My Savior, Dave Ramsey and my first step into freedom
Let me start by saying that for a majority of my life, I have not been very religious at all, and that this discussion is not simply about religious beliefs. I did find my love for Christian beliefs during this period and I must give credit where it is due. Any belief that is expressed here is not singular to the Christian teaching or to any religion at all. Dave Ramsey mentions is many part of his class that the bible does teach the same things, and it is an excellent class. If you are in a dark, dark place financially and do not think you should ‘waste’ your money on the class, I beg to differ. First of all, paying for the class shows your commitment and willingness to put the things you learn into practice. It also allows for fellowship with so many other people that are changing their lives, without the requirement that you share any personal business that you may find embarrassing. Not to mention he is a speaker that helps excite you and motivate you. He can be found on all the different social media sites, he has radio shows all of the county and websites dedicated to all the things he believes that are available for free if that is what you need to start with.
I will say that looking back at my hesitancy with paying the initial fee, was that I was really thinking that it would not work (or take a long time.) and I would need that money. That so many people insisted that they had phenomenal results, seems like sales tactics only. Maybe an exaggeration of the truth. The truth really is, the payment is a sacrifice for many, and that is what makes most of us finally humble ourselves enough to take the lessons to heart.
So the first class was something that I was content enough to allow my husband. I sent him off every week and left everything on his shoulders. I am embarrassed now, I should have been a partner with this. I will never again sit on the sidelines of my life, nor expect him to for punishment of this whole affair. Moving on, when everything did come to light, I really did not have the cash at all. We were behind in all of our bills and could not even pay for basic medicine for our kids. I pulled out his class in a box from the Ramsey course, rolled my sleeves up and brought my pride down quite a few notches. Lesson (baby step) one, get $1,000 in a savings account. With the help of my Mother I found Quicken and loaded it to my home computer. It really did not take long to complete. I was shocked. If the $100 for the class was a sacrifice, how in the hell did I find a grand? I went to my local Associated Credit Union and opened a savings account and a Money Market account to house this money. I understood that this money was different than the various savings accounts I have had in the past. This was security for my family. This was money for medicine for a sick child, or gas while I figured out where we were with our money, and honestly I thought I may be able to use it for a divorce. I am happy that I did not need the divorce, but lack of communication and sometimes lies, and never having money take their toll on us wives.
Have you ever written down all of your bills, then subtracted your pay and wondered where all the money went? That is where the first $1,000 came from. It was so empowering! We could really do this! I found my inner nerd and let her loose. I love my inner nerd now. She has made the difference between looking at my money through tears, and with a smile. Now I am a hunter, and my prey are debts. Not just mine, but how debt works in general. How people think about it, and how truly sad it is that we have all fell so hard for the advertising. I have taken the lesson to heart. I have even started teaching my children about it. We purposefully talk to them about what debt is, why it is bad and every time we conquer, we celebrate as a family. Like so many other things in my life, this has become purposeful. I will always take the opportunity to talk openly with them about money, the mistakes we made and the good things that have come from them.
Step one is complete. Not only the seemingly impossible step of saving $1,000, but taking control again. Even if the I still owe thousands upon thousands of dollars, I am in control of where I will be next month, and the years to come. I did way more that saving, I really did.
I know for a small amount of time, I did still feel like I was way worse than everyone else around me. All of my friends, and very close friends seemed like they were lucky enough to have learned these lessons way before me and without the pain. With time, I would listen to some talk a little more to others and found that so many did not talk about money problems, or minimized them. True, some people are not as bad off as me and some are worse off, but now I know that I am nowhere near alone with these issues. I talk to others about what steps they are taking or are thinking about taking. What are their thoughts on debt or even just where they are standing with it. It has opened many doors. Every now and then I still struggle with ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ but I know if I keep my current path, I will have nice new things again soon, but completely paid for, and most likely for less money. Gotta’ love bargaining power.
Next: Debt/Bill reduction, woo hoo!