No! I don’t mean Divorce, either!
No! Not Diarrhea! Gross!
Nope, not Disney Land.
Okay okay, I’ll get to the point!
The big “D” I’m talking about is DEBT!
Such a nasty word! I hate debt. Debt is dumb (as Dave Ramsey likes to say). And that brings me to the meat of this post.
Are ya’ll familiar with Dave Ramsey? If not, I encourage you to check out his site if you are looking for help getting out of debt. It is not a scam or anything like that. Just honest to goodness debt relief advice. Of course he has books and such that you can purchase on his site, but I look to the library for those kinds of things and I have his book “The Total Money Makeover” on reserve right now. It should be in at the beginning of October.
Dave says that you should give to the Lord and to yourself first and no matter what. Even if it’s only $5 a week. It is something. And something is better than nothing. In our case, our savings will probably amount to $5 a week, but we’re okay with that for now.
To begin, there are 10 baby steps that you have to take to start climbing out of debt. The first one is to start an emergency fund. You should have $1000 in your emergency fund so that when life’s little disasters strike and you need a new washer or the car breaks down, you can actually take care of the emergency without putting it on the evil, little plastic card.
I don’t want to put all our personal bi’ness out here on the web, but let me give you a little background on us. 2 years ago, Brian was making $60,000 + a year. Oh we thought we were poor. Poor little me. I drove a new, Dodge Durango with leather and fully loaded. Oh and we could only eat out like once a week. We could only buy new things for the girls once in a while…wah wah wah! Looking back now, I see how totally stupid we were.
Fast forward 2 years and you will find that Brian lost his job. Luckily, a friend was able to help him get a new job, but it was $15,000 a year less than what he was making before. We were thrust into a new lifestyle. We had to sell our nice, new home. Sell the Durango. Sell his truck. Move into our run down, fixer-upper. And now we really know what it’s like to struggle. We’ve had to rely on friends and family more than once, especially with the flood that happened earlier this summer. We were in no way prepared to deal with that!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all. I am so thankful to the Lord for taking care of us. We are still better off than a lot of people. But we’ve learned what it’s like to really struggle. In a way, this whole thing has been a very eye-opening experience.
So, now we are in this position of trying to make ends meet without getting further in debt. It is hard, but we are trying.
So, baby step #1 of Dave’s plan is the emergency fund. But really before that, there are 2 things you really need to do.
First you need to swear off getting into further debt. You can’t get out of it if you keep on borrowing or charging. So, that was our first big decision.
Next, you have to make a budget. I hate budgets. They frighten me. But, you can’t get control if you don’t plan ahead. So, we now have a budget. And it ain’t fancy, but at least we can look ahead and see where the money will go.
So, we now begin the process of trying to come up with the emergency fund. This will be difficult. Especially since when we sat down to do the budget, we found that we barely make enough to pay the bills. But we will get there. It will just take a while. Tax time will help with that.
So, the real reason for this post is that I do believe that when you set goals, you need to get them on paper (even if it’s the virtual kind) and actually make them known to people so that it gives you a little bit of accountability. So, that’s really what I’m doing here.
I will be sure to keep you posted on the progress. And in the meantime, I’m curious if any of you guys budget or do anything like this. Whether it be Dave’s plan or some other way.