Monday, January 24, 2011

The Little Things

I know that I have written before about how Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University Changed My Life, but I was thinking about the little things that have changed in our lives since we started being more financially responsible. I also thought about dedicating that blog post to the two college couples in our student ministry who are getting married very soon and all the conversations I have had and will have with them about how to make their marriage strong and how to get by financially and just life in general. So as I sat there on a snowy Sunday afternoon clipping my coupons and later working on my design stuff, I thought I would write about a few of the things we do to make our marriage stronger and to get by financially.

3 Things Jimmy and I Do to Strengthen our Marriage:
  • Spend Time in Prayer
  • The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples  Every night when Jimmy comes in to tuck me in (he goes to bed later than I do) we spend time cuddling and talking and we end in prayer. It isn't long, but it is very meaningful. I love that he prays about 90% of the time! It isn't that I am not capable or that I don't want to, but that when he does it makes me feel protected and taken care of and loved.
    • Communicate
    •  I have to be totally honest on this one. Sometimes our communication comes out in a loud volume or in a heated discussion but at least we are communicating. We make a conscious effort to try and let the other person know what's going on. Whether that is passing on important news, what we have done today, or taking the time to resolve an argument it's important and we try. We are NOT perfect and sometimes we fail miserably at communication but the important thing is that we try.
    • We say "I Love You"
    • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts Jimmy is way better at this one than I am. I am not always a very open or verbal person (stop laughing because you are thinking about how long my blogs are). I am quick to tell him back but sometimes I fail at initiating those three little words. So I really do have to try. I want to be the one that says them first sometimes. So when I fail at the verbal I love Yous. I try to find other ways to let him know how much I love and respect him. Too often we forget the difference these three little words can make. If you aren't doing it already, try to say I love you (verbally or through your own method) to your spouse everyday and see what a difference it can make.

    3 Things We Do to Be More Stable Financially:
    • Live by Our Budget
    • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness After three plus years of following the Dave Ramsey Method. We are getting pretty good at making a realistic budget. Are we as good at keeping it? Not always. It takes a lot of self-discipline and weeks like this one where we get a little off track can be difficult and frustrating because we know better. Still having a plan that we can go back to when we realize that we have gotten off track helps. If you need help learning how to make a realistic budget or learning how to make your budget actually work please visit the linked blogs for more information.
    • Yes, We Clip Coupons
    • Wow! You Saved How Much?: A Step-by-Step Money-Saving Guide This one takes a lot of time and effort but you can get really great results. Now I am not an extreme couponer like the ones they have TV shows about but I do make an effort to clip coupons for products that I know I need and for ones that I already use. I don't know about you, but there are a few products (like me girl stuff) that I am always going to buy my name brand for. It just makes me feel better. So why not save some money? There are a TON of great resources out there if you want to start saving some money with coupons. I suggest starting with Coupon Mom.
    • Every Little Bit Counts
    • This is one of the biggest money savers! It is simply keeping in mind that every little bit counts! When we started thinking this way we changed a few things. We started putting our change into a jar and when the jar was full we would take it to the bank and deposit it into a special savings account. We now have a small but growing savings account that we are saving specially for buying things when we have our first baby (whenever that is)! I also started designing and selling items on Zazzle and Etsy and it turns out that people really like my work. There have been many months that I have been able to put a little more money toward dumping our debt and paying off our credit cards because of making every little bit count. It also opened up a whole new dream and realm of possibility for me. I don't know that I would every be pursing graphic and web design now if I hadn't given this a try in order to make extra debt payments.

    Ok, I know that this post was really long! Thanks for hanging in there with me. I just had so much that I am thankful for and that I wanted to share with you. I hope that some of this has been helpful to you and encouraged you.

    Grace and Peace,

    Other Resources:


    1. This is an excellent blog!! Thanks for everything you do!! ♥

    2. Thanks to you both for reading and for the encouragement.

    3. I love reading your blog. I can't wait until I am married and then we can put into practice the things that you and Jimmy have learned over the years.

    4. Thank you for writing this blog. My husband and I have been married for just over a year and we are going through a really hard time right now. I think that we have already let go of the basic things that helped to make our relationship strong. Thanks for the reminder of what's important and for giving a few little pointers.

    5. Praying together as a couple is truly powerful. I've seen God work in my life more than once (in miraculous ways) because my husband prayed with me.

    6. Susan, I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing.

      Grace, I am glad to be able to share the things that God has laid on my heart. I am also blessed when He uses them to speak to other people. I will pray for you and your husband.

    7. The great thing about "little things" is that they do really add up! You and your husband have set some good patterns that will serve you well when add children to your family.

      Keep on pursuing those good little things that make for a great marriage,

    8. Julie, the little things do indeed add up. It's on the days that the little things get met that I feel the most loved and blessed. You can also pray for us because as much as we want to have children, I am beginning to doubt that we ever will. It just might not be God's will for us.