Recently my husband and I have been on a serious ‘financial journey’, and during conversations with friends and family I’ve had many people ask me how we “do money”. So instead of just posting a link or quick blurb… why not post our story.
“Your situation ultimately comes down to your decisions and what you are willing to sacrifice to make a change.”
~ Dave Ramsey
Approximately 8 months ago my husband and I got “sick and tired of being sick and tired“. We’d had enough of struggling to make ends meet. Had enough of fighting about money, and had enough of feeling like we were never getting anywhere.
I had started listening to a daily podcast on money and life and the lightbulbs had started to turn on. I felt like I’d finally found a strategy and tool that we could use to change our financial situation.
Enter the “Baby Steps“…
I’d been listening to The Dave Ramsey Show Podcast. Where it’s not just information being ‘thrown’ at you about how to manage money. It’s REAL people calling in about REAL situations, and someone honestly and genuinely giving advice. There is no ‘theory’ about it… it’s all about ‘real’ life.
My husband raised his eyebrows each time I mentioned the podcast I was obsessed about. To say he was hesitant at first would be an understatement. But after many conversations, and him allowing me to play him a couple of excerpts, we started talking about it more and our mindsets began to change.
With me being the ‘nerd’ and him the ‘free spirit’. I prepared for him some information showing where we were financially and what it was going to take for us to get ahead. There was no magic formula or special system that was going to get us out of our ‘rut’, but a couple of simple things:
- We had to increase our income
- We had to commit to a written budget every month
- We had to spend less than we made
- We had to COMMUNICATE
- We had to have a plan
So in essence… it was time for us to grow up!
Within the first month of us ‘getting serious’, my amazing and hard-working husband had found a new job (he was previously self-employed, but his health had been deteriorating and he was really in need of a change).
We sat down and did our first monthly budget. Where we gave each dollar a purpose.
We saved our ‘Starter Emergency Fund‘.
We cut up all our credit cards and created a written plan on how to pay off our debts using the ‘Debt Snowball’.
We began reading and implementing ‘The Total Money Makeover‘.
Two months later we were now on ‘the plan’… full steam ahead… we were “living like no one else”, but we had committed to an overseas holiday in August (’13). So we rolled up our sleeves, got to work saving up cash like crazy and created a written budget for the holiday. Surprise, surprise, it worked. We had a great holiday, paid CASH for it, and came home with no debt and none of that ‘sick in the stomach’ feeling that you get when you then realise now you have to find out how to pay for it. It certainly gave us encouragement to keep going.
Now 8 months since starting our Debt Snowball we are so excited to have NO consumer debt… which means we owe no money to any institution anywhere!
No finance. No car payment. No ‘interest free’. Nothing. Zero. Zip. And it feels GREAT!
This year is now dedicated to knocking out our last debt. A loan to a family member. It’s our last piece of debt, and the last debt we will ever have, aside from a home loan (but more about that another time).
People think we’re strange when we talk about not having debt, and how we don’t have any credit cards. But we’re fine with that. We love the amazing feeling of freedom that we have. And we’re never going back.
Many people I’ve talked to say that they “need” their credit card… or that they always pay it off… and I too used to think this way. But as Dave says “it’s 20% the numbers, and 80% behaviour”. Its the behaviours that credit cards create that make them dangerous. You spend more. You rely on ‘VISA’ more than your own self-control and savings.
And for the believers… what are you putting your ‘faith’ in? Your card, or God?
Ever wonder why they call it ‘Master-Card’?
It hasn’t always been easy, but it is getting easier. We haven’t always agreed, but we barely fight about money anymore. It’s certainly a journey, but we actually do feel like we’ve finally (financially) ‘grown up’.
Now those who know me, also know that I could write (and talk) forever about subjects that I’m passionate about. So with so much more to say… but self-control taking hold. I hope that this information can be of benefit to someone, and help give you the encouragement you need to know that you CAN change your circumstances, and your destination. If you have questions about any of the above, or would like details on how we budget etc please let me know.