Monthly Archives: June 2011

How To Get Debt Free

Dear Readers,

     Over the years friends and relatives have asked me how I managed to get debt free.  I came across a journal entry I wrote back in August of 2005.  All credit goes to God, not me.  Some of it might be outdated, but some of it might be timely as well.  I noticed a similar article on the internet last Monday.  Mine is from a Christian point of view:

     August 14, 2005- Journal Entry

     Many people have asked my hubby and I, "How did you manage to get debt free?"

     Since this is such a timely message, I guess the Lord wants me to write it down and tell it to others and hope they pass it on.  So here it is:

     First and foremost we never could have done it without God’s help.  So the most important thing to do is:

     *1.  Tithe a portion of your income!  The bible says 10%, but many people can afford more, and many can only afford less.  I say just pray about how much to give, and where to give it, always remembering, "You can’t out give God." (Luke 6:38 says, "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." NIV)

     *2.  Pray about each debt!  Start eliminating them one by one.  Every time you get a tax refund, an unexpected money gift, some overtime, a winning lottery ticket, an inheritance, whatever, don’t run out and spend it.  This means doing without for awhile, but when you are caught up, you can buy more toys and pay cash for them.

     *3.  Conserve!  Don’t purchase any item you don’t need.  Shut off extra lights.  Turn the heat down a little and put on a sweater.  Combine trips for errands.  Cut back on expensive foods for awhile.  Don’t buy clothes or extras if you don’t need them.  Take shorter showers.  Wash laundry in cold water.  Use leftovers for a meal.  Put the AC on only when absolutely necessary.  Fix the car, don’t buy a new one!  Use grocery stores, gas stations, churches, and hairdressers that are close by, to save time and gas.  Combine appointments into one trip.  I always look at my calendar before I take any appointment, to see what I have already set for that day.  Car pool or use public transportation if it is available to you.

     Buy foods on sale and don’t buy unless you need the item.  Don’t waste food.  Go to free leisure events.  Concerts on the common are fun!  Buy store brands instead of name brands.  Filter your water instead of buying it filtered.  Barter!  (I’ll fix your muffler if you’ll repair my deck!)

     Here is a tough one!  Wait a year or two before buying every new item sold.  Settle for second best.  Stop charging everything and use cash.  Put yourself on a budget and stay on it.  Go to the library before you buy a book.  Rent a movie before going to the theater.  Always buy on sale if possible.  Wheel and deal on prices.  Even many retail stores will take less.  A lot of people don’t know that.  Return unused items.  Swap with other people!  (Your home grown tomatoes, for their old DVD movies, and so on.)

     This one is important!  Pay extra on your mortgage!  An extra $100 goes right on the principal, no interest taken out.  I did this several times with tax refunds and gifts.  Then I called the bank and for a small fee they  reluctantly reduced my payment.  Then I took the extra payment money and added it to the mortgage payment each month.

     Be content with what you have!  Move some of your savings over, to pay off a credit card.  Then make the credit card payment to your savings account.  Cut up all but one credit card for emergencies.  Eat at home more, and fix affordable meals.  Go on a diet!  Learn to be a repairperson!  Carry a coffee from home.  Live within your means and don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s.  Have a family night once a week of games, cards, chess, whatever.

     Have a yard sale and put all the money earned from it to paying off a bill.  Purchase gasoline only on discount days.  Some areas don’t have this luxury but others do.

     Another tough one, cut back on holiday purchases.  Do homemade gifts of love one year.  Get healthy and stop smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, and put that money towards bills.

     Take advantage of free anything.  Free internet, free car shows, free concerts, free senior centers, free libraries, free coupons, two for one dining cards, buy one get two free items, etc.

     Do preventative maintenance on your vehicles.  Shut things off.  Don’t leave the AC, TV, computer, or lights running for no reason.  Recycle!  Use water saver devices.  Take fast showers.  Don’t run the dishwasher, dryer, or washing machine, until they are full.  Fans, radios, curling irons, ovens, coffee pots, flat irons, all cost money to leave on.  Turn the heat down at night.  Got it!!!!!

     WOW!  Hope you all caught your breath on that one!

     *4.  Be patient!  Becoming debt free takes time and the trend today is speed and multitasking.  Patience and humility are the qualities necessary to get debt free.  All of us would like to hit the lottery, but it’s not going to happen!  The only way to get "DEBT FREE" is to pay off debts one at a time and not purchase any unnecessary item until you have the cash in your hands.  Recently my daughter said to me, "How can you stand this old computer and this slow internet, mom!"

