Jacob and I are fairly diligent with our money and live pretty frugally. We set big goals for ourselves prior to marriage to pay off our debt, student loans and car loan, within two years of Jacob's graduation (May 2014). We live in a small town with affordable rent, the opportunity to be a one car family, and decent paying jobs. Everything pointed towards success.
We entered into a blissful marriage last June with much excitement and joy, completely unknowing that some of the hardest months of our lives were ahead. Over the last nine months a preexisting heart condition of mine progressed racking up worry and medical bills faster than our twenty-two year old eyes had ever seen. In the midst of figuring out these health changes, Jacob unexpectedly lost his job. Suddenly our way of handling money diligently and prudently was no longer to achieve the big goals set out for ourselves, but as a way to survive on a significantly reduced net income.
Everyone warned us that the first year of marriage is the most challenging, but our challenges have brought us even closer. Praise Jesus for this! I don't tell these experiences for pity or attention but as a way to share how saving money for the unknown was a huge part of our story. I truly believe our budgeting and goal setting early on put us in the best possible scenario for these financial hardships to take place.
We had been aggressive on our loans and pulled back on unnecessary expenses when we were in a place of financial stability. This allowed us grace on our loans and extra saved up for when my medical bills started rolling in. The experts always encourage three months of salary saved up for the unknown. Although we didn't need to dig that deep before Jacob found another job, it was to our benefit to have a saved up surplus for daily living expenses. I realize it is hard to save when the unknown is so vague and out there. Once it hits however it has much more of a visible face.
We now find ourselves in a new season of normal and are so thankful for the money we saved for times of unknown. We have also learned that saving money is not everything - there needs to be a balance between saving and savoring. More than ever before we feel led to give our money to those in need or experiencing similar difficulties we did. Jacob and I were so incredibly blessed by the outpouring of love and support that came from friends and strangers without our asking.
If this is season of life you are walking through, please feel free to reach out to us. This path is not one to walk alone and we would love to come alongside you in steadfast prayer and encouragement.
Labels: a day in the life, faith