Figs and finances

My husband is a generous soul, I love to see how he picks figs from a tree we were given four years ago and that now is giving the best figs we have had, because they are the ones my husband has taken care with his own hands. The girls snack on them all the time, and we have so many he has finally convinced me to make preserve with them. I will, that will be my present to him, a man that is the best head of a family you can dream of.

My husband gently told me to pay off my chic and shinny credit card in the nineties. I was teaching and my room mate was my friend, a teacher too. When I was with her and others in Mexico, studying at the university before we came to work, I had a job for food, shelter and $15 a week. I learned the true meaning of window shopping. We got job contracts in schools but I had no money for the airplane ticket or to live the first month. My friend told me if I wanted to be her room mate she would anticipate me the ticket money and pay for the apartment and food until my first paychecks arrived and I could repay her. My first week here I furnished my room with a sleeping bag and an alarm clock.

After school we used to go to the credit union, shy at first, to open an account, later to get a car loan we needed to go to work. The loans were accepted, the dealers gave us our second hand cars, our first paychecks kicked in, and after several trips to the bank and the ATM, we became bolder. More loans were approved, the credit cards were popping in our mailbox, and we enjoyed the ride. We were, after all, helping our families some, purchasing things for our students and school, so why not to splurge a bit at the stores and restaurants?…Our gas bill was surreal, a gallon less than a dollar (at the time in Spain I was paying what we pay right now for it), our minimum payments under $15, and our paychecks were thousand of dollars, jobs were as common as mushrooms after the rain, and we thought that Houston will always have lots of rain.

I met my husband my first summer in the school holidays, and he taught me to not look around to what others bought and spent, and to focus instead on your own goals. It is not right to buy something if you don’t have the money for it. It’s not right to live in debt if you are being paid a generous salary. If we were going to have children (and we were engaged at the time), we should think about saving, for a house down payment, to have an emergency fund, for furniture, to travel to see our families. He is also a giver, a provider, and a saver. We lived knowing that one day his salary will be the only income, and oh do I thank him for that. I knew I wanted to be home with the children, but I never knew what a blessing this is, or that homeschooling would be part of our new life with children.

We don’t trust on possessions, we don’t expect our government to take care of us or our retirement plan. There is no safety neat in life you can buy with money. We are in God’s hands and we know it. However, not living over your means, knowing not to get into unnecessary debt, to save and to give as you prosper, are all principles that will help you in your life. I am seeing many friends around me who are determined to finish paying their debt, and who are living a frugal life, and I am rejoicing with them in their endeavors. Many are in the right track, and their path has been a bit rockier because they are younger. We married at 29 and 30, and my husband’s mind about running a household was clear by that time, I learned from him and joined his plan. However, young or old, it’s never late to set your finances straight.

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