My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, visit
http://thegirlrevolution.com
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dear God and Dave Ramsey


Dear God and Dave Ramsey:

Not that you’re one and the same or like you have the same address or anything, but you both live in the money department of my brain.

This is what I look like in the mornings. My eyes are sealed shut with monkey poop and they hurt, the lids are sore and red and the sinuses below them are full of fluid and puffy and swollen. I have to do a sinus wash and take a bunch of Benadryl before they stop hurting and itching and before I can breath. I don’t buy the Zyrtec, which helps more, because it’s a $50 copay and that’s not in our zero-based budget. The generic Benadryl is only $4 and it seems to help, but it wears off in my sleep and the window air conditioner blows everything I’m allergic to straight onto me all night long and I wake up in a swollen, itchy, painful mess.

My baby used to take a bunch of allergy medicine because he’s had a rattle in his chest since he was born. But, the Dr. said just forget giving it to him because it wasn’t even helping his constant congestion. So, now I take him for a lymph node massage and that’s only $10 and it helps him a lot. I usually end up using my blow money to take him to this therapy, Dave. In fact I rarely ever get to blow my blow money.

It’s the allergies. The pediatrician says it’s the mold in our tiny rented house and we should move immediately. Plus, the hay fever from having window air conditioners that blow all the pollen straight into the house.

Oh God, thank you so much for the money to buy a new window unit this year. It was expensive, but I just couldn’t take another year in the sweltering East Texas humidity at 103 degrees, Dave. It really will make you physically sick to sit in a house that feels like an oven all day long. I really would be perfectly happy with this solution if the pollen didn’t make me and the kids ill. Winters are a problem though, as the city has outlawed the use of the only heat source we have because it’s a serious carbon-monoxide risk (as the soot on my walls can attest to).

Dave, we finally paid off a ton of debt, around $8,000 probably. And we had a paid for, debt-free, we-own-him-outright, baby in the meantime. We took the crappy jobs and go without all kinds of stuff. But, I’ve still got a whopper of a student loan. My husband got a great new job with a big fat raise so we can finally make our minimum payments and get my student loan out of deferment. I graduated over 10 years ago. In college, they failed to teach me about how an interest rate accrues but they made me spend an entire year trying to figure out what the square root of something was. We’ve been “paying our professional dues” and have never made enough to pay the ever interest-accruing burden. My husband was pretty depressed that our actual lifestyle wasn’t improving with his new job. Who wouldn't be?

But, we’re afraid to get in over our heads with a mortgage. So many people we know are in a scary place with their mortgages. When you change jobs, that’s the only time you can cash out the 401K. We want to buy a house. That’s everyone’s American Dream isn’t it? After the penalties and taxes we’d have about $5,000 for a down payment, closing costs and moving expenses. It doesn’t seem like enough. But, it feels like this might be the only time we’ll ever have even that much all at once.

Dave, I know you say that $7,000 401K should stay in where it is and we should save up a 20% down payment and continue living here in this mold-ridden two bedroom house we’ve outgrown. Financial Peace Revisited even says we should save a real emergency fund of $20,000 before buying the house. Economically, that $7,000 is supposed to somehow turn into a million when we’re 65, or are they making us wait until 68 to retire now? And I guess we'll need it, becaue I just got a letter from Social Security saying they'll be paying me $335 a month when I retire and I certainly can't live on that. But, now that we have to pay that student loan it feels like we’re back to square one. There is no money left over to save. How are we going to save $80,000 to move out of here, Dave? Right now $80,000 feels a lot like never. (And Suzi Orman – where the hell am I supposed to come up with money for my own savings account?)

Thank you God, for our new mini-van. We HAD to buy a new car, the other one was dead, Dave. We drove the humiliatingly ugly thing around for 3-4 years but it really was finally dead and we bought the van with cash. Just like we’re supposed to, Dave. I have to admit, it really did feel pretty good. I felt like something brand new, only without any anxiety or burdens. It was definitely worth the wait not to finance a new car.

We gave up the envelopes after two years simply because it was ridiculous to carry around empty envelopes, Dave. We spend all our money in about one day – grocery and bill day – then the envelopes are just mocking us, empty as can be.

