Thursday, December 31, 2009

Screaming on Dave Ramsey

Around three or four years ago, we discovered Dave Ramsey. We attended Financial Peace University, a class which contains very good advice on managing expenses and getting out of debt. We agreed with the ideas, but it was difficult changing our habits on our own. So, two years later, we hired a personal financial counselor for six months. He helped us tremendously by evaluating our personal financial situation, showing us our "stinking thinking" in some areas, and challenging us to shift our paradigms where acquiring payments is concerned. (I can still hear that guy in my head, which is a good thing.) At that point, we rededicated ourselves to paying off credit card debt, which had gotten to $17,000. Throw in our car note, and the total at the time was $21,000 actually it was more like $25,000 with the car note-- little math error there. Read my previous personal finance posts here.

Anyhoo, all that background to say-- we are still working toward freedom from financial debt. We listen to Dave's show whenever it is on and we are in the van, and just love hearing people tell their stories and scream, "We're debt free!" with their families. We want to be one of those families next December. (Even the kids. When we hear a family scream, one of the girls will say, "That's gonna be us some day," or "When do you think we'll get to do that, Mom?")

Our total amount of credit card debt stands at $10,820, around $900 less than it was in August. With the car note (which is scheduled to be paid in full within seven months) our total to pay off by December is $13,420.

$3,685 of that is with the wicked company that refused to lower its usurious rate of 29.99% last August. Needless to say, this is the account on which we pay extra. It is my goal to have it completely cleaned up and closed by the end of February, and I think we can do it with a tax refund and Mr. Honey's bonus. This account costs us around $100 in finance charges every month. (Contrast that with $11 per month interest on the car note and $60 per month on the other credit card account-- the account that carries the bulk of our debt!)

Once we get that monster out of the way, the snowball ought to speed down the hill, yippee! As long as we stay focused. As long as *I* stay focused. Summer and fall are our most expensive seasons of the year, so we must be very gazelle-intense this winter and spring if we are to meet this goal.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have not been gazelle-intense like Dave says to be. We have let trips and gift purchases and lovely books get in the way. Murphy has hit us with theft and health issues and car repairs. But if we keep plugging away at it, we will have this debt gone by the end of the year. We will be *that family* screaming, "We're debt free!" on Dave Ramsey next December.

Prayers would be wonderful. If you feel so led, will you pray that I will be disciplined in the little things, that Mr. Honey be kept from temptation regarding occasional large purchases, that the kids will be patient with our frequent "no" to their financial requests, that I will be able to say "no" cheerfully, that the van's engine and transmission will stay healthy, that the house and appliances will remain in good shape, that ill health will not interfere, that Mr. Honey's job will continue stable, and that, whatever happens, we will keep our focus on the Lord.

Mr. Honey's sales position has remained remarkably stable during this time of economic crisis, which is a blessing from the Lord. He has given Mr. Honey determination and stamina to work harder and harder in order to be one of the salesmen that keeps his job, and He continues to provide sales.

We gotta do this. It is hard, and it takes so long, but in a way I am glad it is taking a long time-- I do not ever want to go back to a debt lifestyle, and all these struggles are changing us into people who want to avoid that bondage more than we want stuff. At least, I pray it is so. I see the little ways I sabotage our efforts, and find one more thing to work on. All these 'one more things' add up to a different way of thinking that I hope we will maintain for the rest of our lives, giving us more ability to be a blessing to others.


Emily said...

I prayed for your family when you first divulged the start of your journey from financial bondage, and will gladly do so once more, Katie. We're having a tough time ourselves as a one-income family with a self-employed husband, a slow season (he's a commercial painter), and checks from jobs he's completed not coming in fast enough to meet the bills. Mortgage is late, blah blah blah.

My advice to you, "Keep your eyes on the prize!" To paraphrase Paul, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your journey - it's well worth the effort!

Katie said...

Thank you for the encouragement! I think our motivation has sagged for the past few months, but I feel it getting strong again.

Mrs. H said...

We are starting the Dave ramsey classes in February!


Katie said...

Go, Mr. and Mrs. H! I pray the Lord will bless your efforts!