My daughter is almost three. She has just started earning money. Last week.
It is a big deal at our house. We have the chart set up and each day so she can earn a check mark to earn some real money. She has put away her books after reading at nap time, cleaned up her room without being asked, and even helped me fold… or wad up the laundry, but what she is most proud of is the silverware. She loves the silverware chore. In the morning as we are cleaning up breakfast she knows it’s time to do dishes. She gets her little stool, and with the silverware dispenser on the counter she is set to work. “Mommy, I do it! I do it!” She takes time to check each item, dry off the ones that are still wet, and put them in their proper place. That look when she’s done is absolute pride. She gleams! Now, she might have run her fingers all over the spoons, and maybe even sneezed on one or two, I try not to watch, this is her project now. And this one little assignment makes her feel…big. And by big, she means important. Independent. Grown up. Responsible.
Before we had the chart and some structure, she tried to help me. Help me tie my shoes. Do you know how hard it is with ten extra, tiny fingers that neither one of us is controlling? She would attempt to help me cook. Help me get out a cough. The other day as I was getting out of the shower, she was still asleep, I thought, and as I was getting dressed, she rushed in yelling, “I hep you! I hep you!” I was pulling on my drawers, and before I knew it, she got down and hiked them up! In a word, I was the butt of the joke. Head to hiney is not the way to start our day. A little painful, but still made me laugh and I realized right then that her zest and enthusiasm had to be directed. We had to channel that energy and give her focus.
Frankly, I have never been good with money. It is hard to admit. I’m adult. I should probably, no, really have this all figured out. But I have always been so much better at the giving part, I never had any extra to save. We could live on our funds, that was fine. But saving for a rainy day? Just wasn’t happening. I had the zest and enthusiasm to do good things with our money, but I wasn’t focused. I really needed to learn how to channel that to bless our own lives. We have found something that is working. Really, working for us.
We are right in middle of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It has literally changed our lives. Our way of thinking, our energy, passion and zest for life has come shining through and we are taking strong, solid strides to destroy the ridiculous amount of debt we have accumulated. If you’ve taken the class, you know what I’m talking about. And, while we get into the specifics of the tiny steps we’re taking to get there soon, just know that we are doing it. I can’t wait to get into it with you. We thought never-ending-student-loan-payments were going to be our way of life. And now? I can’t wait to stop the bleeding on the financial wound and get to some serious healing. I hope you are learning, too.
Look, we’re not scrimping by in life. I wouldn’t say we are being frugal. I can’t stand that word! It sounds like someone who is so tight with their money they forget to live. I hear that word and think miser. And sometimes, a mooch. An”Ebenezer-complain-about-every-single-penny-it-costs-to-eat” kind of person. You know the kind, they won’t pay a cell phone bill and are constantly asking to borrow yours. Give me strength. I don’t want to be that. I just need to be smart. Savvy smart. Crazy smart when it comes to our money. And we’re smart in life- why have we been careless in this department?
This morning as I watched my daughter work on her silverware task, it hit me. I realized that this is exactly where we are in our financial path. We needed a chart, the direction to get us back to basics, show us where to iron out the details, figure out the specifics for our lives and then let us get to work. We’re workers, after all. Just because we have this debt doesn’t mean we’re lazy. Not even close. Getting the momentum going on our budget has been work. Real work. But whoa! The benefits are blowing us away! This process has become a part of our lives that we probably should have developed a long time ago. I’m just so grateful to have a coach leading us in the right direction. I can’t wait to stop the bleeding on our financial wound and get some real healing going. Because as we are getting our financial house stronger, we will be doing some good things with our money. Keeping our lives in order, giving to others. Like never before. It’s so exciting!
We are going to get into the specific steps that we are taking later, I just want you to know that you can fix it. Too much on the credit card? I get that. Too many student loans you’re still working on? I hear ya. Can I get an Amen?
My question for you is: How have you improved your financial status? Or, what do you need to do to kick this debt to the curb? Let me know in the comments and let’s improve together.
Enrich your life!