Monday, September 20, 2010

a fresh mindset

 i want to share something with you

something i'm a little iffy on whether i should or shouldn't
i don't want to be misunderstood
i don't want to come off the exact opposite of where my heart is

my prayer isn't that i'm heard as preachy & certainly not braggy
but i want to share how the lord has taken me to a new place
not only a place i never thought i'd be
but a place i didn't necessarily even want to be
a fresh mindset if you will

let me roll it out for you

i am terrible with money
i can't even utter the word budget without rolling my eyes
i'm an accountant's worst nightmare
i have poor impulse control

cocktail for financial disaster right?

for years i did just that
i bought , for the most part , whatever i liked
who cares if i didn't have a place for it
i'd find one

my home was a manic cluttered crowded space
the clutter & all the 'must have it now' items ruled my life
these things must
after their "place" is found
be dusted
and of course
dusted again

things everywhere
& the things are what started to make me nervous

i fell into the credit card trap
which snowballs in a heartbeat
 what's another 100bucks at tjmaxx when my balance is a few thousand

i know

thank the lord my hubby is NOT anything like me
in more ways than just financially :)

while credit card debt didn't bother me
i mean we all have it
its just part of life
it bothered him

about a year ago
we began to  make some changes
some choices, plans , decisions for not only our future
but the future of our children

i'm not going into details
what's my conviction surely doesn't need to be yours
what's a sacrifice & big deal for me
has no reason to be a biggie for you

but i realized i , just me, not him
i was teaching my girls
buy what you want
pay for it later
a terrible destructive mindset
the legacy of debt is really not what i want them to inherit
yet my lifestyle proved otherwise

several months ago
we became
for the first time in my adult life

except for our mortgage
we owe
no one

zero zip zilcho

i don't tell you that to give myself or dan any praise
the lord took a pathetic excuse poor spender
and helped me renew my mind
as much as i'd love to...i quit killing time at target and anthro
i don't carry a credit card with me
actually i memyselfandi do not even have a credit card

i try to only purchase something
that i know already where it will go
or if i even have room for it
if i wait to think
come back & its gone
honestly, that's just fine

dont' get me wrong
money burns a hole in my pocket
i can spend some cold hard cash in anthro or restoration hardware with the best of 'em
& what's a target run without dropping a hundred bucks anyway?

there have been times in my life
where debt
was the only way to survive
i've been a widow, jobless and broke
i understand

so please dont see me as a financial wizard
trust credit score & my sweet man will give you a resounding bwahaha on that one

but the freedom
at night of knowing
that my sweet man isn't stressed over a visa or pottery barn bill
is priceless
who knew?

i would love to showcase a home with hardwoods on the main
concrete countertops
& nickel hardware
tolix chairs around a weathered farm table
(red OR silver if you must know)

its a hard line for me to walk
that of contentment
sometimes a painful walk if i'm honest

i love nothing more
i mean
nothing more
than spending time in my home
its not my dream home
but its my home
& my desire
is to cultivate a grateful spirit
while enjoying what i have, being a good steward  & having white furniture
surely this can be done harmoniously , right?

& maybe oneday
my contented debtfree self
score a deal on 6 tolix chairs while at it....


Pine Tree Home said...

Way to GO! Debt free is such a relief. I think many of us are going back to basics and realizing that life is NOT about stuff. I know early on in my marriage, even right before I got married, I'd do a TJMAXX run and just buy stuff for the house I was going to ONE day have.

Over time more and more came into the house. And you know what 99% of that STUFF ended up at Good Will.

Don't get me wrong, my husband and I still have a lot of stuff, stuff that we are VERY THANKFUL for, but we too came to the point where we said let's go debt free. We are very fortunate not to have any credit card debt, but we have a hefty mortgage. I am pleased to say in 18 months, we've knock a very large chunk off and are on the road to being completely debt free.

Thank you for posting this. I think it's a good reminder that we should be enjoying moments with our family not out buying unnecessary stuff. I admire you for taking the time to change and teach your children from your challenges.

