Friday, February 20, 2009

Working with your Lenders

Sorry it has been a while since I have posted, I have been sooo busy. I am hopeful that I have a good job opportunity, that is such a blessing for us!

Anyway, I wanted to write something about working with your lenders, mainly because I had to this morning. Since I have been so long without work, things have been super tight, especially this month. So this morning, I called my bank and let them know my situation, and the were able to push back 2 of my payments, this is not something that you can do often, but if you find yourself really tight, don't be ashamed to call your credit card company, bank, or whoever you owe to and work something out. Just be honest about your situation and more often than not, I am sure that they will be willing to work something out with you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Debt and Your Marriage

I have been wanting to do a post on this topic for a little while, but I wanted to do some research first and I knew that I would need some time to do it, so I apologize if this gets long, but I feel very strongly about this topic.

I don't know about you, but I would have to say that our debt has caused more stress in our marriage than almost anything else, and it is not that we fight, or argue about how to spend our money, it just seems that when the money gets tight, that is when there is the most tension and stress. For the longest time, my husband and I had this routine it seemed like and this is how it would go: The beginning of the month would come, we would both get paid and while my husband was at work I would check the accounts, go over the bills, determine what we could pay, what we couldn't, and then I would get that sinking feeling of "will this ever end." I would get depressed and end up calling my husband, usually in tears, telling him the news. Then by the time he would get home, he was the one that would feel down and then our whole night it seemed would be filled with stress and trying to come up with ideas of how to make it better. The stress would fade over the next few days, and finances would just be put to the back of our minds until 2 weeks later when we got paid again, and then the cycle would start over. I know that it sounds pretty pathetic, I especially realize this as I am writing it all out. But it was just the way that we were coping with our stress, it was never an explosion, we never "went to bed mad", it is just that it was slowly eating away at us. It was always something in the back of our mind that we almost avoided. It became a hurdle in our marriage, because we each were starting to feel hurt by the way we were handling the situation. I was feeling hurt, because I felt that I always had to go over the bills, pay them, and be the barer of bad news, I felt like it was a burden that I couldn't bare anymore. He feeling hurt because I was calling him while he was at work and always breaking down to him, and when I would do that he would feel like he wasn't do good enough and that he was letting our family down.

The thing was that we were adding to eachothers stress, just by the way we were handling our finances. It took us a while to figure that out, but we have since almost reversed the outcome of our financial struggles. Since we have been able to work together and listen to eachother's feelings more, this whole trial has brought us closer together. So this is our new routine, and for us it works pretty good: When we get paid, we WAIT until my husband gets home, and we pull out all of the bills together, we write them all out prioritize what needs to be paid, we go over our meal plans for the next 2 weeks, so we can estimate the cost of our food, we discuss if we will be going anywhere different then normal so that we can estimate the cost of gas. Basically we go over everthing TOGETHER, that is the key. And yes, there still are times where it gets stressful, but we find that when we band together and include the Lord in our decisions as well, we are much happier, and it is easier to have faith that everything will work its self out as long as we are doing all we can to carry out the Lord's will.

I just wanted to encourage anyone that feels like finances are hindering your marriage, just know that it can become a blessing for your marriage if you turn it around and make it something that brings you closer together. Rely on eachother, but most importantly, don't leave the Lord out.

Here is a quote from an article that I found that I really liked:

“Coping with Difficulties in Marriage,” Ensign, Oct 1982, 21 “When a couple have commenced a marriage based upon reasonable standards,” President Spencer W. Kimball has said, “no combination of power can destroy that marriage except the power within either or both of the spouses themselves; and they must assume the responsibility generally. Other people and agencies may influence for good or bad; financial, social, political, and other situations may seem to have a bearing. But the marriage depends first and always on the two spouses, who can always make their marriage successful and happy if they are determined, unselfish, and righteous.” (Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 17.)

