Yesterday, I finally paid off our credit card, so we are entering the new year both debt free AND with our monthly budget fully funded! Well, I guess I should qualify that statement by saying we are debt free except for Rusty’s student loans. We’ll be paying on those for a few years yet — ha! But FREE of consumer debt — what a great feeling!
Our attempt to rid ourselves of credit card debt has taken many years and been interrupted many times — by international moves, by a dying parent who needed us, by unemployment, by grad school, by preparations for mission work, and most recently by nearly two years spent in Portugal, where not only were we operating under-budget the entire time, but where our buying power was severely decreased by a weak dollar. Through the years, there were times when, not only were we not making any forward progress on paying down our debt, but we were actually going backwards!
Now that we are free of credit card debt and fully funded, we can start putting money aside each month for retirement and college savings. It seems like these are the last two items to get funded in a missionary budget because they are not immediate or daily needs. I’m so thankful that attitudes as to the necessity of these two things for missionaries and their families are changing these days, especially for long-term or career missionaries.
I told Rusty recently that it’s so nice to not have to constantly worry about money, to not have to do the “juggling act” with the finances each month because there’s never enough to go around. It’s also nice to know that there is money being laid aside for the future, for both us and our kids. Although I truly believe that Christians should find their security in Christ and not in their bank accounts, I also believe there is biblical wisdom in saving for a rainy day.