Anonymous said...

I long for that peace of mind...we are currently starting that journey, but with a really BIG load.I would love to know how you did it.Please take the time to post some details or email me.I know that debt isn't pleasing to the Lord and I want more than anything to be a pleasing aroma for my Savior.Thanks Paige, you rock.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to include my email address duuuhhhhh... it is


3 Peanuts said...

Oh Paige...In many ways...I could have written this..I spend sometimes without thinking.I am not a financially prudent person at all!! I too have had a HUGE change of heart (due to the Lord-luckily not mounting debt). Fortunately, my husband has always been like this so we too are debt free but I constantly have to remember that the THINGS of this life are not eternal. And that they take us away from God rather than draw us near. I still LOVE beautiful things and I know God wants us to enjoy them.

I think the most important part too is teaching our kids by example that they have to earn things and that we buy thing if we have the money for them. Dave will only buy our family a car if we can pay for it completely. Otherwise, we keep driving the old one. I hope our kids follow in his footsteps (rather than mine even thought I am getting better).

GOOD for you! This is a huge change of heart. From one shopper to another;)


A Thrifted Market said...

You go girl!! That is so awesome! We have been debt free for years after deciding we could not live worrying about bills. We took Dave Ramsey's plan and followed it and still use his principles today. It is so freeing knowing that you don't owe anyone and I applaud you and your hubby for taking the bull by the horns!

Susan said...

I'm reading this post and she talking about me?
I do not carry a credit card of any type, even gasoline and I simply just stay out of the mall. I pay cash for everything.
Doesn't it make you think more when you actually have to see the cash leaving your hand? Paying cash just puts things in a more realistic perspective. I try to avoid even using a debit card. I hate budgets and I have rarely seen a system that works, but we do the best we can.
I think the most important lesson to be learned is what we teach our children about good financial sense. We have been guilty of being poor examples in that department as well.
Best wishes to you my friend.

Between You and Me said...

Living debt free is FREEDOM!!

We got married and went straight to seminary...both of us were raised by parents who did money THE EXACT SAME...they not only didn't own a credit card...they didn't even know what a debit card was.

we both grew up in small BUT PAID FOR houses...and our families drove PAID FOR cars.

we both hated this lifestyle growing up..but now we GET IT....and we're trying our hardest (on a pastor's salary) to live very much like our parents raised us to live, financially.

Be ENCOURAGED. You are teaching your daughters' the greatest life lesson by teaching them to only buy what they can pay cash for.

Your children will rise up and call you blessed.

Between You and Me said...

did you do Dave Ramsey? He's the one (after our parents) who has greatly influenced our finances! :)

Anonymous said...

I really, really love your post! Would you consider sharing some tips on how you went from credit card debt to debt free? I'd sure like to get myself in that mindset as well:)

Jboo said...

Yay Paige! I'm afraid I have become a bit of a spender lately and really need to work on "thinking before spending." Thanks for the inspiration!


Renee said...

From one shopper to another... Congratulations!!! Sleep well. Enjoy life to the fullest. Know that, "Ya done good!". I hope to be there someday soon. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Wow Paige, you really struck a chord with me. I completely understand where you're coming from. Sometimes I'm surprised that even though I have free time to shop now that I actually prefer to stay home. I have a totally different view of shopping, buying, etc. I cringe at the thought of ever having to buy a new car.

Like you, there are few things I would love to do in my home (hardwoods, absolutely). Illness and the potential for it really changed my priorities as far as worldly possessions are concerned.

I enjoy my home and the ability to be able to be in it more now and am satisfied with the small things that I can do to "feather my nest".

I enjoy keeping up with your blog.


sugar said...

I just flat out love you Paige : )

Farmgirl Paints said...

I think it's great you shared a little about your finances. It's a good reminder to strive for that financial freedom. That's what God would want for us.

Kelli said...

Look at you guys...that's wonderful!! We need to make some fast and serious changes ourselves and your words have encouraged me :)

Tammy said...