     "It’s free!" I replied, "And, I’m in no hurry.  I’m just glad to be on line!"

                         —————————

     Of course, this journal entry was written almost six years ago, so things have changed a bit.  But you all get the idea, right?

                                                        Love in Christ,     Claire     xoxo

     2Kings 4:7  "She went and told the man of God and he said, "Go sell the oil (valuable item back then) and pay your debts.  You and your sons can live on what is left."  NIV

     Romans 13:8  "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt of love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." NIV

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How To Get Debt Free

Dear Readers,

     Over the years friends and relatives have asked me how I managed to get debt free.  I came across a journal entry I wrote back in August of 2005.  All credit goes to God, not me.  Some of it might be outdated, but some of it might be timely as well.  I noticed a similar article on the internet last Monday.  Mine is from a Christian point of view:

     August 14, 2005- Journal Entry

     Many people have asked my hubby and I, "How did you manage to get debt free?"

     Since this is such a timely message, I guess the Lord wants me to write it down and tell it to others and hope they pass it on.  So here it is:

     First and foremost we never could have done it without God’s help.  So the most important thing to do is:

     *1.  Tithe a portion of your income!  The bible says 10%, but many people can afford more, and many can only afford less.  I say just pray about how much to give, and where to give it, always remembering, "You can’t out give God." (Luke 6:38 says, "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure

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Forgiveness

Dear Readers,

     This is a tough topic amongst proud Americans.  But, it’s the subject the Lord has laid on my heart this week to write about.  A little over a  year ago I experienced a rejection that hurt deeply.  Here is that story:

     Some journal entries from April 2010-2011

     Recently I had to make an important choice.  Most of you know I do volunteer work at our local hospital.  I really love my little job going from patient to patient, giving out magazines and sundries and getting to talk about Jesus to whomever asks and wants to listen.  Sometimes I even read my stories to the patients if they can’t read, or forgot to bring their glasses to the hospital.

    

     Well, we live in a small town in the "Buckle of the Bible belt."  About 15 months ago hubby and I decided to change churches.  I immediately wondered how this would affect my job, as many of the other volunteers and employees at the hospital are people from our old church.  But, I didn’t want to give up what I loved so much.

     Just as I suspected, after changing worship centers, my first day at work was very difficult.  Many people turned their backs on me or looked down at the floor when we crossed paths.  It hurt me deeply, to have so many angry coworkers, when I still loved them, but we did make an unpopular choice to move on.

     For the first few weeks it was extremely difficult to go to work and not just quit and run away, but I didn’t want to give it up.  So, I just ignored the anger.  I spoke politely to the people I passed, and especially to the ones who returned my morning greetings.  I gravitated to the ones who forgave me, and tried to ignore the rest.

     Then I decided, "Wait a minute, their anger is their problem, not mine!  It is between them and God.  My job is just to keep on loving them no matter what."

     I made a decision to smother my volunteer friends with love and not just ignore them.  That was difficult with all the gossip going around, but I did it with a sincere heart.  I smiled and said hello to everyone.  If they turned away, I went "Oh well!" and moved on.  Then I started doing favors for everyone, fetching coffee and ice water, getting keys and money bags, delivering mail and newspapers, etc. (all not in my job description.)  Sure enough, one by one, they started coming around.

     It took courage for me to do that, as I am a very sensitive person by nature, but I prayed a lot about it and God continually told me the same thing, "Their anger is their problem, not mine!"

     Over a year has passed since this all began and everything is pretty much back to normal again.  I should mention one thing that helped me a great deal to get through this.  The Lord was gracious to me and sent me "One sweet caring adorable lady" who never was rude to me.  I leaned on her love and kidded and teased her often.  I sucked up that love and acceptance and it gave me strength to get through those early days.  I still thank God for showing me so clearly that other people’s lingering anger is between them and God.  My job is to love and forgive!

