In PART ONE I talked about the possibility of living without debt and told you the beginning of my financial story. I also shared the link to the reviews of The Total Money Makeover in case you wanted to check them out HERE and HERE. .
For PART II I want to share with you the three lessons Dave Ramsey has taught me over the years. These are my three tips that will help you get Debt Free.
1. Make a choice. Have a plan. Learn all you can.
When we first got married my amazing hubby soaked up Dave's plan and made THE CHOICE that this was it. We both graduated and thanks mostly to me, our finances were in shambles. I had credit card debt for clothes that were probably at Goodwill, thousands and thousands in student loans for a degree I never ended up using, a loan for our wedding that was over, two car payments and only one of us had a stable job. Debt was not the best way to start our new lives together.
I admit that I was NOT on board at first. It seemed extreme! We just got married, I wanted to spend money decorating the house and buy new furniture, I needed a new computer because I was starting grad school. My hubby was persistent because our future was at stake. Our kids [who were at the moment just a dream], their future was at stake. I eventually got on board. I got a $7 an hour job and we did the PLAN. The Total Money Makeover Plan. We were going to snowball the debt. We would sit down every few months with the budget sheets and tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
I finally read the book and took it all in. I LEARNED all I could. I read the success stories and dreamed about our success one day. Dreamed that we would have financial freedom. I learned about loaning people people, about interest, savings, retirement. We saved, spent, sacrificed, and snowballed. We started as newlyweds on this journey, it took years, but...
2. Be Ready to SACRIFICE
If you think the way I use to, you will think this plan is too extreme. It is extreme, but that's what it takes. I had to decide every time I wanted to get back into debt for a car, or a trip. This sacrifice was for something more important.
It took sacrifice. Don't get me wrong, in Dave's plan you get to have "fun money" but it was budgeted. That first year we were married, there wasn't enough fun money to buy all new furniture or our first Christmas tree with all the trimmings. When we moved to Germany we couldn't have it all. We could either travel or we could buy a new custom BMW. We spent most of our fun money on travel over the stuff.
To get to where we are now, we had to make sacrifices. We had to make a choice, one thing over another. We didn't have to give up everything. We still had lots of fun in those early years and enjoyed the fruits of our labor, but I learned then that I can't have it all. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
3. NEVER say NEVER
We always tell our kids CAN'T is not a word and yet we so easily use it in our own lives. I remember the first year we were doing "the plan" I was sitting around with co-workers chatting. I remember them saying it's impossible. You can't live without having all those payments and loans.
Where there is a will there is a way! What made me realize that I CAN'T was really just I WON'T was when when we saved up enough money to buy a brand new car in cash. The dealer looked at our young faces and thought we were crazy. Who buys a new car in cash when you can finance at such a low interest rate??? It wasn't the BMW, but not having to pay 5 years of interest [about $7,500 extra dollars] on a car makes it worth it. We got to take it off the lot and it was ours. That day my faith grew. That day I knew it is POSSIBLE.
One day I dream about us owning our own home and I know it will take years to save. We will probably have to get a 15 year fixed loan for it. It may not be Pinterest perfect, but it will be ours and we will get to pass it on to our kids.
I tell you my story because I hope is it encourages you to know that YOU can live without a pile of payments. As Dave says, imagine how much money you could give every month, save every month, and spend every month if you didn't have payments [It's about $1,850 a month for a typical 40,000/yr income]. You can live without payments. I want you to know that if you start Dave Ramsey's plan and commit to it, over the years you'll see the impossible become possible. There is no greater freedom than living financially free and being able to pass that freedom onto your kids.