I haven’t gone home to see my family in two years because the price of gas is too much to justify. Like losers we’re letting my parents give us gas money to come home this year to meet my brother’s new baby. Two of my siblings haven't met my toddler either. My parents had to pay for the last trip too. It's too humbling.

We boycotted Christmas with the extended family and buy all our kid’s gifts and our clothes and furniture from garage sales. But, I confess to adding the expenditure of cell phones. I tried to say no, but my husband, well he HAD to have it. He said he could drive the ugliest car without a radio to work for the mileage, but he wanted to be able to talk on the phone during his 45-minute commute and he needed the “status” of something Dave. He needed it. It was a deal breaker. I fought it, I did. But, he deserved one thing for getting a new job, didn’t he?

We also kept basic cable. Dave, you can’t stick me in the house staying home with the kids, trying to get something done without a TV. We don’t even get ONE free station out here in the boonies Dave. Not even one. But, we cancelled the HBO so please, no one tell me what happened on the last season of The Sopranos and don't tell me about Big Love either. I did keep wearing makeup and doing my hair every 5 months and last week I bought Ainsley a brand new package of panties, as she’d been complaining for months. I snuck it into the grocery fund. We had to keep the Internet for work purposes, but we’re keeping our receipts for taxes. We’re taking the write-offs this year. We also added a babysitting fund of $20 every Thurs. We figure our marriage has to be more important than paying off my student loan doesn’t it? Never eating out or going to do anything fun pretty much ruins a marriage seems like.

So, maybe we’re not your textbook Gazelles going at our debt with what you would call intensity. But, we’ve paid a full tithe – that’s on our GROSS God, our Gross income – every single payday for several years now.

We’ve made a zero-based budget every single month, Dave. And we’ve stuck to it as well as anyone else without a crystal ball can. We’ve kept our emergency fund as close to $1,000 as possible. I’m working my butt off, writing from home, taking the leap of faith, just like you told me to God. My husband's taking every freelance job that comes his way. And we haven’t financed one single thing or put a single dime on any credit card, Dave. That’s something right?

Most days I’m optimistic and I’m so sickeningly grateful for this roof over our heads, cars that get us where we need to go and my husband’s job that provides a steady enough income to make our payments. I’m a huge bragger about the bargains I get at garage sales and as proud of being thrifty as anyone you’ll ever meet. I recommend the Dave Ramsey program to everyone I meet and I constantly remind my husband that we’re so close, so very close, just hold on one more minute, in 5 years this will seem like a blip, this is just what it’s like on the way up, just be a little tiny bit more patient.

But, then there comes a morning like this one. Where I wake up with allergies so bad my eyes are sealed shut from a moldy house with no central air, and a sick kid that I’m not taking to the doctor because I didn’t put the co-pay in the budget, and I’m having to mooch off my parents at the age of 33 to buy enough gas to see my family, and I’m kind of sick of it. I’m so totally OVER being the working poor and trying to live within our means.

So God, I’m ready for a major financial windfall any day now. In fact, NOW would not be too soon. And Dave, I’m working on Financial Peace, but sometimes I have to admit this feels more like pain than peace and it seriously sucks!

9 comments:

russkellyphd said...

Dear friend
Dave Ramsey is a wondeerful person and a good financial adviser but he is a very poor theologian. He is wrong about tithing. Read Neh 10:29 which includes Malachi's audience. The only way you can be blessed by tithing is by keeping ALL of th Mosaic Law.
If you want some comfort then go to my web site and read the secion on "endorsements" to my book and web site. A lot of hurting people just like yourself have been set free from legalism and the oppression of tithe-teachers. May God bless you is my sincere prayer. I also have an article on DAve Ramsey. Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D. www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com

So Sioux Me said...

Dear Russkellyphd:

We do not pay a gross tithe in a legalistic way. My husband and I both have looked at the scriptures and realize it's very much an Old Testament teaching that Jesus most likely set us free from. But, I shall not argue the theological semantics about whether or not other people tithe. Or whether they should tithe a gross or a net or a whatever is left over at the end of the month.

