Take a Financial Snapshot and Dream a Debt-Free Dream

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A few weeks ago I started recounting our Get Out of Debt Story. Over the last two years FishPapa and I paid off about $18,000 in debt. Today our only liability is a rental property we own in Kansas City. We have no other debts.

And it feels good.

I don’t share our story to boast. We didn’t do it apart from God’s grace. Rather, I tell our tale so that if you find yourself in high water, you will feel encouraged and know that there is a way out. I remember a little over a year ago picnicking with my friend Crystal and our kids. I was so discouraged, ready to cry as I looked at her across the picnic table. It seemed so overwhelming, like we would never see the end of our debt.

Dream a Big Dream
One of her suggestions was to dream a big dream. She said, Set a wild and crazy goal of how much money you can pay off this month and then go for it. It will be so exciting to see it come to fruition. That advice has come back to me over the months again and again.

So, if you find yourself up to your neck in debts, it’s time to do just that: dream a big dream. Dream of not having those debts! And then, put feet to that dream: Ditch the credit cards. Start listening to my good buddy Dave.

And Take a Financial Snapshot.
You need to know where you are in order to get where you’re going. Write down all your assets and all your debts. We used a spiral bound notebook to keep track of our progress. Yes, it’s as low tech as you can get. But, we still have the notebook, and it’s a tangible way for us to look at where we were back in 2007. It’s full of kids’ scribbles as well. In more ways than one, it is physical evidence of the road we’ve walked these past few years.

And it feels good.

So, grab a notebook. (They’re cheap these days!) Or open a file in your computer or phone. List all your debts. If you’ve got assets, write those down, too.

It may seem really depressing to see all that in black and white — or red, as the case may be. But, reality has a tendency to motivate us. If we come face to face with it, we realize that if we don’t fight our debt, it will kill us. So, take an honest look at where you stand, and get stirred up to dream a big dream and to fight for it. If you’re not motivated, you have small chance of winning. Pray and ask God for determination and guidance

While it may not be the most obvious way of saving money, a reality check is an important step of the process.

Part Four: Get a Budget Going

How are you saving money these days? Share your ideas with us. In the interest of exchanging good ideas, please do not post affiliate links, giveaways or deal posts. Instead tell us what you do to stretch your dollars a little farther. Share concepts and ideas that have helped you grow in saving money and being a better steward of your resources.

Write about your money saving tip on your blog and bring the permalink to that post here. Please make sure that you link to www.LifeasMOM.com in your post.

If you don’t have a blog, tell us your bright idea in the comments. Can’t wait to learn some new tricks!

