of me. I really just love this family and the way that they have always loved my family. We have truly been blessed by Jeff & Bert and we look forward to many more fun times in the future!

Check out their blogs to see even more proof of their coolness:

The Preacher’s Wife

The Pastor’s Desk

And, wish them well as they surrender to a new adventure in Fairfield, Illinois! I know that it is going to be tough for them to leave the family they have joined over their past 8 years of service within New Hope Church. New Hope people, you have loved them like they needed to be loved, you have truly been their family, and I know that you will remain in their hearts.

Posted in Proverbs 31 Wife

A Worthy Woman

Is there such a thing as a worthy woman? I know that I will never be worthy of God’s love. I know that I need to daily humble myself before God with a desire to worship Him despite my unworthiness. But, I also know that no matter how unworthy I am of His love, He always pours His love into my life with abundance.

One of the ways in which God pours His love on me is through my husband. When I think of how thankful I am to be Nathan’s wife, I am always reminded that I was headed in another direction at one point in my life. And, I am so thankful that God was in control, that God allowed me to learn and struggle still protected in His arms.

As I strive to be worthy of God’s love, I want my path to also be a journey worthy of my husband’s love – not just a love that has grown in him, but a love that ignites in him, a love that will blossom with passion even in the midst of nasty diapers, a messy house, misunderstandings, laundry piles, late nights at work and sleep deprivation.

So, in my attempt (I wish I could think of another word right now for “attempt” because I really want to say that I am doing terrible in my attempt.) to become a Proverbs 31 Wife, I have learned that my relationship with God is the first step in gaining the discipline I need to be that love-igniting wife I long to be for Nathan. And from there, I have a lot of work to do if I want to get to the praises of my husband! The praises don’t come until Proverbs 31, verse 29 . . . wow, it’s going to take me a while – maybe I should name my journey the 31 Year Journey, but I probably still won’t have it all right in 31 years!

Proverbs 31:10-31: Description of a Worthy Woman

10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, 
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

29 ”Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

If you are like me, it always makes you feel good to hear someone else with the same struggles, so if you want to read about another wife on her Proverbs 31 Journey, you should check out Tiffany’s Blog. I am always amazed when God brings just the right person into your life to teach you just a bit more about His love and grace.

Posted in Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife

Girlfriends are a True Gift

My friend, Jackie, shared a story with me today from Proverbs 31 Ministries that you should definitely read! 

I Need Her

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with amazing girlfriends to keep me on track, in touch and laughing! 

After reading that story, I decided to check out the writer’s blog, and it took me to a fabulous post for today. 

I really challenge each of us to go to a deeper level in our friendships, to pray for and with our girlfriends, to spend time in God’s Word with our friends, and of course have FUN together!! Some of my greatest friendships have evolved from time spent working together to develop stronger walks in Christ.

I would not make it without my amazing friends that show unconditional love towards me and my family. 

Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . .

Buyer Beware

I just thought that I would share this in case you were curious from my last Dave post.

Significant Purchases

A “significant purchase” is normally anything over $300.
Our bodies go through physiological changes when making
a significant purchase.
We all have that spoiled, red-faced, grocery store kid living
inside of us. His name is immaturity.

What To Do

Because you can always spend more than you make, you must develop a power over purchase by:

1. Waiting overnight before making a purchase.
2. Carefully considering your buying motives. No
amount of need equals contentment or fulfillment.
3. Never buying anything you do not understand.
4. Considering the “opportunity cost” of your money.
5. Seeking the counsel of your spouse.

“Almost any man
knows how to make
money, but not one in
a million knows how
to spend it.”
– Henry David
Thoreau

“For where your
treasure is, there your
heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:21
(NKJV)

“He who is impulsive
exalts folly.”
– Proverbs 14:29
(NKJV)

Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . ., Proverbs 31 Wife

Really? Did Dave Really Say That?

Sitting in Sunday School this week, listening to Dave Ramsey speak on the topic of “Buyer Beware”, he just had to bring up being a Proverbs 31 Wife. I mean, really? My best friend looked over at me laughing because she knows this piece of scripture has been on my heart a lot recently, and I couldn’t help but laugh, as well. I just wanted to say, “Okay, God, I get it. If you can’t get my attention any other way, you will use Dave!” I must really be ignoring something. I really did love Dave’s take on the scripture, though because he felt the need to interchange “husbands” into the mix. Dave mentioned that in our financial journeys, we must make it a rule to seek the counsel of our spouse when making purchase decisions and referred to:

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The
heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”
– Proverbs 31:10-11 (NKJV)

Thankfully, Nathan & I began our marriage as a Dave marriage, and though we have often gotten off track, the foundation of communicating in our finances has always been important to us. If this is not a part of your marriage, I strongly encourage communication. In our class discussions, I am certain that our classmates were laughing at us when we mentioned that we talk to each other even about $50 purchases! It is never a “permission” discussion, we just really value one another’s input in financial matters.