                       Love in Christ,      Claire     xoxo

Luke 6:37……"Forgive, and you will be forgiven."  NIV

Colossians 3:13  "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  NIV

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Karen’s Letter

Dear Readers,

     In my walking prayers today the Lord told me to blog one particular letter story from the past.  Specifically, "Karen’s Letter" which I wrote years ago to a coworker who had recently lost her teenage son to a motorcycle accident.  I searched my journals going back many years with no success, so I will do my best to recall it.  It took place in the late 1990’s:

                            ——————-

Journal Entry from memory:

     The Lord keeps inpressing on me to write a letter to Karen about a vision I had of her son, but I’m embarrassed to do so.  If I don’t do as I am told and open up about some of these messages, God won’t continue to feed them to me.  In my heart I believe the Lord gives me these manifestations to share, but it takes courage sometimes, and the devil likes to convince me that I will look foolish if I tell people the visions I see, especially with my coworkers.  Well, I finally got up my courage and wrote to her, even though I see her almost every day at work.  The letter went something like this:

"Dear Karen,

     I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your precious son.  Accidental deaths are horrible shocking things that rob us of our loved ones.  But, I have to share something with you.  Please don’t think I am crazy.

     I had a vision of your teenage son the other night.  He was standing over his bike, with one leg over each side, straddling it, standing very tall and proud and strong and he had his helmet on, and a big smile on his face.  He was standing in the clouds with his hands on the handlebars of the motorcycle.  He looked happy and joyous and quite handsome. 

     It was a wonderful sight, seeing him like that, standing over his bike smiling.  I believe he is with our heavenly Father and content where he is.  Please forgive me if this makes you cry.  I don’t want to hurt you.  But, the vision was so special, I just had to share it with you.  You are in my prayers daily.   Love in Christ,   Claire"

     A few days later Karen approached me with a shocked look on her face.  Blinking through bloodshot eyes she asked me a question, "Claire, how did you know?  I never told you!"

     "Told me what?" I asked her.

     "Told you my son loved to stand in that position over his bike!  It was his favorite!  And how did you know my son was so tall?  You never met him!  You never saw a picture of him!  How did you know those things about him?  Who told you?"  The traumatic look on her face said it all.

     "I guess the Lord did, Karen!  He gave me the vision and then hounded me until I finally wrote you about it.  I think He wanted you to have peace about your teenager."  Tears now released and poured down her face.  She was so moved with emotion that she had to leave work and go home.

     A couple weeks later she told me how very much that note meant to her and what comfort she received from reading it over and over and over again.  I realized if I hadn’t shared that letter with her, she might never have been comforted about her son’s death.

     Here I was worrying about embarrassing myself, and she was elated to receive this sign from heaven about her son.  Funny how God works!  We never know how much we touch others until we reach out and do what the Father tells us. 

     Thank you all for reading my blog.                     Love in Christ,      Claire    xoxo

1 Samuel 15:22  "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."

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Colorado or Bust part 2

Dear Readers,

     Here is part two of Colorado or Bust 1977-1978:   

    

     I prayed daily with the family and patiently looked forward to our future, but I knew it took money and we didn’t have one red cent left.  So we waited.

     Time passed.  It was difficult knowing jobs existed for our family in another state but we had no way to get to them.  We figured and figured, but the cost of renting a truck, fuel, meals for five on a 2000+ mile trip, sleeping accomodations, a tow trailer, rental start up money, etc. all seemed so far out of reach.  We concluded that we would need at least $2,200 to make the trip to Colorado Springs.

     Months passed and we all got discouraged.  Finally we just made a decision to go!  We set a date to leave and trusted the Lord to provide the money by our leaving day.  Plans were made to rent a truck, pack our belongings, and leave the house with a realtor.  We would head west and find a rental house in Colorado Springs upon arrival.  I thought this was the gutsiest move we ever made in trusting the Lord.  But, I’ve since learned that missionaries do this kind of decision making every day, and have to depend on Him unconditionally.

     Memorial Day weekend was set as our leaving time.  We tentatively rented a 24′ Uhaul, sold our riding lawn tractor, and used the money for a deposit on the truck.  As we packed and weeded out daily, people started coming to our house to say good bye.  I honestly didn’t believe we were leaving, but I kept packing and trusting in the Lord anyway.  Loneliness set in as I realized we were walking away from the home we lived in for ten years, through the birth of two of our children, and so many other memories.  I became emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained.

     But then the miracle began!  Financial gifts started pouring in from every direction.  Family donations, friends and church donations, anonymous donations, unexpected cash from yard sale junk we had, and on and on and on.  So much so that the day we scheduled to drive away we had a total of $2,400 cash in our hands, praise God! (I actually wrote a whole book on this trip alone.)

