Friday, April 5, 2013

My advice to Young singles and newlyweds (finances)

It is that time of year again... wedding planning around every corner. It got me to thinking about how it is more important to plan for a marriage than for a wedding. This, of course, takes years of preparations.

This post is not written as an accusation to anyone that I know! Not in the least! It is just what I wish someone would have told me. This is not the sum of my knowledge, just the first dozen or so things that came to mind.

Today's post is limited to one topic - Finances.

I don't know a whole lot about money. I am not a financial guru. But, I can help you learn from my mistakes, and that is my chief aim. Sure, it is a little embarrassing for us to talk about our past, but if it keeps just one person from following our path it is worth it!

- Do whatever you can to stay out of debt as long as you can! So often young adults enter into marriage with the idea of living to the standard they grew up with - it just rarely works this way. I would bet that your own parents as newlyweds rarely ate "out." Most new married couples (20+ years ago) scraped by without the luxuries of fast food and $4 coffee from a drive through. Trying to live like your parents without their income is a recipe for disaster.
- You can live with less furniture, or used furniture. You really don't need to go buy a new bedroom group, dining room group, and living room group (each with a $2500+ price tag). Craigslist and second hand stores always have cheap tables and chairs that you could clean up, or even refurbish, for very little. Auctions would be a good place to look for furniture too.
- You don't "need" cable and home internet. Cable IS a luxury and you can get by without it. And, you probably already have internet on your phone. You can always use the library for more extensive projects. As for cable, we have been married 13 years and have had cable a total of maybe 2 months that entire time. Take walks, go to a park, read a book, make a picnic, go fishing, learn to garden or hunt, learn to cook, do crafts, there is a lot to keep you busy without cable tv.
- If you are still single - SAVE your money! Don't buy bigger better cars now. Don't waste your hard-earned money on soda and coffee. SAVE it! You will thank me later.
- As much as you can, use shop towels and such to clean spills, and save money on paper towels.
- Before you go enter college or grad school, make sure that is what you really want to do. Ask yourself if you really need a degree to do what you see yourself doing in the future. College loans are a headache that hangs over you for years to come! (I am not discouraging college, I just want you to know that you know that you need to go)
- When setting up housekeeping - Buy used appliances. Washers, dryers, 'fridge, etc. You will be glad you did.
- Buy used cars. With cash.
- Consider doing some things "the old fashioned way" - hang out laundry on a line, cook from "scratch," drink water, use wood heat, if you live in town - walk to work.
- Save credit cards for emergencies, do not use them on consumable stuff like fast food (except in a real bind or when traveling.)
- Buy clothes at name brand stores only at the end of the season, or shop at second hand stores. You can look nice without spending a fortune, or signing up for a Macy's credit card account. (Yeah... ask me how I know... only back then it was called Famous-Barr.)
- Do NOT feel obligated to buy nice gifts for friends at weddings, birthdays, etc. A simple inexpensive gift will do just fine. Consider making a gift, like an apron, or cloth napkins or something. Or, just give a card, and when they are in your shoes (married, just trying to make it week to week), they will thank you.
- After you are married - SAVE as much as you can for emergencies, household items (furnace/roof/etc), a baby, etc.
- Write a budget and stick to it as much as possible. Read books by Christian financial gurus.

Above all - Be realistic. You have the rest of your lives to live out your dreams! It does not have to happen this year, or even in this decade!

A few verses to meditate on: The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.        Prov 22:7 (NASB)

'You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'
Deut 5:21 (NASB)
    For we brought nothing into the world,              and we can take nothing out.   But if we have food and clothing,  we will be content with these.
        1 Tim 6:7-8 (HCSB)

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls, 
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

       Hab 3:17-19 (NASB)

What are your suggestions for newlyweds and young singles?


Arthur Sido said...

All good advice, young couples need to stay out of debt and learn to live with less. I would add finding cheap ways to vacation, you don't have to take a cruise to have fun! We have never had lots of money laying around but we also have never gotten used to have new stuff or taking expensive vacations.

Bethany in mid-MO said...

I think adding in your recommendation about vacation is great! I didn't even think of it because we never take one.

NYLass said...

I agree with Arthur, great post! It is such valuable advice that used to be common American knowledge, but seems to have been trampled under the feet of modern selfishness.... so sad.

If I could... I'd like to suggest to combine his advice to yours... have fun doing the little things of life together. Make grocery shopping a romantic outing... Make ways of saving a game that you can award each other prizes for... ;)
Those are the things that you will look back on... how you made it through together... with laughter and joy.

