Thursday, July 29, 2010

Planning for our future

Just Married!
Now that Jarrod and I have been married for a year we are starting to plan for our future. We want to have children, a home of our own, retire with dignity, and we want to help others. So that we can do that, we need to become debt free. Because of our pricey private school educations, we have quite a large hole to dig out of. Thankfully we have a plan and I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been paying off thousands of dollars of debt over the past several years and now that Jarrod is on board, we're on our way.
If we pay only the minimums on these loans, it will take us over 13 years and we will pay over $45,000 in interest!
Our plan includes living very frugally on a strict budget for the next several years. Living on such a tight budget is not fun. There are times when we want to go out to eat, buy fancy food to cook, or travel. We'll be completely debt free in 3 years if we just stick to the budget and delay some of the things we WANT. Then we will begin saving for our 3-6 month emergency fund. Our emergency fund will be for true emergencies - health problems, unplanned catastrophes, and will help make sure that financial emergencies do not cause unnecessary stress.
Money is the number one cause of divorce. Being on the same page, having a plan, and maintaining an emergency fund will help Jarrod and I live happily for decades and fight against a culture of divorce. 
Our first anniversary dinner.
Once the emergency fund is in place, Jarrod and I can begin saving for a home! A 20% down payment will likely take us 6+ months to save. Once we buy a home, we will begin saving for retirement in good mutual funds with great interest rates. Our retirement account will hit $1 million in 2037 - when Jarrod and I are 55 years old. By the time we are 60+ our retirement account will be worth more than $3.5 million. And that's if we just save 15% of our income for 30 years. I can handle that!

In addition to retirement savings, we will pay off our home and make sure that we have modest accounts for our children to use for college. We will continue to give 10% of our income to our church. Once we are out of debt, we will also give generously on top of our tithe. Our children will learn how to give, save, and spend. They will never know the crushing debilitation of debt.

Aren't these so cute?!
It's hard to remember that it's worth it to stick to the budget. It's hard to remember that I don't NEED new rain boots. But it's totally worth it when I remember that these sacrifices will cause Jarrod and I to live a life of peace and freedom. Because we are choosing to live far below our means now, someday we will be able to live however we want!

I am teaching Financial Peace University at our church this fall. I can't wait to show others that they can live like this as well. I can't wait to see the culture of our church family change as people begin to live and give like no one else!

Want to learn more about living the debt free life? Check out www.daveramsey.com. Check out Total Money Makeover, find a Financial Peace class near you, or listen to Dave's free podcasts available on iTunes. Join Jarrod and I as we eat beans and rice so someday we can eat whatever we want!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Closer than ever.

I never thought that I would feel closer to Jarrod than I did on July 4th, 2009. That day and the days that followed were the most magical days of my life. Our wedding was a beautiful experience - I've never been happier. When Jarrod first saw me in my wedding dress before the ceremony and had tears in my eyes, I knew that our wedding day was much more than invitations, flowers, and dresses. The worship aspect of the ceremony was gorgeous and meaningful. I thought that the wedding day was the pinnacle - it's all downhill from there, right?

The past year has been difficult, challenging, beautiful, hectic, overwhelming, and full of change. I am thrilled that we have made it through the first year of marriage because while it was incredible, it was also a huge adjustment. This summer has been an interesting season for us and it has taught me that of course it is not all downhill from our wedding day!

Jarrod will always have a strange work schedule. He will probably never work 9-5pm M-F. Since we got married I've had several jobs - traditional schedule, work from home, and non-traditional schedule. It's an interesting balancing act and difficult to coordinate our schedules. We do our best to carve out time together and know that seasons of our life will be even more crazy than things are now.

Thankfully, while this summer has been absolutely insane, we have had the opportunity to work together. While our jobs keep us away from home at opposite times, we are often able to work together. I love that I get to go to worship, choir practice, and meetings at church with Jarrod. I love to see him do his thing - the thing that he was created to do. Likewise, this summer he has lead worship for the mission trip organization that I'm running. It was bumpy at the beginning of the summer, but now that we found our groove, it's incredible. We work well together and I love being able to rely on him, bounce ideas off of him, and share experiences with him.

I thought that I would never feel closer to Jarrod than I did on July 4th, 2009. Thankfully this season of our life has proved that through experiences, difficult and wonderful, we will continue to grow closer.

It's appropriate that I'm thinking about all of this because Jarrod is out of town. I was so looking forward to having the house to myself, cleaning, and enjoying some alone time. Little did I know that I'd be missing him so much. Having Jarrod on our team at work has left us all feeling like something is missing. Jarrod helps keep me calm and remove anxiety when things go wrong - and things are always going wrong! Our DVR is full of awesome shows that I am itching to watch, but need to wait until Jarrod gets home. I was single for so long and absolutely loved living alone but the past few days our home has felt quiet, lonely, and incomplete.

The past few days have been eye-opening for me. I have changed a lot over the past year. I have been transformed from a fiercely independent woman who desires nothing more than time alone to someone's wife, part of a family. I'm beginning to rely on Jarrod, which was challenging for me because I definitely don't want to be "dependent" in the negative sense of the word. I'm continuing to learn and grow. But hopefully Jarrod won't be gone for this long again...at least for a while!
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day

Sunday was a very special day in our house, not just because it was Independence Day, but because it was our one year anniversary! Jarrod and I spent the whole week remembering what we were doing that day one year ago. I relived my bachelorette party, our rehearsal and dinner, and visiting with friends and family.

We went into New Orleans for dinner on Saturday evening, to a restaurant we went to on our honeymoon. We both had to work on Sunday, but thankfully our jobs allow the other to be there as well, so we did spend most of the day together. As we were sitting on the couch and I was getting ready to go to work I realized it was 2:18pm - we were getting married right then!

We always knew that our anniversary would be special because we got married on a holiday, but what was so incredibly special on Sunday was the messages from friends and family. It seems our friends and family were doing what I always do - what was I doing on this day last year? Celebrating Leanne and Jarrod's wedding!

We are planning a long weekend in a small Mississippi town in August. We are looking at B&Bs, ghost tours, and good food once my job settles down some and we can get away. Until then, we're going to keep on keepin' on in Slidell. We're both very excited that we're officially in our second year of marriage!
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcome home

We are finally feeling settled and have even had visitors a few times! I figured it was time that I share our new place with y'all. Here is our living room. It is at the end of our main hallway from the front door. So pretend you just walked into the front door, wiped your feet, and walked straight into our family room.

Be sure to look around. We have lots of natural light and some sweet animals. We have four full sized book cases and one half case completely stuffed with books!

This is our dining room. It's not very spacious, but it's perfect for us.  there is a passthrough to the kitchen. Above that there is an opening to our upstairs bedroom loft.
Off the dining room is our patio. We're about 3 steps to the grass and street. It's lush, green, and quiet. Gorgeous! And we are LOVING our grill.

 The next stop is our bedroom. It is on the front of the house, right off the entry. The walls are taupe, not any form of pink or peach as they may appear.

I haven't taken pictures of the loft yet, but I will. Hopefully you will come visit soon!
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