Dave Ramsey Would Be Proud (Maybe)

by - 5/24/2018

101 in 1001 #10: Pay off debt. || Completed January 2018

When Jim and I got married, someone kindly gifted us a copy of Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover (and someone else gave us the audiobook!). Jim has always been a good saver and managed his money well, so he was completely on board from day one. Me, on the other hand.... let's just say in my single days I operated by the "spend it til it's gone, then panic until next paycheck" method. Suuuper smart.

It took some convincing to get me to read Mr. Ramsey's book, but since we had the audiobook, I gave in to listening to it on a trip to St. George one weekend. After listening to just a small portion, I could already tell this guy knew what he was talking about, and it didn't take long until I was on board too. 

The biggest thing Dave Ramsey pushes is getting rid of debt. Jim and I both felt strongly about this and I'm glad we did, because over the course of 3.5 years we were able to focus our financial efforts and pay off a looooooot of things! We had car loans, student loans, and other small miscellaneous things that we worked hard to eradicate. While it wasn't always easy (and also super frustrating when crazy things would happen and we couldn't stick to our plan), I'm so glad we did it. Because we followed Dave's advice, not only were we able to pay off all our debt, we were also able to cash-flow the hospital bills after Jack was born (JUST barely, but we made it!). 

It was the best feeling to finally get rid of that last thing on the list!

Hooray.

You'd think I would end the post here, but.... PLOT TWIST. (Aaaaaand a disclaimer: after reading on, you might think I'm cheating by counting this item on my list complete. But I made the list so I'm making my own rules and I say we did it). 

Here's the part where Mr. Dave might not be so proud of us going forward.


Two things happened in the past six months that have dramatically changed our plans:

1. Jim's car was on the verge of death at the beginning of this year, right after we'd paid off our debt! Long story short, it just wasn't going to make it (without investing more money into repairs than we could get selling it), so we decided it was time to say goodbye to the ol' Passat. But, we also knew we didn't want another hunk of junk car that would continue to cost us thousands in repairs all the time. So... we had to bite the bullet and get a modest car loan. A small car payment is more manageable for us right now than thousands of dollars in repairs every 6 months. Our plan was to save up and buy a car with cash, but Jim's car didn't feel like waiting around for that. :) Now we're the proud owners of two Toyota Camry's. And we're hoping they last us a loooooooooooooong time. 

2. Jim is about to start his MBA in the fall, and we feel so strongly that this is the right timing for our family and couldn't be more excited! Dave Ramsey would tell us not to even begin until we had all the tuition money on hand, but..... we don't. We probably couldn't come up with the money (grad school is craaaaazy 'spensive!) for several years at least, and we just don't feel good about waiting that long to start this next phase of our lives. 

So - dun, dun, dun.... we're gonna have to do some student loan action to get through this. 

Sigh. 

BUT - we've learned so many good things and we know we can pay it off quickly and that will always be our goal! Don't shoot me, Dave. If we've learned anything over our almost 4 years of marriage, it's that the plans never go exactly the way we want them to (and most of the time not even close), but it's better to have a plan, in our opinion! We wouldn't be where we are today if there'd been no plans. :)

I must say, I so respect Dave Ramsey's ideas and teachings and I think people are uber smart for following him to the letter. He knows what he's talking about and he's gotten a lot of people out from under crippling financial debt. One of the BEST things I've learned from him is the importance of keeping a budget (see: my single days where I did the OPPOSITE of budgeting). I honestly wish we could completely cash-flow this grad school experience for Jim right now but it's just not possible. But I also think it's important to work out what's right for you and your family. Even though Dave would disagree, borrowing money for school isn't Satan's idea :). And although it isn't fun, sometimes it's the only way to make it work. We feel like it's the right decision for us and will ultimately be a good investment in our future.

So, here's to one month of being debt free before we bought a car. And looking forward to when we can be debt free again. Maybe I'll put this goal on another 101 in list in a few years. :) Woohoo!

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