Tuesday, August 1, 2006

We now have a new-to-us car. A 1994 Honda Civic. It's red. It's standard. E-tested yesterday with no problem. Has to be certified yet, and needs some small body repairs before that can happen. It cost 39$ to fill up yesterday. Gotta love that. (About 20 bucks less than the wagon or the Odyssey).

Finding the car wasn't exactly hard. We went to, where we found our mini-van last summer. Good resource. Relatively lots to choose from. Picked out one we liked and sounded healthy, went to see it. Had my excellent mechanic cousin come check it out and there you go. Now ours.

I guess our biggest quandary was: debt or no debt? Would the Lord provide through debt or without it? I know some people who would say definitely without it.

Debt and finance has been a particular interest of mine for about 4-5 years now. I started managing the house/family finances around then and wanted to do a good job. So I've read a number of books and articles, created systems and spreadsheets, and listened to anyone who would give us sound advice. I read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover a year or two ago. That was a good one. I regularly listen to the Crown Money show on WDCX (99.5) when I can. Love that show. We went to a Managing God's Money seminar last year in the February by Michel Bell, sponsored by Focus on the Family. That was VERY interesting, a little controversial. James and I still discuss some of his philosophies even now. Of course, the overriding advice of these resources is, Get out of Debt.

Hmm. Easier said than done.

But we've been doing ok and making slow progress since adopting that mantra. Could be doing better, I suppose. Specially now. I guess you can figure out how we got the car. I suppose some people would say that we didn't 'wait on the Lord'. From our perspective, we prayed, took the steps, they all worked out, no huge roadblocks, so that usually means the doors are open. I don't think there's any other way of knowing if it's the right thing.
Truth be known, the only way we weren't going to have to use debt for this car, would be if someone dropped in our laps a) a few thousand or b) a car.
Neither were happening and I didn't really expect them to. So if the Lord doesn't work through debt, than....hmmm, I guess we're in the wrong.

Still, we got a car for James to get to work. Important stuff.

But that leads me to an exciting developement the last few days. Recalling the aforementioned Crown ministries, I went to their site to see if I couldn't find a few more ideas for budgeting and such.
On the radio show, I've heard them talk about a budgeting tool they're very excited about---Mvelopes, they call it. Call me dense, but I don't know what the M is for. Money?

I'd never really considered using them before, because that old fashioned envelope way of budgeting never appealed to me. Tried it out. Wasn't very effective. When so many financial transactions are happening automatically and paid online, pulling out cash to put into envelopes was a pain.
Well, those crown people must have known that, because they came up with a pretty good idea--a computer/online based version. I started it on Friday night and so far, with a few gliches, I think it's going to be great. I'll keep y'all updated.

This could be a breakthrough.


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