And while I will not begrudge someone a nice vacation.... the BEST ones (at least IMHO) were cheap or free: never underestimate the value of an afternoon of snuggles - (before OR after kids!) and what a vacation that can be... :)

Anonymous said...

All very good! I think we were married over 15 years before we had matching bedroom furniture - (which we've now had 10 years and love and will probably have forever!) Suggestions for vacations would be to visit friends you want to see and stay with them, then reverse it and have them visit you! Fellowship and hospitality. Maybe not for a honeymoon, but that's different :-) And there should be some sort of time for a honeymoon (which doesn't have to be expensive, but should have some together-without-anyone-else-along time!) -Mrs. B

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

Part 1:

Hi Bethany!!

It was great to hear from you. I thought I would come here to comment about GAPS, to make sure you see my reply :-) There must be some 'rules of conduct' for you reply in your comments, their comments? Ha, ha!

So about GAPS. I wish I had kept up my gaps blog much better than I did. I can say WORKS! Now, don't do what we did, see results and think you can back off sooner than the estimated 1.5 to 2 years. Not only did we come off sooner than we should have, but in the wrong way (you are supposed to introduce foods slowly). Anyways, I had a couple of people in my family begging to go back on gaps. The others weren't too thrilled, but knew we needed to do it.

I won't lie, it's hard to do, BUT you get into the swing of things and it becomes your new normal. But I would say the first 2 to 4 weeks are hard, hard, hard. But for all that work and hardness, the results that you usually start seeing after the first two weeks are worth it!

Some of the things we've seen vanish on gaps have been:
no more reflux for a few of our children that had it. Many of my kids were having daily tummy pain that we couldn't find the origin to, all gone. I would have never classified my kids as over active or ADD or anything like that, but a few of my more wiggly children clamed down. I had one daughter who had a hard time focusing on things, and the diet made a huge difference for her. Jed's speech apraxia, not sure if you remember all that he went through, is gone! His speech therapist was totally shocked at the transformation he made in a 4 week window. She told us that he no longer has apraxia, and she knew it was the diet because she had never seen such improvement before. I had reactions to eating eggs (due to a leaky gut) and that had disappeared. Though, sad to say we got a nasty tummy bug (noro virus) and my gut took a beating. I am currently working on building it back up since I started having reactions to eggs right after that illness. But, I did it once before and I know I can do it again. We had one daughter who was experiencing a big case of OCD. She also started experiencing these pricking sensations in her hands and feet. After multiple trips to the chiro, nothing was working (this was pre-gaps). Our chiro is very laid back, but even she was getting concerned and suggested we see a doctor. But we ended up starting gaps a couple of weeks later, from our last visist with the chiro, and all OCD and pricking gone. The pricking had been going on for months at the time we started gaps.

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

Part 2:

Those are just some of the things we saw happen on GAPS. There is more, but I think that should give you an idea. Plus, we didn't have any really big time issues, but I can pass along some experience my sister had. She counciled two friends on the gaps diet. Both had children with major issues. One has autism, the other was on 5 or 7 different meds for ADHD, some autism, and he was in a special class at school. The one with the child with just autism decided the diet was too much to deal with and wouldn't even try it. The other friend couldn't go right onto gaps, but did follow her suggestions to go all natural and whole foods. This child is now medication free and in a regular class!!! He still has some little issues here and there and this mom knows that gaps will take care of it. Unfortunately her dh doesn't want to do the diet. But, clearly the foods we eat are affecting us in major, major ways.

I would love to answer any questions you have. We are not able to do everything the 'right' way on the diet, for example we can't afford organic foods. But even with not being able to do it the 'right' way we have seen amazing results. My family does look forward to the day we can eat homeade real pizza :-) But, most of them are very happy to see their issues gone and are willing to stick it out. We just currently went through intro about 6 weeks ago, so they are pretty happy that we are past that! Ha, ha! Intro is not pleasant, but it really gets you where you need to be faster. The original gaps diet didn't have an intro, but they found that by going through the intro you get faster healing of the gut.

I hope that all helps.

Blessings to you and your family!


Bethany in mid-MO said...

Mrs. B and NYLass, I love your ideas! I just was absent minded and forgot to reply! Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

Thanks for that info, it helps a lot! We are already mostly grain free. but we do love our black beans and pintos! We have been doing a Paleo-type diet. So, maybe the switchover wouldn't be *too* bad. Reading your review of your first week was enough to give me pause. I will keep praying about this. We are asking the Lord to heal our health issues, and maybe this is the way. Thanks for your time and info!