We tithe for three reasons mentioned in my article Generous & Grateful: http://traceesioux.blogspot.com/2007/03/generous-grateful.html

1. Giving away money away instills blessings of faith. Faith that there will be enough money to meet my needs, even if I give a substantial amount of money away.

2. Giving instills generosity in your spirit - God is so generous with me that I can afford to be generous with others.

3. Giving instills gratefulness - I have food and clothes and shelter and cars, I am so blessed that I can afford to help those who may not be as blessed as I am.

I will also confess to a 4th reason and it's probably pure superstition. What if you are wrong? What if we ARE cursing our money by not tithing? We don't have enough to afford for it to be cursed!

The fact is that tithing is a mathematical impossibility for us. Yet, since we have been paying it we've witnessed less financial burden in our lives and about 1,000 minor financial miracles. Pre-giving generously we were burdened with debt and anxiety and bankruptcy and always behind. Post-giving to both church and others we have more financial peace even if it is hard to acquire. We're actually getting a ZERO instead of a NEGATIVE in our budget and sadly that's a major improvement.

I couldn't find your article on Dave Ramsey, but would like to read it.

For others I would recommend that if you can't give without resentment or anger then absolutely don't give. If you don't want to tithe to the churh, and sometimes I pay someone's electric bill or buy them groceries instead (and don't feel the least bit bad about it, because I believe that is what Jesus would do), then give something to someone.

It's probably childish of me to even bring it up to God as some kind of brownie point anyway.

Tracee Sioux

jen said...

OK, this may sound nuts, but maybe an alternative to the tiny moldy rental would be to move to a tiny non-moldy, newer rental. I know how bad it sucks to move, but you are one of the most determined people I know, and I just know that with your persistance you could probably find something better, and still within your means.

About buying a house. That is such a tough one. We bought a house before we were financially ready in Dave Ramesey's book, and it may not have been the smartest thing to do but it worked out in a lot of ways too. Thankfully we (meaning GOD...lol) somehow made it work. I know that is a heartwreching decision for you guys. What about buying a duplex and having the renter pay the mortgage?

Rebecca said...

We too bought a house before we were ready. But, like Jen's situation, it now totally works for us.

Obviously you've thought about moving since you said you were looking at houses. I suggest you look at houses over here in these parts. :) All kinds of tiny non-moldy houses here!

Klint said...

The funny thing is that you end your article with a statement of desperation, yet your comments here are hopeful. Your only alternative to living within your means is to not do so...and that will leave you in a veritable perpetual cycle of poverty. That's the truth of it.

I've never read Dave Ramsey's stuff, but it appears that he has spelled out a particular formula for adherance that may or may not be the most beneficial to all budgets. Fact is, the primary rule is to live within your means and to always (if possible) save a predetermined amount so that your savings is always building. This of course is secondary to the payment of tithing - meaning it is the ultimate priority. I notice that some of your posters comment that the payment of tithing is a oppressive ideology meant to control and benefit others. However, as my loving wife always points out that the first great commandment is to love god, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The ability to worship with others is a great blessing and this can only be brought to pass if people pay tithing - wich is what pays for the organization, buildings, materials and other resources that are very much temporally needed to enjoy fellowship with one another. Plus it is a commandment. This goes without pointing out that the best social scientists, economists, and political scientists in this world show that a public good (as the church is) will always be underprovided if individuals must choose what they believe is their fair portion of their benefit of the public good. Therefore, tithing is a simple budget constrait of a church - they cannot spend more = yet the good is always provided sufficiently if everyone pays their tithing.

Lastly, I think I know where you are with regards to just breaking even at zero each month. With a family, life is very hard. Most all housing prices, and many commodities for that matter, are now based upon a supply and demand market that is completely oriented toward at least two full-time working parents. This makes the struggle for single income earners, or even 1.5 income earners. This is especially true in the housing market. This makes raising a family today an especially difficult task, you either send the kids off to daycare all day = or you have to struggle to make ends meet. Good side is, once that student loan is paid off - you'll be rolling in the dough.

So Sioux Me said...

Yes Klint,

You are right, it ultimately IS a hopeful article.