Thanks for posting this Paige. After my divorce 15 years ago, I was in so much debt it was exhausting..I finally got out from under the credit card debt and haven't had a credit card since. I've never been good at budgeting...that continues to be a struggle. I've been out of work for the last 6 months, my daughter and grand-daughter live with me...every day it seems there is something new to overcome...but I keep my head up an do the best I can. I also have too much stuff and am working on clearing out the clutter!
I appreciate your post, it was a good reminder that I need to keep at it every day...
I enjoy your blog very always have a great message!
Tammy :-)

melissa said...

So proud of you, Paige!! I can completely relate to your post (although I could never write it all so elegantly!!). I too, have a big shopping problem and always have ... but I do have it under control, thanks to my husband who keeps me in line and is amazing with our finances, keeping us debt free. We are so very blessed with all we have and must be always mindful that all the 'unnecessary' stuff takes us away from God instead of drawing us nearer to Him.

Lori Lucas said...

I do not think the post was preachy. It was good to hear. Many times we come away from blog reading thinking, "I need that, I need that, I need that..."

We too are working hard at not buying except what we need to live on. I also prayed hard about this. I am so glad to hear someone else feels the same way.

I have many beautiful things in my home; but I hope my children take away not just that we always made our home "look" nice, but also that we practiced and showed them how to live a good, honest, frugal life.
Lori L

Rebecca said...

congrats, c and i are on the path right is so hard for me to forget immediate satisfaction or gratification with ''stuff'' and remember what lies ahead in the home, college tuition, savings and retirement, but it's getting easier and i am learning to appreciate what we already have and to stretch our dollars.

so glad for you and the peace that came with your journey...thanks for sharing...i find it very encouraging!


amazeingteacher said...

i love your post, paige! and i think so many of us can relate to your story! i am workiing through my debt right now and it is a hard journey. i've ALWAYS struggled with shopping for "stuff" and buying things i could not afford so i'd love to hear you expand on how you did it if you wan to share the details with us. people who have been there and gone through it really inspire me to keep on! especially when i can see that you are still able to have a beautiful home and dress your girls so cute! ha!!

deb said...

I completely understand. You and your hubby sound just like me and mine...totally! We are now debt free except for house too but the budget is tight. We want our 3 kids to know how to handle money God's way. So know that you are not alone in how you feel. And for me, even today, I can't 'window shop'...if I can't have it, I don't want to look at it and know I can't have it! :) But it is so totally freeing to not be under the creditor's hurts! Thank you for sharing....there are more of 'us' out there than you know!

Martha said...

this is very encouraging and so wonderful! definitely where we want to be and striving to get there now:)....great reminders and beautiful pictures!

Bringing Pretty Back said...

This was an amazing and wonderful honest post! You are an inspiration! My husband and I are building a new little home. I do NOT want a huge home. My hubby wanted a big home. I do not, so we are compromising . We are going to live in our little house and see where life takes us.
Debt free... what a wonderful place to be.
Have a pretty day.

elizabeth said...

thank you for sharing. my story is similar. thanks to dave ramsey, we are debt free also. i cannot express the peace of mind. the dave ramsey plan worked for us. he is awesome!

Clare said...

love your post!! living debt free is part of chris and i's plan for the future. that is main reason we moved out of our huge home into a smaller one. we spent so much money on fertility trying to get ellie, at times a few extra thousand dollars a month. we are working in the next few years to pay it all off. when we do we are taking a huge trip somewhere to celebrate!!

homebody0404 said...

Dear Paige,

Thank you for this post, I really love coming here and reading your "simple thought". I feel soothed much of the time. I appreciate u sharing this. I used to shop a lot too. Seeing my husband get stressed about the large credit card bill is not worth it. I love him too much to put him thru that. We almost bought a new car almost 2 weeks ago. We didn't need it. We have 3 - a 2005 sporty car, 98 accord, 2000 grand caravan. My van isn't cool but it works just fine & I love the space when we have to travel. We don't have car payments now & I started to feel that a new car was not needed so I voiced my opinion to my hubby who agreed to wait. It felt good and you know what? I feel so much gratitude for my uncool, paid for van with the stained floors! I am now in the process of decluttering & letting go of feels good!

