I was writing a post in a forum and answering a question I had asked myself, “Jen, when did you first hear about Dave Ramsey?” Well self…um…well it was before I had all three kids. Did I have any kids? Where were all my kids? Did we have a dog? Which dog?
Asking me to pinpoint a year on anything is a traumatic experience. Not just for me, but for you while you listen to me play 20 questions with myself and narrow it down bit by bit. It’s really pathetic.
I did not have the book in a nursery. I did not have the book blah blah something that rhymes with nursery to make a dr. seuss joke.
You get the drift.
I did narrow it down. It was during a, “let’s get inspired by listening to Christian talk radio” phase I was having back in 2004. I was parked in front of a friend’s house in my old hometown and there was some thing about donating $10 to give some kids some clean water and I was pregnant and SO thirsty and I would have paid $10 for some water for me right about then and then they said my gift for donating would be the book Financial Peace and really, the only thing a pregnant woman wants more than water when she’s thirsty is some financial peace (amirite?) so I was sold. I called from the car, donated my $10, and a few weeks later a book came in the mail. It was Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey.
I read it and pretty much blew it off. There was no way I could follow this plan about money when I didn’t have any money. Duh.
But in there it said to list out all your debts. At this point I was young and dumb and whatnot and thought that meant to list out your bills. Which is probably good because if I listed out both my bills and debts I would have had a breakdown. Just listing my bills and showing them to my husband was a traumatic experience. We didn’t make enough money to pay them. We always thought we did. We thought in terms of payments, not totals. We thought in terms of paychecks, not monthly budgets. Looking at the bills on paper, we realized there were only two options. Make more money, or pay less bills. We cancelled the cable for the first time. It hurt. I really, really, really enjoy television. Trashy television, deep documentaries, some artsy incest film on IFC…television is my lifeline to escape, to learning, to … whatever, my love of television is a well-documented fact, what is not so well documented was the hell I went through to change my thinking and behaviors.
Because today I looked at the budget again. We still have SO SO much to pay off. It was disheartening. It was scary. Then I looked at the little worksheet I saved that shows what we’ve paid off. The calculation isn’t since 2004, because I wasn’t calculating anything then, just trying to work on the “standard of living” numbers – the bills. But the tracked payoff numbers I have? We’ve paid off just over $30,000 in debt. Even if it is since 2005 that’s still a lot of money in 7 years. I’ll take that win.
But there is still so much more to go. I understand why Dave has people separate out the mortgage because it’s just so much more with that mortgage in there it can be disheartening.
I should do a breakdown, but really there are four. Just four debts between me and the end of baby step 2. I’d feel better if those four were not $80k but then try and remember that none of them are on credit cards with 24% interest and that calms my very crabby soul. It could be better, but it could be worse…talk about an obvious observation. LOL
So in addition to fitness and weekly weigh-ins we’re going back to talking about money. Laying it out, getting naked, and getting it taken care of. Because it’s ugly now, but soon…very, very soon…it won’t be ugly. It will be a great story to show my kids when they’re older.
For today, he’s going to remodel their bedroom (with previously purchased materials – no new spending) and I’m going to help the kids count the money in their piggy banks. We already had a fun conversation about debit cards vs. credit cards and they understand they want to be the ones getting interest, they don’t want to pay it to a company.
I’m thinking of getting the girls the Financial Peace Jr. game for Christmas. Anyone out there have it? What do you think?
Have a great weekend!
Oh, wait! I forgot! the ignoring warts part of my post title! Okay, so I really enjoy Dave Ramsey. I like listening to the radio show, I like reading his Facebook page, I’m all about the Dave Ramsey baby step plan. It’s my thing. I get it, it makes sense, and it inspires me to do more and push harder.
But he can be a jerk sometimes. I don’t like how he talks about fat people and I don’t like that he is part of an organization that can say “special needs” kids and then talk about parents with “healthy” kids. That his marketing department didn’t see that could be hurtful and he didn’t see it either when he read it on air. I think he can be rude and self-righteous. I don’t like a lot of his politics and I think he oversimplifies some very complex problems.
But he’s not my FRIEND, people, he’s my financial guy. From what I can tell he’s not racist and doesn’t kick puppies. He seems genuinely interested in helping people get out of holes they dug for themselves and doesn’t make people feel stupid.
So I ignore the warts, because I’m not there for those. I’m there for the calls and the advice and the financial learning I receive in abundance when I listen to the show. It was a struggle for me at first, but now I just think of him like the crazy uncle who says weird stuff sometimes. I’ll say to the iPhone while I’m listening to the radio show, “Oh, Dave…you should know better…” I cluck, I shake my head, I smile that “bless your heart” smile and just keep listening for the finance part to come back around.
I ignore the warts because I’m not his doctor and it’s not my job to judge those warts. It’s my job to get my house in order, become debt free, and then start a community center or food pantry or some other amazing outreach program that feeds my soul and my need to help others.