1. Good (& Cheap) Eats – fresh herbs
2. Amy-Cutting Coupons in KC (Frugal Friday Humor)
3. Amy @ Finer Things (Oops Paint)
4. Lynn’s Kit Adv (easy challah bread)
5. Smockity Frocks(Make the Kiddies Pay)
6. Corrie @ “Cents”able Momma (Tips for Saving for Retirement)
7. ElizabethG (Adding Up the Grocery Savings)
8. The Diaper Diaries (frugal travel)
9. A Busy Mom of Two (frugal birthdays)
10. Christian Frugal Mama (Frugal Comfort Food)
11. Cents to Get Debt Free (Buying in Bulk)
12. The Happy Housewife ~ Save Energy/ Save Money
13. Tara @ Feels like Home (frugal photo props)
14. pennypinchinmomma(feeling frugal)
15. Saving and Giving (Getting Organized for Christmas Gift-Giving)
16. Sandra @ A Lot of Savings (Cheap Art for Kids)
17. Lenetta @ Nettacow (Homemade Gift – Decoupaged Bangle Bracelets)
18. Kristen (home canned salsa)
19. Free 2 Be Frugal (Making the Switch)
20. Learning the Frugal Life~No Spend Month
21. Kate @ Stolen Moments (meatloaf pie)
22. A Simple Walk (time frugality)
23. Screaming Pennies (Save Money When Shopping Online!)
24. Saving Cents with Sense (Save on Family Vacations)
25. Pamm @ Leftovers On Purpose (Easy Sausage & Cheese Balls)
26. Frugal wahm (jobs for the stay at home mom )
27. Tracey @ Girls to Grow (Coupon Editing)
28. Debbie J. (Frugal Blessings)
29. Inside The White Picket Fence (Frugal Fair Food)
30. Coupon Saving Game (Save A Bundle on Ink!)
31. Simple Bliss (Frugal, Natural, Homemade Facial Care)
32. Kitchen Stewardship (Natural Homemade Deodorant)
33. Susan @ Practicing Thrift (FREE food links)
34. Frugal Creativity (Coupon with Caution)
35. Jennifer (produce auctions)
36. HoosierHomemade(Meal Planning-Wk.2)
37. jodi@ one blessed mama (Metro parks)
38. TrentTribe (Spa Pedicure@home)
39. Jill @ MoneySavinDiva (Ways to Save…Birthday Style!)
40. UnfinishedMom (Making Yogurt)
41. Anne (Pumpkin Spice Latte without the ‘Bucks)
42. What’s Cooking (re-usable dryer sheet)
43. Jane at Alltogetherbeautiful-Make your Own Planner, Easy!!
44. Kendra (newspaper subscription)
45. Janel (DIY Desk Calendar)
46. Rachael @ Beans & Rice (home renovation on the cheap)
47. Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Skillet Shrimp and Rice)
48. Jennie @ A Welcoming Heart (Summer Morn’ Tablescape)
49. Sunnymama (junk models)
50. Emily @ Live Renewed (Homemade Fruit Snack Bars)
51. The Prudent Homemaker (Great deals at Sam’s Club)
52. Trixie @ FarmHomeLife (How we do Homemade Pizza)
53. Not the Jet Set… Backyard Chicken Coop
54. Michele (Don’t Be Reactive)
55. missys thrifty (update on 2009 goals)
56. Footprints in the Butter (Splurge!)
57. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove (Thrifty = Toys for Tots)
58. Creative2xmom (Homemade Spaghetti Sauce)
59. Nancy (RagingBearRanch.com)

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  1. We also use an ol' spiral bound notebook. I must also say, that seeing everything on paper, in black and white, as well as setting crazy goals is what has helped us get as far as we have in our debt journey. We are finally feeling as if we are being good stewards of God's money—and we continually see blessings because of it!

  2. Great job ditching the debt! Reading TMM was a huge turning point in our lives. We have now been debt free for almost 2 years and I still want to shout it from the rooftops. God was so good to bring friends into our life that told us about Dave. Who knows where we would be now if it wasn't for his impact on our lives.

  3. One of ways my parents saved money for us kids was my dad saved all his pennies, yes pennies. He started this when my brother and I were little, (we are 9 months apart, I'm adopted) then when we turned 16 and could drive he gave us his pennies. With the deal that this was our gas money,all we had to do was roll it and take it to the bank. Even with 2 teenage drivers this lasted us both about 2 years. Neither of us had to buy gas for our cars until we were about 18. I know it sounds crazy, but my dad is a bank president and he says every penny counts. And I so believe him 🙂

  4. We are at about 95% debt free! It is such a great feeling to get to this point. I can't wait to be able to saw we are 100% debt free! The only way we were able to really buckle down and deal with our debt was to "own our debt". I know that sounds weird but, we had to face all the debt, acknowledge it, write it down and constantly be aware of where our money was going. It gets easier as the numbers start to go down. At least it did for my husband and I. You suddenly get caught up in it and you find yourself saying things like, "How about we stay home for dinner and add an extra $25.00 to this or that credit card?".

  5. Congratulations on getting out of debt. Coming to grips with your reality (expenses/debt vs. income) is the most important step in the right direction! I use an alternative to the low-tech notebook; it's a new site called DebtSpark (http://www.debtspark.com) that's simpler than a spread sheet that allows you to input your basic info for the financial snapshot.
    It graphs and tracks changes over time, too. Super easy to use and free.