One of my life list items is to get rid of debt. In order to get us there – we are still plugging away at Dave Ramsey’s “91 days to Financial Peace Course”. We haven’t exactly been the ideal “Financial Peacers” (I mean, Christmas and my 40th birthday both occured over the last couple of weeks, come on!) – but we have changed some behaviors in regard to our spending.
I’m sorry about the delay in giving you an update of the process. I plan to review notes and share AHA! moments from time to time, but here’s a little food for thought.
The first thing we learned was to put about $1,000 in an emergency fund so that when we had a true emergency like unexpected car repairs (not a sale at Chicos) – we don’t have to put the expense on a credit card. Next we started to chip away at our debt. Still working on this one – but we’re making progress. Next we’ll build a bigger emergency fund and then start building wealth. Dave calls them baby steps. I call them a pain in the arse. But they work.
Here’s a little of what we’ve learned so far:
1. Budgets must be reworked every month and paid attention to almost every day. This is what I don’t like….the constant attention the budget wants. It’s like a whiny child and since I already have two kids – it was hard to find time to spend on another one! But we’ve started to talk about expenses before, during and after they occur so nothing is a big surprise anymore. In the beginning we needed to talk all the time and it seemed like everything was scrutinized.
But the good thing: the more we talk, the less we need to talk (about the budget, that is). Meaning – we’re getting into a rhythm of what’s going on…what we know will be out of the question, what expense might be possible. And since we’re planning more ahead we’re discussing things instead of putting out fires. The discussions are becoming less intense. (Although the “We can’t get you a Vespa for your birthday” chat wasn’t that fun. I admit I threw myself a little fit…it wasn’t my proudest moment.)
2. People spend a lot of money on a lot of nothing. (I’m sure I spent the equivalent of several Vespas at Target alone last year.) This makes me mad! Although some creature comforts are important – I’d like to have some big-time experiences and/or really cool things instead of a lot of little things.
3. People go into debt faster than fast because they don’t have health insurance or life insurance. Many people in class talked about how they are broke because they are trying to take care of their elderly parents who don’t have money or insurance and can’t afford the assisted living/nursing home care that they need.
This is kind of an overview of what comes to mind right now. But we have class again tomorrow and I’ll share any nuggets I pick up.
(financial) Peace Out.