The Zero-Based budget says you must allocate every single cent to something - therefore Zero is your desired number. Zero is some pretty amazing progress actually. We have only one loan left and I intend to make enough money from my writing to pay it off, save up that downpayment and be able to pay a mortgage comfortably.

But, it's NOT an easy way to live. Though I am usually hugely optimistic about the living within our means will get us really ahead instead of pretending to be ahead, it's not much fun sometimes.

Sometimes I'm just a big whiner and complainer - that's the truth of it. I'll still live by the principles, because I believe that's what will ultimately get us financially ahead. But, sometimes I need to have a whine and a moan.

I am still waiting for my "complaint-free world" bracelet that I ordered from that church about 3 months ago. I had to get the complaining out of my system before I vowed to never complain again.

Tracee

So Sioux Me said...

Jen & Rebecca,

I will only be soothed by the actual major financial windfall I'm asking God for. I intend to believe in it enough to get it. J and I have found that one of our biggest mistakes is to pray for things we don't actually want - like "just enough to pay our bills and get by." Why on earth would we want that? But, in the past that is what we have asked God for, and that is exactly what he has been faithful enough to give us.

No more. If we can ask God together and agree on it, for what we really do want, and can have enough faith as a mustard seed that he's going to give it to us, then we shall have it. Right?

Well, I intend to proceed from there.

Thank you for being so supportive of our quest. That you want it for me makes me believe that I might actually be deserving of it.

Tracee

Karrie said...

I couldn't imagine your and the babies allergy and respiratory problems. Is there a HABITAT FOR HUMANITY in your area? It is a christian based organization that builds you a house but affordably. The prices and sizes differ from place to place but you get a house and you do buy it BUT you don't pay full market price. It is built with donated time and materials. A group from my college recently traveled to Phoenix and helped build several beautiful houses. They told us that the house was worth 240,000 but the family paid only around 160,000 in all. The payments are smaller and they work with you on them. I don't know all the ins and outs but you sound like you would be a good candidate.

Tracee said...

Karrie thank you so much for your good advice. You are very kind.

That was a terrible time. We have moved into a new home since then and it is wonderful. We have central air and that has greatly reduced the discomfort of both the baby and myself.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dear God and Dave Ramsey


Dear God and Dave Ramsey:

Not that you’re one and the same or like you have the same address or anything, but you both live in the money department of my brain.

This is what I look like in the mornings. My eyes are sealed shut with monkey poop and they hurt, the lids are sore and red and the sinuses below them are full of fluid and puffy and swollen. I have to do a sinus wash and take a bunch of Benadryl before they stop hurting and itching and before I can breath. I don’t buy the Zyrtec, which helps more, because it’s a $50 copay and that’s not in our zero-based budget. The generic Benadryl is only $4 and it seems to help, but it wears off in my sleep and the window air conditioner blows everything I’m allergic to straight onto me all night long and I wake up in a swollen, itchy, painful mess.

My baby used to take a bunch of allergy medicine because he’s had a rattle in his chest since he was born. But, the Dr. said just forget giving it to him because it wasn’t even helping his constant congestion. So, now I take him for a lymph node massage and that’s only $10 and it helps him a lot. I usually end up using my blow money to take him to this therapy, Dave. In fact I rarely ever get to blow my blow money.

It’s the allergies. The pediatrician says it’s the mold in our tiny rented house and we should move immediately. Plus, the hay fever from having window air conditioners that blow all the pollen straight into the house.

Oh God, thank you so much for the money to buy a new window unit this year. It was expensive, but I just couldn’t take another year in the sweltering East Texas humidity at 103 degrees, Dave. It really will make you physically sick to sit in a house that feels like an oven all day long. I really would be perfectly happy with this solution if the pollen didn’t make me and the kids ill. Winters are a problem though, as the city has outlawed the use of the only heat source we have because it’s a serious carbon-monoxide risk (as the soot on my walls can attest to).

