Budgeting. It might as well be a four-letter word. Despite the initial hatred of the idea, we learned how freeing it is to spend within a budget.
We never kept a close eye on where our paychecks went. We had one income for the most part while I was a stay-at-home mom. We paid the bills fine. We took vacations. But, we had a little bit of debt. Although it wasn’t much, it was there all the same. We both believe in tithing, and we made sure that didn’t fall through the cracks. Yet when opportunities came up to give something extra to a cause, we couldn’t do much, if anything.
A friend told me about YouNeedABudget.com. She told me what a huge difference it had made in her finances. We decided to try it out. We started keeping track of all our spending. It was tedious – keeping receipts, entering expenditures in the proper categories, budgeting the next paycheck. After about a year, we really started seeing a difference. It was becoming easier to pay bills, and we had a little left to save!
About the time we started budgeting, I got a full-time job working from home. That was a big jump in income from my stay-at-home mom pay… So, not only was our budgeting paying off, we were now able to start saving more and having extra for those times when we wanted to give to special offerings at church or give to a charity. We were also starting to get involved in missions. We both wanted to be able to give to missions, and also to be able to go on mission trips.
My husband felt it first. He half joked about selling our house and getting something less expensive. I always said, “No way! I don’t want to move!” We built our house on an acre and a third. We had a creek, trees, and lots of space (which is kind of a rare find in our area). We planned to raise our kids there until they graduated high school. I loved our home. We had lived there for 11 years.
In 2012, I went on a mission trip to Zambia. It’s funny how God uses mission trips to change our perspective. When I returned, I began to feel what my husband had already been feeling. “God, you want us to sell our house?”
This was a tough decision for me. However, I came to recognize this was something God was asking of us. He wanted to make it possible for us to have more freedom to be generous like never before. We could refuse and stay in the home we’d been comfortable in for so long. But in doing so, we would miss out on his greater plan.
We followed His leading and sold the house we loved. We moved 10 minutes away to another house the same size – with a considerably smaller yard. (My husband doesn’t mind the yard work so much now!) We cut our mortgage in half. We are living debt free. We have paid cash for home improvements, a new car, vacations, and mission trips. Last year, we were able to be generous like never before! God is providing for those in need through our obedience, and we are blessed in the process!
When God calls, He usually asks us to do something we might not do on our own. But, wow, what amazing things happen when we do what he asks! We are already seeing new things He has in mind for us. And, we’re ready to say, “Yes!” More to come…