Wow! I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from my friends and family as I start my quest to be a better budgeter. Money is something couples fight about a lot, and know it causes stress on any one who lives on a thin budget. I am not really excited about all of the sacrifices we are going to be making this year; however, I know when we reach our goal it will be worth it.
So let me tell you a little about myself. I am 30 years old. My husband and I have been married for 7 years, we have 2 boys (ages 6 and 1) at home, and we have 2 dogs. We are a pretty typical family with an average income, regular expenses, but I must say we have been “just getting by” for a while. Most times as soon as my paycheck is directly deposited into my account I have the money set up to leave my account and pay bills …. Ahhh, the perks of online banking.
Dave Ramsey quoted a statistic in his book that 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. It is a little comforting to know we are not alone and one out of every three people are in the same boat that we are in. Also, it is a little discomforting that so many people are in our current situation. When people are about to attempt a weight loss goal, they always take a “before” and “after” picture. This is our “before” picture and when we are able to pay off the first major loan we can take the “after picture.
In the first couple of chapters of Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey goes over whether or not you are really in need of a financial makeover. There are a few little exercises that really break you away from just reading and you actually have to circle answers and fill in blanks from a word bank. It makes you feel like you are back in elementary school, but in a good way. He asks some really good questions on how you feel about money and if you even know how money works. Both valid questions and necessary to evaluate if you are going to continue in the book/challenge. Now we need to evaluate whose fault it is for the financial situation you are in right now. We could blame it on the kids, parents, spouse, etc. But really it is our fault. We are in this financial situation because of the decisions we made. Congratulations! You are taking responsibility for your actions, this is the reality check we need to hear to make change. Now, are you ready to make some probably painful changes in your life? If not, Dave Ramsey says don’t even continue in the book. And when you are ready for this road ahead come back and buckle up!
Ok, I went to college and got a job and started making some money. Well now there are bills to pay and then when add kids, dogs, cars, and a house… my goodness what did we get ourselves into? I never wanted debt because I had heard the horror stories about college kids being in debt as soon as they graduated. I was lucky enough to not have to pay much for my college education because my parents had planned ahead for me. Then when I got out into the real world and my husband and I wanted to buy a second car before our son arrived we quickly found out that we needed credit. Having no credit was worse than bad credit. And our first line of credit happened! Then it was really downhill from there.
We all say that we are not THAT out of shape financially, but when you really look at your spending habits and see where your money goes monthly maybe you are. Chapter 2 of Total Money Makeover has some case studies about people in different financial situations…. such as a young person just graduating from college and now stuck with student loans, rent, gas, and food… things that he really didn’t have to pay for while he was in school. Another story is about a young couple who went from 2 incomes to just 1, but they still had all the same bills. Dave Ramsey makes you do a little math with this one to really see how much of your income goes to savings. Prepare for the unexpected and have an emergency fund ready. He also asks some pretty hard, hit you right where it hurts questions: How long would you last if you lost half of your income? I can honestly and depressingly say not very long at all. He also goes over how much your income and debt has changed over the past 5, 10, and 15 years. For us, our income and increased and so had our debt. This is a trend for most, when you make more money you accumulate more debt. Throughout the chapter in between the case studies and the math he asks a few different times how financially fit are you on a scale. So at the end of the chapter he asks again and wants you to answer honestly and to really get out of the denial on how fit you are really. Now, are you willing to change?
We had to come to some pretty hard realizations during these chapters, but it was a good wake up call. We are ready to be on the right path to financial freedom.
Stay with me and join in, I need all the success and encouragement stories I can handle!
Books I am using for the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Challenge
Total Money Makeover Workbook http://amzn.to/1S6zq4W
The Total Money Makeover http://amzn.to/1S6zxxg
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