Dave, we finally paid off a ton of debt, around $8,000 probably. And we had a paid for, debt-free, we-own-him-outright, baby in the meantime. We took the crappy jobs and go without all kinds of stuff. But, I’ve still got a whopper of a student loan. My husband got a great new job with a big fat raise so we can finally make our minimum payments and get my student loan out of deferment. I graduated over 10 years ago. In college, they failed to teach me about how an interest rate accrues but they made me spend an entire year trying to figure out what the square root of something was. We’ve been “paying our professional dues” and have never made enough to pay the ever interest-accruing burden. My husband was pretty depressed that our actual lifestyle wasn’t improving with his new job. Who wouldn't be?

But, we’re afraid to get in over our heads with a mortgage. So many people we know are in a scary place with their mortgages. When you change jobs, that’s the only time you can cash out the 401K. We want to buy a house. That’s everyone’s American Dream isn’t it? After the penalties and taxes we’d have about $5,000 for a down payment, closing costs and moving expenses. It doesn’t seem like enough. But, it feels like this might be the only time we’ll ever have even that much all at once.

Dave, I know you say that $7,000 401K should stay in where it is and we should save up a 20% down payment and continue living here in this mold-ridden two bedroom house we’ve outgrown. Financial Peace Revisited even says we should save a real emergency fund of $20,000 before buying the house. Economically, that $7,000 is supposed to somehow turn into a million when we’re 65, or are they making us wait until 68 to retire now? And I guess we'll need it, becaue I just got a letter from Social Security saying they'll be paying me $335 a month when I retire and I certainly can't live on that. But, now that we have to pay that student loan it feels like we’re back to square one. There is no money left over to save. How are we going to save $80,000 to move out of here, Dave? Right now $80,000 feels a lot like never. (And Suzi Orman – where the hell am I supposed to come up with money for my own savings account?)

Thank you God, for our new mini-van. We HAD to buy a new car, the other one was dead, Dave. We drove the humiliatingly ugly thing around for 3-4 years but it really was finally dead and we bought the van with cash. Just like we’re supposed to, Dave. I have to admit, it really did feel pretty good. I felt like something brand new, only without any anxiety or burdens. It was definitely worth the wait not to finance a new car.

We gave up the envelopes after two years simply because it was ridiculous to carry around empty envelopes, Dave. We spend all our money in about one day – grocery and bill day – then the envelopes are just mocking us, empty as can be.

I haven’t gone home to see my family in two years because the price of gas is too much to justify. Like losers we’re letting my parents give us gas money to come home this year to meet my brother’s new baby. Two of my siblings haven't met my toddler either. My parents had to pay for the last trip too. It's too humbling.

We boycotted Christmas with the extended family and buy all our kid’s gifts and our clothes and furniture from garage sales. But, I confess to adding the expenditure of cell phones. I tried to say no, but my husband, well he HAD to have it. He said he could drive the ugliest car without a radio to work for the mileage, but he wanted to be able to talk on the phone during his 45-minute commute and he needed the “status” of something Dave. He needed it. It was a deal breaker. I fought it, I did. But, he deserved one thing for getting a new job, didn’t he?

We also kept basic cable. Dave, you can’t stick me in the house staying home with the kids, trying to get something done without a TV. We don’t even get ONE free station out here in the boonies Dave. Not even one. But, we cancelled the HBO so please, no one tell me what happened on the last season of The Sopranos and don't tell me about Big Love either. I did keep wearing makeup and doing my hair every 5 months and last week I bought Ainsley a brand new package of panties, as she’d been complaining for months. I snuck it into the grocery fund. We had to keep the Internet for work purposes, but we’re keeping our receipts for taxes. We’re taking the write-offs this year. We also added a babysitting fund of $20 every Thurs. We figure our marriage has to be more important than paying off my student loan doesn’t it? Never eating out or going to do anything fun pretty much ruins a marriage seems like.

So, maybe we’re not your textbook Gazelles going at our debt with what you would call intensity. But, we’ve paid a full tithe – that’s on our GROSS God, our Gross income – every single payday for several years now.

We’ve made a zero-based budget every single month, Dave. And we’ve stuck to it as well as anyone else without a crystal ball can. We’ve kept our emergency fund as close to $1,000 as possible. I’m working my butt off, writing from home, taking the leap of faith, just like you told me to God. My husband's taking every freelance job that comes his way. And we haven’t financed one single thing or put a single dime on any credit card, Dave. That’s something right?