Alecia said...

PRAISE THE LAMB!!! Lord willing, I'll be out of debt except for student loans in 16 months. I did the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University....I have been a stress ball for years with Credit Card has not been fun. I can't wait to be free of it all. I haven't used a credit card in years and it's will be even more so once it's all gone!!!

Thanks for being real with us...I appreciate your honesty and openness.

Blessings, My Debt Free Sister!!! :-)


Paige, I can't even begin to thank you enough for your post today! I feel like you were completly speaking to me! Just know that God is using you in such a mighty way! Especially today my friend!

Miss Gracie's House said...

You definitely should have...(shared your story) is encouragement to I have am starting to see the hold that *stuff* has on my heart...THANK YOU for sharing yours...again.

Kelly said...

You should be very proud of yourself...and I say congrats....and people need to hear more about really helps others to overcome their shortcoming with money. And its nice when you take cash in a store with a coupon too...never leave home without them...I even hand them out to others when I have no money to shop and hate to waste a good coupon...

Privet and Holly said...

DEAR Paige ~
You are so brave
to share your inner
self like this, which
is one of the many
reasons I admire you
so! And, you hit it
right on the head when
you talk about the lead
weight that debt can be.
I try to keep the Sheryl
Crow mantra in my head:
"It's not having what you
want; it's wanting what
you've got....."
Thank you for the reminder
and bless your heart.
xx Suzanne
PS: Thanks for your
sweet words about Kathleen!

Anonymous said...

What a great post Paige,
I commend you for putting it out there. I have never used a budget, but in saying this always made sure the bills were paid & food in the fridge BUT I am hideous at stopping spending when I know I shouldn't....this will have to change (read my latest blog post for why), for I'm not sure of what my future will be.
Thanks so much for sharing, you are a credit to yourself & your family!
S. x

Lora said...

Hi Paige, thank you so much for sharing your story. Last year, I lost my job. My husband took over the bills and put us on a budget. It has been really hard and alot of tears but it has taught us both alot on how to handle money.

I was out of work for 9 months but now have a new job and our goal is to be exactly where you are at now.

Thank you so much for sharing.


debt free in 22 years... said...

that is why i love you so much.
and debt free.
{till the girls hit college;-) }

Lissa said...

If I had a pair of pompoms I would cheer for you! Hip hip HOORAY!! I'm more like your husband and can't sleep with debt. It's like a horrible weight on my chest. Now that we've switched to cash I have to pray that God helps me not want so many things! ;)

Ellie said...

Great post Paige. You have me thinking about ways I can change. . .

When we move into our house we need a new loveseat and chairs for a sunroom - I'm wondering how you like your slipcovered ones from Ikea? Are they comfy?? Our closest Ikea is an hour or more away (Charlotte NC or Atlanta so I'm hoping to get some imput before I make the trip :)

sending hugs :)

Jodee Leader said...

Wow! Way to go! I am soooo proud of you! The hubs and I are starting the Dave Ramsey financial planning system after the first of the year. It could be interesting because I am very much a shopper too! No more Target runs 4 me!

Susanne said...

I know exactly how you feel Paige , I did the same thing and then 2 years ago I went through the worst time of my life , I lost my sweet mama and my 45 year old brother killed himself . I thought I'd never get thru it , and then material things no longer had any value to me , it was like a light was switched on for me . Now I am debt free and living in God's grace . It means I no longer can impulse shop in Apalachicola like I love to but , I can sleep at night ! God bless , Susanne

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, pure in spirit and encouraging too! Destiny

kimberly at mimicharmante said...

You just might be the coolest person I know. And girl, not only is your photography kickin' it - but you have the gift of writing. I do adore your posts~
(and no, I haven't forgotten you - I hope to get my act in gear tomorrow morning!!!)

edie said...

you are courageous and you have blessed me.
thank you~

Mrs. Sojourner said...