     We arrived in Colorado Springs, Co. with about $300 cash left, parked the truck at a campground, and immediately started looking at empty rental houses.  Finally, at 11P.M. of the second day of searching, we saw a house with the electricity turned off, and only a flashlight to see it by, and we rented it, just like that!  The owner took only a $50 security deposit, and $225, one month’s rent.  We unpacked a little and went to bed.  When the sun came up the next morning, we discovered the elementary school was directly in back of our house, so our kids could just jump the fenced in yard and be right in the school yard.

     My hubby chose and started his new job the following Monday morning and shortly after that I started a licensed daycare in my home for extra income.  God saw to it that our family had a great start.

     And so began our lives in a new state, a new home, a new school, a new job, and a new daycare business.  Humbly I thanked the Lord for the financial means to have a whole new beginning.

                              Love in Christ,        Claire     xoxo

    

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Colorado or Bust

Dear Readers,

     Time to go back to my stories and show you how well the Lord provided for us at an extremely difficult time.  The year I journaled this was 1977-1978.  Our meager appliance business went sour and my husband was now out of work.

           ————————–

     The local small town newspaper did a story when we closed our doors, and my hubby gave testimony to believing that the Lord would provide.  It was a nice story, but I was scared.  We were mortgaged to the hilt with no savings left, and three young children to feed.

     I was raised in a comfortably wealthy home, so this was the first real monetary test since I got saved, of totally trusting in the Lord.  Total financial dependence on God, how frightening!  Welfare, food stamps, and any aid we could get over the next several months taught me about real humility.

     One day I was changing our infant daughter on her dressing table, and there was a knock on the front door.  A deacon from our church came to visit, so I thought!  He was gracious and made some small talk, but then when he got up to leave he gave us an envelope.  A gift from the church he said.  Proudly I replied, "Oh, no thank you, we don’t need that.  Give it to someone who really needs it!"  But he insisted and my husband shook his hand and took the gift.  I was still fighting with my pride and didn’t realize how much of a grip satan had on that part of my life.  Teary-eyed, I humbly thanked him before he left and thought to myself how much more courage it took to receive, than to give.  For the first time in our Christian walk we began to tithe.

     That was a lesson I will never forget.  I started to see myself differently.  "Me, on welfare and food stamps!" I thought, "How could that happen?  I was raised in a big new house, with parents who owned a Package Store and drove a Cadillac.  This couldn’t happen to me, could it?"  I learned the difference between false humility and true humility.  Pride is a sneaky sin.  You have no idea it is there until you are challenged to face it.

     And so we struggled through the next year, taking second-hand clothing for the kids, accepting bags of food from family members, crying humiliating tears outside of places that cancelled our insurances, and pulling food stamps out to pay for groceries, as people in line behind us stared and whispered.  Oh yes, I learned full well how to swallow my pride.   Jesus taught me to totally depend on Him one day at a time because each day had enough of it’s own problems.

     But, the big financial test was yet to come.  My hubby decided maybe relocation was necessary to get himself a decent job.  There was little in our area, and he was approaching a year with no success at finding anything permanent.  We began to pray about leaving and God laid it on my mate’s heart to consider relocating to Colorado.  We shared that with a few friends at church and before we knew it, a family nearby offered us the use of their VW camper bus if we wanted to take a trip out and see if it was God’s will.  A couple other families offered to keep the children for us while we were away, and financial support for our trip came pouring in.  In no time at all we were on the road driving to Colorado with zero ideas on where we would go.

     This trip was a complete trust in God to show us the way.  We drove 2200 miles, sleeping and eating as little as possible and each city we went to, my husband applied for work in his field.  First Denver, than up to Aspen, Vail, and Carbondale in the mountains.  Then down to Pueblo where we heard they were hiring people, praying the whole trip for guidance from our Lord and Savior. 

     Finally as we approached the last leg of our trip, Colorado Springs, we both felt it!  The Holy Spirit spoke to us at the same time.  Driving down Interstate 25 into the Springs, we knew this was the place!  In our bodies we sensed it, like a lightning bolt hitting our hearts.  This was definitely where God wanted us.

     Running out of time and money, we grabbed an old telephone book from a phone booth (that’s what you did back in the 70’s), made a few calls, visited a few companys with potential, and headed home as quickly as possible with the hope of one application coming through for us.

     A couple months and three job offers later, our prayers now changed to asking the Lord to provide a way for us to make this incredible move.  With work waiting to be filled, we only needed  the means to get there.  At least now, I had learned the humility that God laid on me, and started to depend on Him for all our financial needs.

                                                     Part 2 – next Wednesday

Love in Christ,       Claire    xoxo

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