Thursday, March 28, 2013

Money Makeover

Been debating writing on this subject for awhile because we all know money issues tend to be a hush-hush topic. Also do not want people to feel judged in their situation or for me to feel like I am being judged.  So I am taking the plunge anyways and going to share my ongoing battle with this thing we call money.

A few months ago, I decided to read Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover after hearing about it for months and months. Seriously, if you have never picked up this book you have got to read it!  Even if you aren't in debt it is so helpful!  It provides a clear and organized plan to get your budget on track and to really analyze where your money is going to every day, every week, and every month.  It's shocking what I used to waste my money on before I jumped into the program.

I need to give a little background information on what led me to where I am:

When I gave birth to our son 2 years ago our insurance turned out to be poop (lack of a better word). We walked out of there with $15,000 we owed. Mainly from having an emergency C-section and staying in the hospital for 4 days really racks up the cost. I don't regret it because my son is worth even more than that amount. But this is where the money pit started. 2 years and we finally paid that cost off. Hooray.

Then my first year as a brand new teacher, my  husband was admitted to the hospital.  Dale was in there for a week before doctors could figure out what was wrong with him. In the end, it was nothing too serious but a bad case of mono.  We walked out of there with $40,000 of medical debt. That's when our debt started to snowball out of control.  There was no end in sight.  

For many years, our money was used as a way to buy myself temporary happiness or just when I was bored. There was really no rhyme or reason to the mess I got myself in.  Target was my biggest weakness... I could go there for 2 hours at a time and buy $100-300 worth of stuff nobody really needs.  Just a way for me to get out of the house, pass the time, and then come home like I accomplished something.  So along with medical debt, I charged up the credit card a bit.

Also, my best friend and I would always find our way to a store and she became my shopping buddy. That's all we ever did when we got together.  Needless to say, when I quit teaching to stay home with our son last year my behaviors and way of living had to stop. We did not have the extra money for me to blow anymore. Last May I had to part ways with my best friend. Partly due to our shopping addiction and of course other reasons.  That was very hard to deal with since she was the only friend I hung out with ever.  But I guess that's the price you pay when you are serious about changing for the better. Sometimes you have to lose in order to get yourself back on track...

Starting Ramsey's program 3 months ago was the start to getting us back on track. The book says that step 1 is to get your savings account to $1000 and to not use any more credit cards. We did that. Then we were ready to start Step 2 and tackle the snowball of debt. The book does state that when you think you're on a roll, that Murphy's Laws seem to show up, and IT HAS--Big time! This month we were ready to focus on paying off debt and then our car needed lots of maintanence, our garbage disposal broke, my hubby had 3 dentist appointments, our A/C went out, and we owed a big chunk for taxes.  Great timing. We were able to pay for those things but it wiped our savings bone dry.  When that happens, the program says to jump back to step 1 until you have your $1000 emergency savings back.  That is where we are at. Probably God's way of seeing if we are really serious about staying on track with the program or not. HA

So we are following the steps and we use the envelope system.  Love it because it helps me resist those urges to splurge on stuff we don't need. It's so easy to swipe that debit card without thinking. With the envelope system, it only uses cash and really makes me double think if what I am purchasing is worth it.

I am eager to hear if anybody else is doing the Dave Ramsey program?  My reason for posting this is to share that I am not flawless and am sure others are in the same boat too. Along the way, I want to write some updates to encourage others and get feedback too.


  1. My husband introduced me to Dave Ramsey when we first met. We follow a lot of his principals. I wish we used the envelope system more... but we actually have about 6 bank accounts with all different uses. Like, long & short term savings, a main checking account for every day stuff, "funny money" accounts for entertainment, etc. We also set a budget to help with finances. It helps us be able to travel, shop, and save wisely. Of course, we are always refining this system. I think that money is a subject that everyone struggles to keep in order!

  2. The envelope system was tough to get used to the first 2 weeks but now is like everyday business. Every Friday I get cash from the bank and a certain amount gets put in different envelopes for Groceries, hubby's lunch, and entertainment for the week. When the envelope money is gone, that's it. No pulling from the debit card or pulling more cash out. Gotta wait till next Friday to start over. Works great with self-control and staying on track.

    I really like your idea, Amy. As long as a family can stick to a plan then any plan can work :)

    1. You guys are smart to do that! I brought this up to Todd because we really have wanted to do this. So this week I'm going to try to do my food shopping this way! :)

  3. Hello, Fellow Bloggers! When I wrote about this topic, I wasn't expecting others to further point out my flaws. Our main debt here is from medical, and I've had people now pointing out everything I purchase. This does not make me feel good. Instead of saying "Do you really need that?" a great way to encourage someone is to ask "How is the program going?". Realized I've been a little too honest and some are using that to attack me. Not nice.

    Let me clarify the Dave Ramsey program: Since we are trying to get Financial Peace, that doesn't mean you can't ever purchase anything extra for yourself. I have cut WAY back on many things. Also, Ramsey suggests having an entertainment fund in an envelope. Every paycheck, we put a little bit in that fund so we are allowed to do occasional fun things or purchase "wants". Ramsey knows if that is not available then it's 100 times easier to fall off the wagon & resort back to old habits.

    Feel free to ask questions about the program or write about your experience, but please refrain from being insensitive and pointing fingers at someone. Keeping the page drama-free! Thanks

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