Our 2008 Financial goals are here. In 2008 we focused heavily on reducing our consumer debt. We hope to have this 100% complete early next year, but I will share more on our 2009 goals in another snack.
We use Microsoft Money to track our finances. I got a graph like the one above to give me a picture of where our money was going. Of course I have known where but it is interesting to see it in a graph/picture (I'm a visual person :-).
Click here to read more on this Snack…Here is what our graph showed me:
- Consumer debt payments were reduced drastically! Actually, our debt payments exceeded our mortgage payments which is both embarassing and amazing. I hesitated about sharing this because it is somewhat personal even without the exact numbers. My hope is that it provides some encouragement for others who are working on living debt-free too. And, As mentioned above, we didn't completely wipe this out as I had hoped since medical expenses affected the payoff by quite a bit. If only FSA monies could be used for service dates from previous plan years!
- Charitable giving increased. Even with our debt being reduced, our tithing and charitable giving didn't' suffer but multipled (anyone sensing the loaves and fish here :-). Obviously, giving is important to us – we feel it is a commandment from God to share the firstfruits for all that He gives to us. We know that these accomplishments are a clear sign that God is in control of (and blessing) EVERYTHING!
Here is what the graph did NOT show me:
- Prayer works! On New Year's Eve this year, we had family prayer with our pastor. One of our prayers was for God to provide financial wisdom and help us to be better stewards of our finances. I believe this prayer was answered in a way that I am still amazed with. We have made personal sacrifice through this year. We could have done many things and just paid a little less on the debt. Getting out of debt was and is our priority so the sacrifices were insignificant compared to seeing the progress.
- The Power of Healing and Coupons :-) Many of you know that our youngest son, Andon, had to have surgery last year (in 2007). His diagnosis and impending surgery while he was still kicking inside is what sparked my interest in saving and using coupons (as I shared in this article). Having insurance is a blessing, but the out of pocket expenses we had to pay before insurance kicked in at 100% was more than I knew how to come up with from our current budget. And, knowing we had several follow-up doctor's appointments, me going back to work full-time just wasn't an option for us.Exactly one year from his surgery, not only did little Andon have a clean bill of health (praise), but I had saved the EXACT amount of that out of pocket expense (praise). That amount is even more today. I don't see this as a coincidence, this was an answer to our prayers.
So, in 2008, what did I really learn? An affirmation that God is the master of us! Not these companies whom we have debts to. I am amazed at God caring about the little things in my life (and many big ones too), in the grand scheme of the universe. He takes us through trials – be it physical, financial, emotional. I believe the place He delicately places us is an even more amazing place/circumstance than we could ever dream up for ourselves! God gave us the wisdom to save money, live better, and give more!
How did your 2008 financial goals go? Take a minute to leave a comment, or link up to Crystal's post on 2008 Financial Goals!