Making Cents

We’ve knocked out a few weeks of Financial Peace University and are still going strong.  We’ve completed our zero-balance cash flow plan and are looking forward to start putting it into action come Wednesday (1 February).  For those of you unfamiliar with Dave Ramsey‘s program, it’s a pretty aggressive plan to create savings and eliminate debt.  It emphasizes controlling your money instead of your money controlling you, and when you have debts, then your money is in control.

This plan has seven baby steps, and the first is to save $1000 for an emergency fund – and quickly, followed by beginning the “debt snowball.”  Our “quick thousand” (and the beginning of paying off our debt snowball) is going to come from selling my older car.  However, before she’ll be ready to change hands, there are a few fixes she’ll need – new tire, for one.  Yet, we’re still so new in this process that we don’t have any money in our budget for this, so my older daughter and I started rockin’ and rollin’ – and rollin’ and rollin’ and rollin’.

Neat little rows of pennies

We’ve got change strewed all over the house, and we decided to make it work for us.  That change can’t do a thing for us when it’s sitting in jars.  My older daughter and I made it a math lesson – rolling all these pennies.


Awesome little piles of copper






Finally, after 2 1/2 hours of pretty much non-stop rolling, we had to call a stop for lunch and my toddler being awake.  We weren’t finished with the jar, but we had a dandy little pile to show for our work.

3,600 pennies - Whew!

That’s 3,600 pennies – $36.00.  I was quite proud of the work we’d done, and this money will go toward taking care of Little Blue.  The payoffs for all this work will be tremendous.  One, get Little Blue ready to sell.  That money will, as I’ve said, create our emergency fund and start us on our way to paying off our debts (with eyes on baby step 6 – paying off our mortgage faster).  And what comes next?  No more paying the taxes, tags and maintenance fees on that car.  Getting it off the insurance.  Am I the only one seeing dollar signs here – more than the value of the car itself?

Right now, my favorite part of FPU is seeing how the little things I do now will affect our plans and dreams down the road.  It’s exciting to feel in control of our money (and I am quite a control freak) and know we’re going to make it work for us.  I really recommend this program.  I recommend it for everyone, but honestly, there’s a new level of romance to my husband and me working together in tangible, concrete ways to achieve our goals.  Even what seem like set-backs look different when we look at them with optimism.

Here we are at the end of January.  We started the month on a major, panic-inducing deficit of the equivalent of 1 1/2 weeks of my husband’s pay.  I’m talking one of those situations where meal variation looks like this:

Monday – Black beans and rice

Tuesday – Kidney beans and rice

Wednesday – Garbanzo beans and rice

Thursday – Black beans and rice

Friday – Payday!!!  Hopefully NOT beans and rice!

and all you can do is pray.  We started FPU after the first of the month, so it was too late to put our cash flow plan into place for January, but we started with the mindset.  One day last week, I had $8.00 with which to buy groceries to make dinner; I was planning on beef stroganoff.  I ran out of money before I got to the beef broth (with no idea we actually had some in the fridge), so I boiled my meat for the stock before sauteing it with the onions.   That one crock pot dish fed us for two meals and there’s a lunch serving left over.  Anyway, we’re here at the end of January.  There’s food in the freezer and pantry, all our housing bills are paid and we actually have money left over.  To me, that’s a reason to celebrate!



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