Apr 28, 2012

Dave Ramsey Got Us

For years, I've been hearing about this Dave Ramsey guy and his method of how to get out of debt.  I would click through the Facebook page and see comments about how people paid off huge amounts of debt.  I made excuses like, "well, they make a lot more than I do so of course they have money to pay toward their debt".  I would never actually 'like' the page because I didn't want people to know that we had debt either.  I would get distracted by someone's new baby on Facebook and move on.

I've been carrying a credit card since my first semester in college.  It was my college sorority's Mastercard and my first card ever so I was too emotionally invested to actually pay it off and get rid of it.  The balance on the card was like a bad diet.  It would lose a little bit and then gain twice as much.  Someone suggested I pay off the balance with my student loan so I would have only one balance to worry about after I graduated so I did that too.  I didn't get rid of the card though so, lo and behold, I had two balances to worry about again.

There wasn't a super high limit on the card but when you're shrugging your cap and gown off to walk into a mediocre first job after college, it was pretty intimidating.  My student loans would start asking for money someday, but not today, so we weren't going to worry about them yet.  Corey still had two years of school left and I had most of the living expense bills.  He got a credit card after a realtor told us that we would never be able to buy a house if one of the signers didn't have any credit.  I picked up a Best Buy card and my student loans started asking for payment.  Someday was here.  Oh yeah, we also got engaged and bought a house.

Now don't get me wrong.  This paints a pretty lame picture but we never felt broke.  Sure, we definitely were, but we never bounced checks, always kept a balance of at least a few hundred in checking and hopefully the same in savings. Corey finally graduated in May of 2011 and was able to get a good job. We live in my dream house.  I would be fine staying here forever.

Tired of all of this owing money junk, I planned to have our entire wedding paid for in cash.  I think that was the turning moment for me at least.  I was standing in my wedding gown in our venue and people were talking about how relaxed I looked.  I got to marry my best friend in a few minutes and none of the cost was going to follow us out the door.  Of course I was relaxed!

Corey's a pretty easy going guy and does a dang good job of answering most things with a "sure, honey."  We were able to get our hands on a Financial Peace University home study.  I watched the first two segments by myself to see if just how much I would have to work on Corey to sit through them.  I liked the information but if he wouldn't pay attention, how much good would they do?

I asked him to not pull out his phone and tactfully ignored his grumbling as I mentioned that I would like to start our FPU thing that evening.  I kept an eye on him for the first few minutes as he was pouting.  My whole body relaxed the first time he let out a chuckle and then a belly laugh at Dave Ramsey.  We watched the whole thing in a week.  He's on board!

We set a budget for the first time and we were absolutely stunned at how much money we would blow a month.  It was somewhere around $700.  Since both of us aren't huge shoppers, we don't really have much to show for it.  We blew some categories completely and fell short in others.  It wasn't a bad first try.

We were able to put $4,850 toward debt since March 1, 2012.  We paid off two credit cards completely.  I'm still not 100% on how on earth we were able to come up with that much money.

Our Debt Snowball:

Discover Card
Best Buy Card
Bank of America Zeta Card
Corey's Student Loan
Corey's Truck
Dani's Student Loan

The cancelled cards are now filling an empty frame on our dining room gallery wall.  We have one more to add and it will be my beloved Bank of America card and I've already got a spot for it the first paycheck of May.  That is if I can find the card.  I've hidden it in our house and I haven't seen it for the better part of a year.

I'm tired of our debt and we'll be out sooner rather than later.  Hardly anyone we know will talk openly about money and debt so here's my contribution.  We made stupid mistakes and listened to people that we really shouldn't have about money.  We shouldn't have even listened to ourselves for a big handful of them.  If I could meet my 19 year old self, I'd shake her.  She has so much to learn.

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