Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Resolutions: Reducing Student Loan Debt

We are implementing parts of Dave Ramsey into our lives. I hate this a little bit. But I hate the debt more.

Because of this, we are saying adieu to DirectTV, our land line, eating out except for special occasions, trips, coffee, and random Target wandering/shopping. Lance is selling off a few things and we're pretty serious about selling off the Traverse. We are eating less meat. We are both drinking coffee at work and not making it at home. I shop less. I'm making all of Lucan's baby food (fun to puree things into mush, but a never ending process. Really, he needs to eat less :). I'm contemplating learning how to make our own laundry detergent. Lance is going to sell off some mutual funds. I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing my health insurance plans to best optimize our health needs and premium dollars. I'm all over my Healthcare Flexible Spending Account and my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. I've decreased my 401K contribution to only put in what my company will match. I did an AWFUL Justin Beiber promotion so I could justify the expense of 9 month pictures with a professional photographer for Lucan. Will these sacrifices be worth it? They better be because I'm not willing to have to choose between going into further debt or not being able to fulfill Lucan's needs.

Someday Lucan will need braces (side note: given my dental history- I had 4 cavities filled at my last checkup and Lance had 4 cavities filled and an emergency root canal performed last month, therefore Lucan will inevitably have dental issues) and someday Lucan will need swimming lessons so he doesn't end up with a fear of drowning (like Lance). I don't want to have to continually worry how we will pay for these things or have to tell Lucan "no" because there's no money for them. I have a notecard posted at my desk stating that someday Lucan will need swimming lessons to help curb any online shopping.

I will be walking through life going "WWDD?" What Would Dave Do? Basically, Dave would say no. Dave is a fun hater. Lance and I have both observed that people who are doing Dave Ramsey only talk about how much debt they've reduced because that's the only thing they have going on in their lives. It's true. If you are set on reducing your debt, you are probably not taking any wild vacations or eating at the fanciest restaurants in town. You are on a budget. Most people don't find budgets to be very fun.

We just finished a month long series at church about money. It was timely as Lance and I are buckling down on our financial situation. Keeping up with the Jones is just going to keep us broke. Besides, the Jones are in debt. They just appear to be living the good life.

Philippians 4:11-13
For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.

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