Posted in Proverbs 31 Wife

Proverbs 31 Journey – Praying Boldly for Our Kids

So today, I am switching from the Proverbs 31 Wife to the Mother but there is a correlation from my last post – I want my children to fear the Lord as they grow in our home, and the best way I know to make this happen is to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!! It is my desire for my children to have lives that glorify God, friendships that are true and futures that follow God’s Will. I don’t want my kids to make poor decisions or get involved in the “wrong” crowd. I don’t want my kids to be pressured by their peers. And, I’m not certain I will know what to do if we are faced with such situations. 

You see, God sheltered me from these situations. I was blessed to grow up with amazing girlfriends that I cherish more and more with each passing year. I was blessed to be part of a strong youth group at Woodlawn CP Church in Paducah, Kentucky, where I was led in the Word by a fabulous couple – Darin & Joy Lampley and many other church members that invested in our lives with teaching and praying. Another piece to the puzzle of my life was the influence of older youth group kids that allowed me to be me without the pressures of entering high school – they were “cool” Christian teens that made it “cool” for me, and I am so thankful that they took care of me time and time again. I never really felt “peer pressure”, I never experienced teen girl “drama”, and I am scared to death as to how to handle such situations if they are to happen in our home. 

So, I have come to the conclusion that I MUST stop being scared and start praying BOLDLY (instead of begging God and hoping). My CEO always says that hope is not a plan. I must stop hoping and start praying with expectation. God has entrusted me with 3 precious children, so He must be capable of doing a mighty work in our family. I want to pray more boldly over my kids. And by boldly I mean with more confidence and authority. 

James 1:5-7 reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man,unstable in all he does.”

As a mom, I want to be single-minded on the reality that if God entrusted these kids to me, I am the exact mom they need. And as the rightful holder of that position, I will believe not only in God but I will also believe that I have what it takes to raise these kids right. As long as I ask for God to help me each day, I can be the mom I need to be.

 

Therefore, I have begun to pray 3 things over our children:

1. I pray they grow up to be some of the most Godly people in their sphere of influence.

2. I pray that they would be caught when they make wrong choices.

3. I pray that God would save them from the wrong friends and save them for the right friends. And that goes for their future spouses, as well.

 

Sweet sisters, being a mom is not for the faint at heart. Be encouraged that God led you to read this post today to remind you, you are a good mom! I need that reminder often. You are the exact person He picked to be the mom of your kids. Now, walk in that sweet encouragement and awesome responsibility!

Join me in praying for your kids. Share how you pray for your children. These are simple. I need simple. 

Posted in Inspiration, Proverbs 31 Wife

Proverbs 31 Journey – Fear the Lord

Proverbs 31 is quite overwhelming for a gal like me. I’m decent at a lot of things, but never AMAZING at one thing in particular, so I begin to have a bit of anxiety just thinking about what I need to do in order to be the perfect Proverbs 31 Wife. Thankfully, God always comforts His children, and verse 30 is my comfort . . . the Proverbs 31 woman’s most important task is to fear the Lord. For years, I have been able to grasp truly “fearing” the Lord, and I have my dad to thank for teaching me about Godly fear when he really had no idea he was even teaching that concept. You see, I grew up in a very strict home, not bad, just strict. I feared my father, it was a good fear. I was not afraid of him, but I respected him in such a way that I feared failing him, I feared disobedience and I feared the outcomes that would come from such situations. But, through the fear, I always knew that my Dad loved me more than I could ever imagine. This has always helped me to understand “fearing” God. 

As a mom, I want my children to know that I fear the Lord. I want Evylee, Kenzlee & Nate to fear the Lord. (I also need my dad’s secret to creating that fear because the recipe for fear is not working in our home!) 

Nathan & I can dress the girls in fancy clothes, put Jordans on Nate’s chubby little feet, throw great birthday parties, buy the hottest toys, fix 6-course dinners, clean every dust bunny from every corner and bake cookies for the neighbors, but none of this means a thing to God if we do not desire an incredible relationship with Him. 

So, if I truly desire an intimate relationship with God and I strive to be closer with Him each day, don’t you think that God could do a mighty work and make me more like this Proverbs 31 Wife. I mean, He is a God of miracles!