Sunday, February 23, 2014

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

This is going to sound like an odd beginning to a post on finances, but this past week was a week of revelation for me, for good and bad.  In a nutshell, because temperatures started rising early during President's Day weekend, I had the unhappy discovery that my air conditioning was no longer working.  After almost $3,000.00 in repairs, I'm back in business.  It didn't completely de-rail everything that I had already started, however it did eat up almost all of the money I had earmarked for the taxes I know I will owe Uncle Sam.

Knowing how much of the "worst case scenario" girl I am, I was calm about the whole thing.  Somehow I knew that things would work out.  In that light, I wanted to start this post with a talk from  the October, 2012 Semi-Annual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sunday Morning Session.  It's from President Henry B. Eyring titled "Where Is The Pavillion?"

Now, I'm not by any means perfect on this.  In fact, I'm feeling lately that my prayers have been lacking and I need to do a better job.

At any rate, because I had a plan and I knew how much money I could handle for these repairs, they were done, were done within the budget given, and I didn't have anxiety over the whole thing.

This will, however make me re-evaluate the finances and what I will be able to afford to payoff.

This experience has also caused me to re-evaluate resolution #1.  I'm still working to pay down the debt, but I am also receiving the impressions through the Holy Ghost that this year might also be a year where things get repaired or replaced.  This means that more money will be spent on that and less on paying down the debts, and it also means that less debt will be paid down by the end of the year.

Both goals can work together, however there will need to be moderation in all things for this to work.

I have skipped out on both the ANWA Conference and the Time Out For Women Conference this year as both are too expensive for me to handle while I try to pay down debt and get the needed work done in my home.

The good news is, though, I am on the right track.

In the book The Millionaire Next Door the authors talk about making good offense vs. making good defense.  Good offense is making enough money to cover the bills plus some savings.  If you aren't making enough, look for areas where additional money could be made.

Good defense is spending that money wisely.  Get caught up in what is past due, save a little for emergencies, and then work on paying down the debt.

The Millionaire Next Door was a game - changing book for me back in 1996 when it was first published.  For years I had seen people who made a lot of money and spent it with nice homes and cars.  Then I read this book and realized I didn't have to have that kind of life.  There are millionaires out there who don't flaunt their wealth, they are millionaires and most people never know it.

It has helped me to stay grounded in what is really important - financial independence and security - over the years since Decker's death.

So, in light of all that has happened the last month or so, how have I done?

I'm current on my bills.

The two unsecured lines of credit with balances are no longer maxed out. This means minimum payments are dropping.

The car payment remains the same, however more and more of the money is going towards principal, rather than interest.  This helps to accelerate payoff.

The air conditioning, with some routine maintenance, should last for at least 10-15 years, however I will need to start saving within the next 5 years if the need to replace everything should arise.

The next repair to tackle is getting my washing machine fixed, scheduled for the first day of Spring Break in March.

I wanted to finish this post, though, with another talk that is more in line with the financial resolution, however keeps it in check with a spiritual message.  Things will work out according to God's plan and God's timetable, however we do still need to do our part.  Blessings of doing our part can come in other ways than the obvious removal of trials.

The message is from the October, 2013 Semi-Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's from the Saturday morning session from Elder David A. Bednar titled "The Windows of Heaven".

No comments: