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I had a couple of verses that really meant a lot to me during January’s Sweet Blessings Scripture Writing Plan, which i’m continuing for February because I enjoy it so much.

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Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse came during a week I was having a rough time following my financial plan. I have explained in previous posts I felt like my savings “set me back” in my financial goals (I know it didn’t, but it just felt that way) but this verse made me realize that this job I’ve been in, that I feel like God lead me to, that God put me in a better financial situation, has finally given me hope. I have hope for a better financial situation, hope for being debt free, and hope for a future that I didn’t consider even a year ago.

 

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Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret–it leads only to evil.

This verse came during an exceptionally difficult week at work, when I felt like everything was going to fall apart. I’m still fighting that fear, but I’m also holding on to hope that God’s plan is bigger than my fears. I have it pinned up next to my bed, as well as taped up at work to remind me to “be the better person,” in my mother’s words.

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I purchased supplies to make what I knew were going to be wonderful earrings full of sand from a local beach. And when I say “full,” they could be filled easily with sand that falls in your shoe when you take a quick walk on the beach. They’re so dainty and light, I love them so! I’ve already been asked to make a pair for someone’s birthday and can’t wait to make some for gifts for a couple friends.

I love the meaning of carrying something local with you — it’s not just any sand, it’s from home.

I have some downloads that have really helped me get my finances together and so I thought I’d share them with you in hopes they’ll help you.

I created the Debt Pay Down page to keep track, and to keep myself motivated, to see the debt go down. Yes, it’s great to keep track of on a spreadsheet on the computer, but it’s nice to pull out my planner and see numbers while I’m fretting, and to look back and see the whole pay-down journey, rather than just what was paid down that month.

I hope the pages help you keep track of your finances and you find as much motivation in using them as I have.

Debt Pay Down Lined
Debt Pay Down – Lined

Debt Pay Down Shaded
Debt Pay Down – Shaded

Debt Pay Down Lilac
Debt Pay Down – Lilac

Debt Pay Down Pink and Green
Debt Pay Down – Pink & Green

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The first thing I did when I decided to start Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step One was The Thousand Dollar Jar. After I created it, I felt completely overwhelmed. How was I going to save that much? Easy–a little at a time. So I created The Hundred Dollar Jar.

And yet–that still didn’t cover everything. I was so motivated to keep going that I thought I could use it for other things as well. Maybe I want to use the jar to break down paying off my credit card into chunks, or save for a vacation, start a Christmas fund–there are so many possibilities! So I created these Custom Savings Jars.

Are you saving for a trip to Disneyland? A new car? Let me know!

Personal Custom Savings Jar
Personal Planner Savings Jar

 

A5 Custom Savings Jar
A5 Custom Savings Jar


Full Size Custom Savings Jar
Full Page Custom Savings Jar

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I’m in a great faith based group on Facebook where someone shared Sweet Blessings, where each month the blog shares a Scripture Writing Plan. It’s amazingly simple–copying verses into a notebook or journal each night before bed, soothing my soul with God’s word and bringing me peace before bed. It’s made more of a difference than I expected in my walk with God.

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I highly recommend adding it to your nightly routine–it’s more than just copying the Word.

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I have already set up my Christmas Journaling for 2017.

Wait–what? In..February?

No…actually, in January. I’m only posting this in January. Yikes.

Really, though! If you’re the kind of crafter I am (read: a little bit lazy), then you do it when the mood strikes.

I love Project Life (and hoard a lot of Project Life supplies, from the sleeves to the cards to random scrapbook ephemera) and purchased a tube of nifty Recollections Christmas washi tape at Micheals before Christmas, intending to do a 25-Days of Christmas journaling project with it on Project Life cards. I have done something similar the last couple of years and really enjoyed it but in 2016 the season just got away from me and it just…did not happen.

I happened to be at Target killing some time before meeting a friend for dinner and found some Christmas countdown stickers for $1 that were 70% off (it was well after January 1st after all!) and picked a couple of them up. I brought them home, tucked them next to the washi tape…and stared at them for a few days, intending to pack them up for the Christmas.

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But I was haunted by some thoughts. What if those stickers got crushed? They were rather thin, and I don’t normally pack my Christmas scrapbooking supplies away in the Christmas decorations. Would I remember what I wanted to do with them when I unpacked for the 2017 Christmas season? Would I even be able to find them? Then the thought started to niggle in the back of my mind…why don’t I just make the cards? I have the Project Life cards, I don’t need to buy anything else. Seriously, why not just make them?

After a week or so, that’s what I did. I often have decompression sessions where I sit on my bed after work and watch YouTube videos, except this time I busted out the stickers and washi tape. While I listened to a couple of interviews, something I would have done anyway, I made my count down cards and tucked them into the Project Life pockets.

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They were simple–just wanted I wanted–with room at the top to stamp or write the date and plenty of lined room to write whatever I decided the upcoming year (one year, it was something I’d done to get ready for Christmas, whether it was shopping or wrapping gifts, and another year it was answer Christmas related writing prompts my sister had tucked into an advent calendar).

I liked the simplicity so much, I made two sets. If someone wants to join me in a Christmas Journaling project for 2017, we’ll be all ready for it–sometimes, just having everything prepared is half the battle. If not, then maybe I’ll be ready for Christmas 2018, too. Either way, both sets are tucked into of of my Project Life albums and are sitting on a shelf, safe from being crumpled or crushed. They might be done a bit early, but sometimes a quick, simple project is all you need to stop your fingers itching to craft and still your troubled mind.

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The Jar is Filled
I am thrilled–through a blessing of some back pay, I was able to quickly fulfill baby step one!

My $1,000 emergency fund is established and I can move on to start chippin’ away at my next credit card again. It will be so good to see that start falling without going back up–like I mentioned in a previous post, it has no new charges being put on it (despite Dave Ramsey’s rules, I’m still not comfortable having charges like Netflix auto deducted from my bank account, but that’s another issue for another day!)

Now, I do have plans to put a bit more money in my savings account. I know I have my car insurance payment coming up in a couple of months I pay every 6 months, which is difficult to pay in one lump sum out of one paycheck, and it would help to have a bit saved to help myself cover the cost of that.

I am just thrilled to have made some sort of progress before the first month of January 2017 is over! I felt like I was kicking butt in 2017 and then everything came to a standstill, so I’m excited to see it start moving again, even if it’s going to start moving very slowly.

Slow progress is still progress–that’s why I call it chippin’ and not shovelin’!

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Goodbye, January! Hello, February!

Where has the month gone? So slow at times, and yet so quickly gone, we’re already rolling into the second month of 2017.

My challenge for the month of February is financial related. No, no, you didn’t miss a January challenge (although I have had sort of a writing challenge I haven’t blogged about, but I’ll make sure to get a blog about it in this month because I’m going to continue with it through February) but I HAVE decided to jump on the no-spend bandwagon. There is no specific group I’m joining, no specific challenge or group of women I’m doing it with, but I have voiced it aloud to my local support system (aka the lovely thelittlehouseoutback) and it is this:

February is No Spend Month!

I have stamped it all over my planner so it’s official! It’s a Crack Down. I have failed every one I have done so far so I am going to take a deep breath, take it week by week (and day by day if I need to) and just focus on the goal. There are bigger things ahead, I just have to keep my eye on the prize (which, ultimately, is being out of debt, and the more I do not spend the faster I will get there)!

Now, that being said, we do have a lovely “Good Job!” at the end(ish?) of this: at the end of March an out of town scrapbook store is hosting a scrapbook garage sale and we (my mother, sister and I) signed up to go shopping at that months ago. We went to it last year and went hog wild and let me tell you–hog wild still did not cost near as much as I thought it would, and it’s totally happening but I’ll be budgeting for hog wild this time. And the more I do not spend, the less I will feel guilty for going hog wild at the end of March (and the more I will have saved up for that because I have been looking forward to that since September).

So that is my big challenge to face in February: no spend month! EEK! I am so nervous about it, but I think I can do it because I feel more prepared than ever–I am so determined to see this debt go down, so determined to see a positive difference in my financial situation, and more than anything, I am so determined to keep feeling determined.

Like I have said before, facing that $1,000 Baby Step One has been a bit disappointing for me. It has made me feel like I reached a standstill because all of that could have been thrown onto Credit Card #3, and whoa, what a difference that would make! So I have to get back into my “Chip” mindset and just start doing my little bit at a time thing again when I can, and just keep pushing forward! Every little bit counts, every little bit moves me closer towards the goal of being debt free. It’s so daunting thinking of the whole overall picture, I need to go back towards thinking of just one or two steps at a time. I can’t think of the entire forest, I must look at just a couple of trees!

So my current goal is February No Spend so I can get back in the mindset of Chippin’ Away!

What are your February Goals? Are you planning on filling any Jars?

Last week I shared some Thousand Dollar Jars to help with Baby Step one (or any other goals you might have!). I don’t want to discourage you–sometimes that goal is just too big to reach and you need to start smaller, or you want to teach your kids to save and need a more realistic goal for them to reach.

To help with that, here are Hundred Dollar Jars. Use them to build up your savings in small increments or teach your kids to reach savings goals!

Hundred Dollar Jar PersonalPersonal Size Hundred Dollar Jar

Hundred Dollar Jar A5A5 Hundred Dollar Jar

Hundred Dollar Jar FullFull Size Hundred Dollar Jar

Chippin Away

My financial journey to freedom is going to take a while. Not as long as some, but a lot longer than it should. It’s been a struggle for a while, and a paycheck-to-paycheck struggle probably for 2 years now.

This new job brings a lot of financial hope, especially if I can get my financial habits straightened up, and especially now that the initial 6 months have passed. There were a few-expensive!-things that had to happen, financially, when I was first hired that could not be avoided, from paying for COBRA to the “damage control” of paying off other credit cards, among other (sometimes irresponsible) things, and then towards the fall I was suddenly feeling ready to attack with gusto.

Except…I couldn’t. Some of those aforementioned expenses caused roadblocks… You can’t exactly skip paying the car insurance when you need a car to get to work. So I developed a system that worked for me.

When I was first preparing for the journey to financial freedom, before I was ready to speak the words aloud, I would journal about it. And one thing I would consistently do would journal about “Chipping Away” at my debt, an image of Chip from Beauty and the Beast grinning at me in my head. It’s a great image to have, really. He’s a happy little teacup, a little grin on his face, encouraging you to keep on going!

I used to sell planner pages on Etsy and when I did, I would occasionally get small amounts of money deposited into my bank account if someone used Etsy Checkout. When that happened I would turn around and take that couple of dollars and apply it as an extra payment towards my credit card that had a balance but I wasn’t using (I have another card automatic payments go on, such as my trainer, mail order prescriptions, etc.). I would “Chip Away” at my debt. It didn’t matter how little it was, what mattered was the card total was going down.

So I decided that Chip is going to my little mascot during this journey. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me, it doesn’t matter how rough it’s going to be. As long as I keep chippin’ away at it, I’m going to consider it progress! I just kind of use the mantra “Keep Chippin’ Away!” A little bit adds up over the long haul and I’m going to rely on that little bit to help propel me forward during the difficult times when I feel like the momentum has to stall temporarily. So I can’t put a bit chunk down on my debt? Here’s $25. Here’s $10. Here’s something to keep it going, to keep the amount going down and to keep chippin’ away!

What do you tell yourself to keep going?

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