One of my old friends from college resolved to write more in the new year. Now, I love this goal. For one, her blog is one of my absolute favorites to read. She always posts such interesting things, things that I dream of having time to explore in more depth, like great new reads and delicious new recipes, the ingredients for which have never entered this toddler-centric household. Most of all, I love when she posts her creative writing. This friend was a pharmacy major in college, while I studied English and journalism, and it deeply puts me to shame that she still writes (when I don't) and that her writing is so stinking good (when I'm pretty sure that mine wouldn't be anymore, given my nearly 10-year hiatus from creative pursuits). It was through her blog that I learned about Sunday Scribblings, so I figured that I should at least give it a try this year.
I don't have anything creative this week, but I did at least look up and reflect on the topic. The prompt is "for richer or poorer." This is a timely topic for us. As you may recall, Ben and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University last year and came out 100% determined to pay off all our debt and build wealth. This resulted in us keeping a detailed budget and me taking on two small babysitting charges. We paid off and closed all but one credit card. But as the year wore on, our enthusiasm wore out. We still keep a budget, but we have slipped back into most of our old bad habits.
Fast-forward to later this month, when our church will again be offering an FPU class. Ben and I have been asked to serve as volunteers, most likely as small group leaders. Um, yikes. We are certainly not prepared to counsel a group of other adults on how to manage their money. We can't even handle our own! I guess that's the idea: to be honest about our experiences with what works and what doesn't. But this is also a clear wake-up call to demonstrate that we need to get our acts together.
So here are my financial goals for 2009:
1) pay off and close our one remaining credit card
2) pay off Ben's car
3) build savings, particularly as we will be relatively shortly in need of:
4) a new washer and dryer (goal: save $$ for these) and
5) a new (used) car for me (goal: save $$ for this)
After a careful analysis of our budget, it's hugely clear that one of the major ways we can reduce spending is to stop eating out. So, in the name of Dave Ramsey, I am telling my stomach to shut up, even though it is begging me for some queso and chips right now!