Click Here to read the whole article.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Deseret Industries

Okay, so I will admit that I haven't always loved D.I., but I am coming around. I am learning that buying thrift store finds saves a whole lot of money. I bought a swing for my baby brand new before she was born for $99, she ended up hating it and I ended up selling it on craigslist for $40... what a waste. Then I bought her an exersaucer at D.I. for $5 (retails new for $80-120) and it is her favorite toy. The thing is that ya, a new exersaucer would have been cute, shiny new, and not missing any attachments, but my daughter (the one using it), could care less. She may not have even liked it, like the swing and it would have been a waste. Plus, she is already growing out of it.

So, if you have a fear of D.I. I would suggest trying it out, its not so bad. But be careful, just like coupon and bargain shopping, if it is something that you didn't need, it is still cheaper NOT to buy it, than to buy it just because it is a good deal.

Also, D.I. is a great way to simplify (like I talked about in my earlier post). Simplify by donating.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Personal Revelation and Listening to the Spirit

So I was ready my Gospel Doctrine Study Guide for next weeks Lesson on Listening and recognizing the spirit, this morning and I just wanted to quickly share some of my thoughts that I had. As I had been studying, I was thinking about how important revelation has been for my family throughout the last 3 or 4 months.

In December, I got a call from my employer (I worked from home) and he told me that the check coming for me would most likely be the last (he works for the mortgage industry) and that he was really sorry, but that he unexpectedly lost one of his major clients. I was not completely shocked, but wasn't ready for it. I was making more than 1/3 of our income and with things being as tight as they were all ready, it felt like the consequences for our debt would never end. I began looking for work, and doing all that I could to mend our situation, but I was finding that I was not the only one out of work (it has been hard to even get an interview because so many people are looking for work, at least in my field of work). I was doing what I could but nothing was coming, it was one of those humbling experiences for me. I needed to be reminded to get back on my knees and ask for help because I wouldn't get through it alone. In January, I got a job and I felt a huge sigh of relief and thought, wow, I am glad I got through that, but after my first 2 or 3 nights of work, my husband sat me down and told me that he was very concerned and that he felt very strongly that I made the wrong choice and that I needed to reconsider the job that I had accepted. I was almost angry, because I felt that it was perfect, the answer to my prayers and why would he question that. Anyway, after more praying and humbling myself, I came to the same conclusion as my husband, it wasn't the right thing, I had let my own desires make my decisions, just assuming that they were the right ones. So I reluctantly quit that job and continued the search. I since have gotten a job, but it is very part time and I really don't know if it will be what I need to do, but I really just want to tell this story, because the Lord will take care of us if we humble ourselves and do our best to follow his will. It isn't easy by any means, and I am still struggling with this problem, but I am learning that the Lord is all knowing and he knows what is best for me and my family. Things have somehow worked out for us the last few months, but I know that it isn't by coincidence and I just need to trust that if I do my best to learn and follow his will for me, he will get our family through this. It most likely won't be the way that I think it will be either.

If you haven't already I would completely suggest going through last weeks and this weeks gospel doctrine lesson. I wrote down all the questions and wrote out all my answers and thoughts, to help me remember and be able to look back at it. Here is the link to the study guide lessons if you don't have it already: Lesson #5 and Lesson #6

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Let Him Do It with Simplicity"

I was going through some of my notes that I jotted down during the last general conference (Nov 2008) and I came across my notes on Elder L. Tom Perry's talk: "Let Him Do It with Simplicity" If you don't remember the talk, click here to read it. In the talk, he says that the there are only four basic things that we needed: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. That talk really got me thinking, so I decided that to help me get over my "need" to spend money and have things, that I needed to start out by simplifying. So I have started to go through my apartment one room at a time and I have been making a pile of things to get rid of. Well actually 2 piles, a donate pile and a sell pile. I figured that if I am going to do this I might as well sell some things and put the extra money to my debt.

Here are a few good places to sell items (that I know of): (anything) (anything)
FYE (movies, videogames)
Kid to Kid (baby/kid stuff and clothing)
Plato's Closet ("in style" clothing)
Blogspot (I have heard of some people making a blog of all the items that they want to sell and advertise it on craigslist or ksl as a blog yard sale. This is good for people like me who live in an apartment and can't have a traditional yard sale.)

Even if you don't have a lot to sell, the idea is to simplify, and learn to live with less. So if you didn't hear the talk or don't remember, it is really good and I would highly recommend reading it.