Thursday, October 9, 2008

Economic Slumming

With the economy in the slumps, I've been giving thought to how we can tighten our belts. We are, and have been, a one income family since Zane was born nine years ago.

Before Zane was conceived, Phil and I owned our own semi, drove together, made a butt-load of money and spent it freely. We bought a little square of land and a trailer in Missouri, I came off the road and Phil kept driving. Shortly after Zane was born, though, was the first time diesel prices shot through the roof. Phil was gone twenty-nine out of every thirty days. I was alone, with no family and one friend (Jill) and a new baby.

There is a two week period I remember. I had enough gas in my vehicle to get to the emergency room and back. I stayed home for two weeks straight. Right now I wouldn't mind leaving me house for two weeks, but back then, I was a little more of an extrovert.

And thank God I was breastfeeding because I never would have been able to afford formula.

It cost upwards of $800 a day to keep the semi rolling and paychecks coming in. Then our trailer broke down for a week and we found ourselves $12,000 in the red. Then it snowballed. We ended up filing bankruptcy on the business. I didn't want to raise Zane without Phil and I couldn't handle the financial stress.

Zane doesn't remember those days. Since then, things have been a hair above failing. We still live paycheck to paycheck and a couple of years ago, Phil took a job we thought would better our future, instead it almost cost us our home. Instead of filing bankruptcy again, we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and changed our lives. (There are online courses now!)

Dave Ramsey had a sale sometime last year and I bought Financial Peace Jr. and I got it out, but we really haven't spent a lot of time with it.

It's time.

Along with lessons like:

  • You don't get to spend $10 every time we go to the store.
  • You don't get a Happy Meal every time we leave the house.
  • You need to learn to play with the hundreds of toys you already have.
  • Use your imagination and make mud pies and dirt trails and forts.
What are you doing to teach your kids about financial matters?

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Amber (Bringing Good Home) said...

Awesome - good for you for pulling out that book. I can relate to being that financially strapped - it ain't easy! Well, the part where it was tight when you were pregnant. We've never filed for bankruptcy. But we have had to live on ramen noodles and rice and beans and stay home because there was no gas. It's not fun.

~michelle pendergrass said...

I would have rather not filed bankruptcy, but do you know much a semi truck and trailer payment is? There was absolutely no other way than to dissolve our business.

But, ya live and learn. I think the only way I made it through those days was some friends I met online at a parenting message board. (Some of them are still my friends, *Waves at Alexis!*) That was before blogs. LOL

Monica @ Paper Bridges said...

great post! I'm trying to teach those same things to my crew. Right now most of it's conversational, but I know we have a book here somewhere about finances we can use. My hubs is a huge fan of Rich Dan, Poor Dad; I know we'll get into that too.

AmyDe said...

This is precisely the era we are entering with our children (8 & 6). I refrain from using the words "can't afford" because if we wanted to we could. I instead use the phrases "we're choosing, tithe, eat out, eat organic, etc." I also try and encourage the children to spend their own money on the constant "I want" list - tends to squelch it right away.