Friday, July 22, 2011

Death of a Credit Card

It was a time of strict budgeting, extra pinching of pennies, clipping coupons, meals of beans and rice, saying no to outings with friends, having garage sales, and so on. Although challenging, we quickly found positive results. So here we are...time to celebrate our one-year anniversary of paying off all credit card debt! 

A six-month-pregnant me showing no mercy to Mastercard and Visa

It all began when we were first married in 2005. We both worked full-time jobs and used our credit cards for purchases like groceries and gas. At the end of the month, the cards were always paid off. Our intention was to create good credit scores and accumulate points for airfare and other rewards. This system worked well until the economic downfall in 2008. Long story short, there were major life changes including unemployment, moving to another state, and a baby on the way. Our savings quickly diminished and we resorted to using credit cards for consumer purposes. We were unsure of how to pay them off at the end of the month.

Providentially, things turned around when my husband was hired as a student pastor in yet another state. We were richly blessed in various ways, and seeing how God was working in our lives we knew we had an opportunity to become financially responsible. Even with a lower income, we found ways to cut expenses and live frugally. In doing this, we ended up with more money than at a dual income!

Why it worked
  • Everyone in the family was on board
  • We budgeted everything down to the last penny
  • We communicated all purchases to each other

Much "credit" (no pun intended) must be given to reading and following The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Also teamwork in our marriage, supportive friends and family, and most importantly prayer as God graciously delivered us from credit card debt.

I am always searching for wise stewardship ideas. How do you practice financial fitness?

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