New Beginnings: Put Your Financial House in Order

I am pleased to team up with four other bloggers to bring you a series over the next few months to “Put Your House in Order”. Together we will explore the topics of food, children, decorating, faith and finances as they relate to our homes. While many of us have the best of intentions each year when January rolls around, chances are, those intentions have faded by March. It is my hope that this series will encourage you to keep making strides and develop good habits beyond January.

Despite the fact that I have no formal expertise whatsoever in the area of finance, my naive sweet friend Connie asked me to cover this very important topic. But what I lack in education, I certainly make up for in personal experience.

If you are still reading, allow me to share the condensed version of my story. In 2007 after three years of marriage, my husband and I began a journey out of credit card debt and never looked back. We had plenty of financial mishaps under our belt that had led us down the slippery slope of borrowing too much money. Buying a new car, a new house, moving several times, co-signing and living beyond our means in general resulted in several thousand dollars worth of bills and not much to show for it.

Our marriage was strained and the stress of living paycheck to paycheck took its toll. Thankfully, we experienced a major wake up call that prompted us to seek help. It took a stranger combing through our finances to finally bring us face to face with reality.

Since that wake up call, we climbed out of credit card debt and continue to make strides towards eventually being completely debt free. I learned the importance of a spending plan, an emergency fund, new frugal ways and most importantly, what God’s Word reveals about how believers are to handle their money.

I am passionate about inspiring others to take back control of their finances and honor God with each paycheck. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing simple ways to put your financial house in order. Managing our money well does not require fancy software or expertise.

Here is your first action item:

Write down where your money goes – on paper – each and every day. If you have never done this before, you may be surprised by the results.

Here is a FREE printable Monthly Spending Record (pdf) to help you get started on this new beginning. I encourage you to put it on a clipboard in a prominent place. Extra credit for taping a pen to a string and tying it on the clipboard!

Recommended reading: (try the library first!)

How To Manage Your Money by Larry Burkett

Next month, we’ll explore the subject of money in marriage. I would love to hear your questions about this topic!

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For more inspiration, visit my fellow bloggers behind the “Put Your House In Order” series:

  • Children: Connie from Smockity Frocks
  • Decorating: Myra from The Casabella Project and My Blessed
    Life
  • Faith: Courtney from Women Living Well
  • Food: Jessica from Good Cheap Eats and Life as Mom
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About Alyssa Francis

A thirty-something wife and mother of four! Two daughters by birth, one son by marriage, and a sweet baby boy born in April of 2009. Oldest sister of four girls raised by a single mom. California native. Grew up in Hawaii. Somehow ended up in North Texas. Once a single mom. Former agnostic. A survivor of abuse and addiction. Forgiven by a great big God. Married to my best friend.

Comments

  1. Excellent advice every family needs! Thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your hard earned wisdom!

  2. I look forward to reading more!
    laughwithusblog´s last blog post ..Honesty I Come By It Honestly Mom Edition

  3. Hi, I’m visiting over from the “Women Living Well” blog :) :) I read your story and was very touched and encouraged. I’m working on becoming debt free, myself…so I love hearing stories of other people doing the same!!! I’m not quite there yet..but it gets less and less as the days go by :) :) Have a lovely week!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  4. Penny Muscott says:

    We have just taken on our 19 year old godson who will come and live with us after some problems with the law. He now has a job, and we are using the “envelope system” to help him sort out his bills and understand how much he really has for “spending money”.

    As I sit drinking a cup of coffee I just brewed on my keurig coffee maker and chuckling as he discovers just how little he has left over when taking out the money he owes!

    Too bad the government can’t manage its debt as well.

    Penny
    Penny Muscott´s last blog post ..How to Brew Turkish Coffee

  5. Alyssa Francis says:

    @laughwithusblog, Thanks for stopping by, Esther! :)

  6. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Heather :) :) :) , Welcome, Heather! Thank you for reading my story. I hope it encourages you on your own journey out of debt. Please feel free to ask me questions about it anytime!

  7. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Smockity Frocks, Thank YOU, Connie, for asking me to come on board. It is an honor!

  8. Hi, I am really pleased to see your monthly spending record. Can you explain to me how you fill it in. Do you fill it in a line at a time – ie: one line for each day? I noticed that it has numbers alond the bottom of the first page – how do you use them? Excuse my basic questions, but I just couldn’t quite figure it out! Thanks

  9. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Fleur, Hi Fleur! Glad you liked it. I am sorry I did not explain how to use it. Don’t worry about the lines, just categories. Fill in amounts as you spend in each category. The numbers along the bottom are for the days of the month. Cross off each number (day) after you record your spending above. At the end of the month, you will see a big picture of what you spent in each category and where you went over/under. The beauty of this method is that it allows you see where your money is going, rather than just seeing a bank statement full of charges.
    Hope this helps and please feel free to ask more questions! :)

  10. That is a great first action step. I’m always surprised when I get the bank statement and see all that was spent! I need to be more frugal and see where I spend money.

  11. Thank you for sharing this much needed topic – I look forward to the recommended reading you suggest… I am on my way to library now – thanks!

  12. My husband and I are currently taking part in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. It is our goal to live a debt free life. The bible (and Dave Ramsey) teaches “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 It is our goal to no longer be slaves. I look forward to your blog as inspiration to stay on track in becoming debt free.

  13. Alyssa Francis says:

    @Christy, Amen, Christy! It truly is like slavery. Once we were rid of our credit card debts, our lives became much more peaceful. I am humbled that God allows me to inspire others through my blog. Blessings to you!

  14. I am here form Courtney’s blog. I like the form so much. Thnak you! Only thing, it is not printing properly for me. Any idesa?

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