Most days I’m optimistic and I’m so sickeningly grateful for this roof over our heads, cars that get us where we need to go and my husband’s job that provides a steady enough income to make our payments. I’m a huge bragger about the bargains I get at garage sales and as proud of being thrifty as anyone you’ll ever meet. I recommend the Dave Ramsey program to everyone I meet and I constantly remind my husband that we’re so close, so very close, just hold on one more minute, in 5 years this will seem like a blip, this is just what it’s like on the way up, just be a little tiny bit more patient.

But, then there comes a morning like this one. Where I wake up with allergies so bad my eyes are sealed shut from a moldy house with no central air, and a sick kid that I’m not taking to the doctor because I didn’t put the co-pay in the budget, and I’m having to mooch off my parents at the age of 33 to buy enough gas to see my family, and I’m kind of sick of it. I’m so totally OVER being the working poor and trying to live within our means.

So God, I’m ready for a major financial windfall any day now. In fact, NOW would not be too soon. And Dave, I’m working on Financial Peace, but sometimes I have to admit this feels more like pain than peace and it seriously sucks!

9 comments:

russkellyphd said...

Dear friend
Dave Ramsey is a wondeerful person and a good financial adviser but he is a very poor theologian. He is wrong about tithing. Read Neh 10:29 which includes Malachi's audience. The only way you can be blessed by tithing is by keeping ALL of th Mosaic Law.
If you want some comfort then go to my web site and read the secion on "endorsements" to my book and web site. A lot of hurting people just like yourself have been set free from legalism and the oppression of tithe-teachers. May God bless you is my sincere prayer. I also have an article on DAve Ramsey. Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D. www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com

So Sioux Me said...

Dear Russkellyphd:

We do not pay a gross tithe in a legalistic way. My husband and I both have looked at the scriptures and realize it's very much an Old Testament teaching that Jesus most likely set us free from. But, I shall not argue the theological semantics about whether or not other people tithe. Or whether they should tithe a gross or a net or a whatever is left over at the end of the month.

We tithe for three reasons mentioned in my article Generous & Grateful: http://traceesioux.blogspot.com/2007/03/generous-grateful.html

1. Giving away money away instills blessings of faith. Faith that there will be enough money to meet my needs, even if I give a substantial amount of money away.

2. Giving instills generosity in your spirit - God is so generous with me that I can afford to be generous with others.

3. Giving instills gratefulness - I have food and clothes and shelter and cars, I am so blessed that I can afford to help those who may not be as blessed as I am.

I will also confess to a 4th reason and it's probably pure superstition. What if you are wrong? What if we ARE cursing our money by not tithing? We don't have enough to afford for it to be cursed!

The fact is that tithing is a mathematical impossibility for us. Yet, since we have been paying it we've witnessed less financial burden in our lives and about 1,000 minor financial miracles. Pre-giving generously we were burdened with debt and anxiety and bankruptcy and always behind. Post-giving to both church and others we have more financial peace even if it is hard to acquire. We're actually getting a ZERO instead of a NEGATIVE in our budget and sadly that's a major improvement.

I couldn't find your article on Dave Ramsey, but would like to read it.

For others I would recommend that if you can't give without resentment or anger then absolutely don't give. If you don't want to tithe to the churh, and sometimes I pay someone's electric bill or buy them groceries instead (and don't feel the least bit bad about it, because I believe that is what Jesus would do), then give something to someone.

It's probably childish of me to even bring it up to God as some kind of brownie point anyway.

Tracee Sioux

jen said...

OK, this may sound nuts, but maybe an alternative to the tiny moldy rental would be to move to a tiny non-moldy, newer rental. I know how bad it sucks to move, but you are one of the most determined people I know, and I just know that with your persistance you could probably find something better, and still within your means.

About buying a house. That is such a tough one. We bought a house before we were financially ready in Dave Ramesey's book, and it may not have been the smartest thing to do but it worked out in a lot of ways too. Thankfully we (meaning GOD...lol) somehow made it work. I know that is a heartwreching decision for you guys. What about buying a duplex and having the renter pay the mortgage?

Rebecca said...

We too bought a house before we were ready. But, like Jen's situation, it now totally works for us.

