Okay folks...WE DID IT!
**RE POST from February 10, 2011 with an update!
As of Friday, March 23, 2012 - WE ARE DEBT FREE!
Whew! This has been 29 months in the works, but we actually followed through, which is why I felt it pretty significant to re post the original entry. Many people, me being included, start out on different (ad)ventures, having a long term goal, and because it is a long term goal, give up. However, I am proud to say that because of my awesome husband, we have conquered our debt! We have (kind of) lived like no one else, so we can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!
Over the last 29 months, there have certainly been highs, lows, struggles, but most of all, the feeling of accomplishment. The beauty with this plan is if you happen to be an "instant gratification" kind of person such as I, those feelings of accomplishment come fairly frequently - each time you sign your name to that check or hit "send" on the computer for that final payment of each debt! Words cannot adequately explain what that feeling is like for us, and I cannot wait until this Friday, to make that final payment. And yes, I am writing this two days before it happens, so many of you might be thinking "well, what if it doesn't happen?" That is the absolute beauty with Dave Ramsey's plan. We are planned to the penny, and we are CERTAIN it will happen! Even in the event of a crisis...remember...emergency fund!
So, having said all of that, I really need to express some gratitude. First, I am so thankful for God for allowing us to be diligent throughout this process; for providing jobs for Todd and me, plus extra earning opportunities. Thank you to my wonderful husband for pushing me when I wanted to quit, for hanging in there when I totally screwed up, and for not divorcing me when I screamed at him.
And a HUGE thank you to Dave Ramsey - For sharing your simple thoughts with HUGE impacts! Because you took the time to sit down and write these thoughts into a book, which has now become your empire, you have changed our lives forever. You often said that people would look at us like we were crazy, and yes, I can totally understand that now, because it happened quite a lot, but now I can look back at those people and tell them that it worked! It is not just a temporary fix, it is permanent, because we say so!
We are currently working with Dave's team to set a date that Todd, Stephen, and I can go to Nashville again. This time, we will be going to Dave Ramsey's studio to proclaim the long awaited words - WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone, please stop this insanity that has overtaken me! After our visit to Nashville this weekend, something strange happened to me. Now I am not only facebooking, O-M-Gosh, I have registered for an account on twitter, and now I am blogging again! I must be losing my mind.
It has to be from this experience in Nashville. I just got so pumped up, I cannot help myself! If you are not my friend on facebook, you have no idea what I am talking about. If you are my friend on facebook, you probably have some idea, so you are going to hear the whole story...trust me, it is worth sharing!
About a year and a half ago, my husband mentioned the name "Dave Ramsey" to me. At the time, it didn't really mean anything. Little did I know, Dave Ramsey is the epitome of the term "financial genius." So, Todd started doing his homework, and I downloaded Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (TMMO)to my Kindle. Our journey began the last week of October, 2009.
Todd and I both knew we made good money, but as many of us can say, we could not show you where our money was going. We were making it, but had nothing left over to show for it. And it is not that we couldn't manage our money, we just didn't.
With every page of the TMMO, I found myself saying to myself, "oh gosh Robin, you know that," "you can do that," "duh." So, Todd and I sat back down together and decided as a family that we were going forward to become debt free! Yeah right, you may be thinking, but Dave's motto is "Live like no one else, so you can Live like no one else."
The TMMO includes 7 baby steps.
(In my words):
1. Emergency fund of $1,000
2. Debt snowball
3. 3-6 month living expenses emergency fund
4. Invest 15% of your income for retirement
5. College savings for your children
6. Pay off your home
7. Building wealth
Seems a little overwhelming, right? Well, we are currently at baby step 2, and yes, at times, it has been overwhelming...but so worth it!
It took us a month to reach baby step one. Then came the budget. Ugh! The very thought of that gave me nightmares! But then we wrote everything down on paper, wow! We really do make good money (not bragging, it was a wake up call). Our next step was to write down our debt from smallest owed to largest -- NOT BY INTEREST RATE! That was extremely depressing. Even though we didn't have a lot of debt, we had A LOT of DEBT!
Our budget has to be what I call a zero balance budget. That means that after you right down everything you pay out a month in bills, you leave in the bank, then what you need for living expenses (i.e. gas, groceries, babysitter, etc.), comes out in cash. Your checking account is solely used for bills, not to carry over money, because during this process, you do not carry over money. Scary, huh?
Any extra money that you have during the month is paid on that smallest bill. After that is paid off, you take all of that money and apply it to your second smallest bill. It begins a snowball effect which gets larger and larger every time you pay something off. See, pretty much common sense. AND IT WORKS! To date, we have paid $42,000 of debt. Yes, you read that correctly. In 14 1/2 months, we have paid that much money toward our debt snowball. Like I said, even though I may have thought we were not in debt, yeah, I was wrong! We still have about 14 months to go, but we are getting there. And trust me, it gets easier after the adjustment period of about 3 - 4 months.
So that is the background. Now about how Nashville gave me such an epiphany to become more socially connected. Todd asked me several months ago if I would be interested in seeing Dave Ramsey in person. Oh, you don't have to ask me twice, where do I sign up?
This past weekend, we had the privilege of sitting second row at a five hour live Dave Ramsey show! Yes, I said f-i-v-e hour...and I would have stayed another five hours! This man is so energetic and charismatic! Whew! I wanted to jump up and shout. Wait a second, I did jump up and shout, several times!
Even though we have been living this program for over a year, the show brought it to a whole new level for me. Dave does not take credit for any of his ideas! He said - several times - that he got all of his ideas from God and grandma, and that he is just a good teacher. Wow! That was simply amazing to me. He quoted scripture, talked about the importance and power of prayer, told everyone if they hadn't talked to God in a while, they needed to because God missed them. Isn't that the truth? There were 10,000 people at this conference, so 10,000 people heard his message!
Dave Ramsey tweets, as I have now discovered that many people or groups tweet. About the only thing I will ever "tweet" is this blog, but it is nice to open it up and be inspired several times a day. It also was one of the pressing factors for me to start blogging again. If I can touch someones life in any positive way, even if it is just one person, I want to do that!
I could write forever about him and this program, but I won't. I just wanted to share a little portion of the wonderful program that everyone could do, if they need or want to. You can learn more about all of his programs by visiting http://www.daveramsey.com/.
And now you have more information than you ever wanted to know, but when I mention TMMO or Dave Ramsey in my posts, you will know what I am talking about! :)