Thank you for sharing; I needed this reminder today. It is important to strive to be a good example to our kids in stewardship, to be content with what He has given, and alos where He has us in this season of our lives. Beautiful, heart-felt, transparent post.

Anonymous said...

amen. we are debt free other than mortgage, too. now it's time for the other hard part...letting go of what's here...the idea of i can use that later, etc. you've inspired me to clear and clear the way in my heart for contentment.

Debra said...

Thanks for sharing that! I know you must be sleeping better knowing that you owe no one - we are working on that one. My husband is more like you, I am more like your husband (don't get me wrong, I love to shop, too but don't do it too much and probably overthink alot of purchases). I think we marry our financial opposites to balance each other out. I once heard someone say that if you and your spouse are exactly the same financially, one of you is unnecessary! :)

I think what struck me the most about your post is when you said your decisions affect your children's future. Lately I have seen many college age kids out there struggling with low wage jobs and no promising future and I have been saying to my husband that I don't want our daughter to end up like that. And I know that has much to do with us being careful and saving for her education so she can start out her adult life as 'easy' as possible. Not that she shouldn't work hard but I don't want our poor decisions to make her road any rougher than it needs to be.

Thanks again!!!

jAne said...



Sharon Cohen said...

Wow! That could have been me writing that - but it took many more years than you have known for me to stop shopping. It is a wonderful place to be - in control. Who knew? You do - and you expressed it wonderfully. Great post - great addition to Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

Wonderful. I'm blessed to have grown up on a farm in the '80s (meaning: NO MONEY), and to have married a man who is the ultimate penny pincher. We have never had to go through what you have, but when I read stories like yours, it makes me appreciate all the more what I have been given.

tara said...

Thank you for your honesty paige, I just started this for myself a few months ago, I paid off my credit card, and i have one, but i haven't "turned" it on yet, ha! I want to start saving instead of wasting money on things that come and go...I have a car and my house and to me those are things that are ok to have payments on, i hope I can be where you are in a year with a big old savings account for my piece of mind, and the need to not shop when I am bored at lunch!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Yay for being debt free. I'm going through this transition myself...and it's hard!

ejs said...

You just posted "me", I could have wrote that post word for word. You are an amazing woman. Your blog is so inspiring, I can relate to every post you make, 100%. You have a beautiful family....thank you for sharing!

Bobbie said...

I could have written this too- Money is burning a hole in my pocket now. There are so many things to want!! My Husband helped me in this area. And sponsering a Compassion child helped me a great deal too.

Anonymous said...

Dont quite know how I cam across you blog but it is so beautiful. Your family is so CUTE...
Great lesson in a fresh mindset...

dawn said...

I was choosing between those linked up at emily's and I liked your name. Paige. It's really pretty. So I clicked and went on a financial journey with you through your post. I have felt many of those same things.

Way to go on debt free. It's gotta feel better than the dream home would.

Glad I stopped by today! What a great thing to celebrate!

Jen Kershner said...

Thanks for the reminder to be mindful of my spending. It seems to have gotten away from me lately.

Anonymous said...

Awesome:) So thoughtful to share with us...I need to organize a few things myself.
Thank You

Leslie said...

That is the best thing I have heard in a long time! I am so proud of you and would love to be in your position!! Such an accomplishment!! What is your secret???
I have scaled way back for years now and everything I buy has a purpose, too much other stuff that I NEED to buy for my family came first. Dan sounds like my Man, wise. Good for you darlin!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for deciding to go with your post. I have been there...could have be me writing that. Contentment is hard principle to grasp, but, when you do, with the grace of God, life is so much more enjoyable!

laylablue said...

thank you for this post. i needed it. i need it now, and for many tomorrows after today.

Gypsy Heart said...

Financial stuff almost gives me hives! I think you are extremely wise and brave ~ and thank you for sharing!