Obviously you've thought about moving since you said you were looking at houses. I suggest you look at houses over here in these parts. :) All kinds of tiny non-moldy houses here!

Klint said...

The funny thing is that you end your article with a statement of desperation, yet your comments here are hopeful. Your only alternative to living within your means is to not do so...and that will leave you in a veritable perpetual cycle of poverty. That's the truth of it.

I've never read Dave Ramsey's stuff, but it appears that he has spelled out a particular formula for adherance that may or may not be the most beneficial to all budgets. Fact is, the primary rule is to live within your means and to always (if possible) save a predetermined amount so that your savings is always building. This of course is secondary to the payment of tithing - meaning it is the ultimate priority. I notice that some of your posters comment that the payment of tithing is a oppressive ideology meant to control and benefit others. However, as my loving wife always points out that the first great commandment is to love god, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The ability to worship with others is a great blessing and this can only be brought to pass if people pay tithing - wich is what pays for the organization, buildings, materials and other resources that are very much temporally needed to enjoy fellowship with one another. Plus it is a commandment. This goes without pointing out that the best social scientists, economists, and political scientists in this world show that a public good (as the church is) will always be underprovided if individuals must choose what they believe is their fair portion of their benefit of the public good. Therefore, tithing is a simple budget constrait of a church - they cannot spend more = yet the good is always provided sufficiently if everyone pays their tithing.

Lastly, I think I know where you are with regards to just breaking even at zero each month. With a family, life is very hard. Most all housing prices, and many commodities for that matter, are now based upon a supply and demand market that is completely oriented toward at least two full-time working parents. This makes the struggle for single income earners, or even 1.5 income earners. This is especially true in the housing market. This makes raising a family today an especially difficult task, you either send the kids off to daycare all day = or you have to struggle to make ends meet. Good side is, once that student loan is paid off - you'll be rolling in the dough.

So Sioux Me said...

Yes Klint,

You are right, it ultimately IS a hopeful article.

The Zero-Based budget says you must allocate every single cent to something - therefore Zero is your desired number. Zero is some pretty amazing progress actually. We have only one loan left and I intend to make enough money from my writing to pay it off, save up that downpayment and be able to pay a mortgage comfortably.

But, it's NOT an easy way to live. Though I am usually hugely optimistic about the living within our means will get us really ahead instead of pretending to be ahead, it's not much fun sometimes.

Sometimes I'm just a big whiner and complainer - that's the truth of it. I'll still live by the principles, because I believe that's what will ultimately get us financially ahead. But, sometimes I need to have a whine and a moan.

I am still waiting for my "complaint-free world" bracelet that I ordered from that church about 3 months ago. I had to get the complaining out of my system before I vowed to never complain again.

Tracee

So Sioux Me said...

Jen & Rebecca,

I will only be soothed by the actual major financial windfall I'm asking God for. I intend to believe in it enough to get it. J and I have found that one of our biggest mistakes is to pray for things we don't actually want - like "just enough to pay our bills and get by." Why on earth would we want that? But, in the past that is what we have asked God for, and that is exactly what he has been faithful enough to give us.

No more. If we can ask God together and agree on it, for what we really do want, and can have enough faith as a mustard seed that he's going to give it to us, then we shall have it. Right?

Well, I intend to proceed from there.

Thank you for being so supportive of our quest. That you want it for me makes me believe that I might actually be deserving of it.

Tracee

Karrie said...

I couldn't imagine your and the babies allergy and respiratory problems. Is there a HABITAT FOR HUMANITY in your area? It is a christian based organization that builds you a house but affordably. The prices and sizes differ from place to place but you get a house and you do buy it BUT you don't pay full market price. It is built with donated time and materials. A group from my college recently traveled to Phoenix and helped build several beautiful houses. They told us that the house was worth 240,000 but the family paid only around 160,000 in all. The payments are smaller and they work with you on them. I don't know all the ins and outs but you sound like you would be a good candidate.

Tracee said...

Karrie thank you so much for your good advice. You are very kind.

That was a terrible time. We have moved into a new home since then and it is wonderful. We have central air and that has greatly reduced the discomfort of both the baby and myself.