Brian Fourman, founder of Luke1428.com, shares his financial journey from being an overspender to finding the discipline to control his spending habits.
What made you decide to start Luke 1428?
Luke1428.com began as my outlet to connect and impact people outside of my career and social activities. I wanted to share all of the knowledge and experience I had gained on my financial journey.
I had never enjoyed sharing ideas online before, as I always looked to keep things about myself private.
However, once I learned and understood what blogging was all about, it seemed like the most logical and quickest way to reach a mass audience with the message of my life.
The pull of impacting people was irresistible to me, so I pushed through my fears about starting a new adventure and began Luke1428.
What financial obstacles have you overcome?
For most of my adult life, I thought I had no money-related issues and was doing things the right way.
Looking back now, I was a spendaholic who was abusing credit cards and going into debt each month. My wife and I spent more than we were making, and this caused considerable tension each month when the bills came due.
Could anything have prepared you for financial obstacles?
I should have paid more attention to my parents, who were great role models when it came to managing resources.
Both of my parents worked at what I would call average- to below-average-paying jobs. My father was a social worker and my mother taught at a small private school.
Despite our lack of abundant resources, they always managed to sacrifice and make ends meet.
They owned a home, budgeted well (using an envelope system), focused their purchases on sales or used items and used coupons for grocery shopping.
In short, I was never in need of anything because of their wise money management. One would think I would catch on to their positive behavior and display those qualities in my adult life.
I eventually did, but it just took longer than it should have. I guess some things simply take time and must be learned by making your own mistakes.
What changes did you have to make?
My worldview about my money health changed when I read “Financial Peace Revisited” by Dave Ramsey.
I went on to teach his Financial Peace University class at my church and became determined to follow the Seven Baby Steps process.
This started the change in my personal financial life, but something else pushed me further. That something was a spiritual conviction I felt shortly thereafter.
My faith is very important to me and through reading the Bible I became convinced I was not being a wise steward of the resources God had given me.
It was through that recommitment that I found the discipline to control my spending habits.
In addition to the emotional and spiritual changes, there were many practical steps my wife and I took to improve our financial health.
“One big change happened when we
switched from credit cards to debit cards.”
This forced us to pay closer attention to our bank accounts because you can’t use a debit card for spending if there is no money in your account.
Our focus began to create spending discipline and we quit buying things we didn’t need.
As we cut back on purchases, our monthly savings rate began skyrocketing.
We also dedicated ourselves to making a budget work. We had never been successful with a budget before because we always overspent.
That process wasn’t easy, but after several months of communicating our values to one another and some basic trial and error, we finally worked the numbers out right.
Since then, we’ve lived on a budget every month and it has become the cornerstone of our financial success.
Could anyone make these changes in their own lives?
Absolutely! I believe anyone can succeed as long as they develop a winning plan and stick to it with intense focus and discipline.
However, I’m not going to deceive anyone into believing it’s easy. Breaking habits will always create a challenge and require a deep commitment.
Have any readers said you made an impact on their lives?
My community at Luke1428 is very active. People comment every day on the various aspects of personal finance I discuss.
It gives me great encouragement when I receive feedback from my readers saying they are challenged through my writing.
My strengths are in making people think, offering hope for those who are discouraged and motivating people to make lasting change.
I think my writing style reflects those strengths and is one reason my blog continues to grow.
What is one piece of advice you would give?
Don’t give into fear. Simply start.
When we choose to get radical with our personal finances or anything else, fear becomes our greatest challenger. It binds us up and locks us down.
We become completely immobilized as the multitude of fears and questions line up at our front door.
Fear makes us ask, “Can I do this? Where do I begin? What will other people think? Who out there can help me? What if I mess something up?”
These questions paralyze us with fear, so we never get started.
Because fear represents the greatest challenge, it needs to become our greatest opportunity. Confronting and overcoming our fears moves us emotionally and spiritually forward in ways we could not possibly dream about.
Where did the name from your blog come from?
It seems like an atypical name for a personal finance blog. The blog’s title serves as the reference to a particular passage from the New Testament of the Bible.
In Luke 14:28, Jesus is describing to his followers the costs associated with planning to follow Him. He says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost whether he has enough to finish…”
How much more beneficial would it be if we planned ahead before embarking on a task? Would not the proper preparation make our chances of success greater?
That’s why I chose this as the title for my blog. I want to be reminded every day to plan ahead and weigh the costs of my decisions.
If I do that and make wise decisions, my chances of financial success are very high.
Brian is a full-time teacher at a private Christian school. He teaches economics, personal finance, the Bible and leadership. When Brian is not teaching, you can find him taking care of household responsibilities, managing rental properties and shuttling his four kids to various activities. Brian’s biggest hobbies are collecting baseball cards and running, the latter of which has led him to complete two marathons.
Photo source: glastonbury.patch.com