This week I got my hands on a Dave Ramsey book called Total Money Makeover.As a salute to the concepts, I borrowed it instead of rushing off to buy it with money I don’t have.
My brother and his wife introduced me to Ramsey years ago when they took a Financial Peace class – another book and study that Ramsey has authored. Bradley and Beth were very inspired by it and without doubt, it has changed their lives. Recently my friend Alison reminded me of the wisdom of his ideas, and I’m glad she did.
Ramsey’s idea is that no one has to live a life with debt. In fact, he contends, if you rid your life of debt, you will be happier, freer, and richer. Our culture feeds and nurtures the idea that you can have what you want when you want it, and also the concept that ‘debt is a tool.’ Ramsey argues both these points and gives a blueprint for how to get out of debt (yes, all of it) and how to move toward building wealth. His goal isn’t just to have money, but to have money to give away. He supports much of his approach with God’s word, as well as advice he’s gotten from “your grandmother.” In the past, saving was much more popular than it is today. Last year’s financial crisis should have brought all of us to our knees and forced us to live lives of a more reasonable standard of living. This may have happened for some, but I haven’t seen the dramatic turnaround in society’s attitude that I was hoping for.
We’ve climbed out of some nasty debt, partially due to Ramsey’s information.Now I’m ready to take on his ideas full force and really commit to living without credit cards and, hopefully, to delay gratification until I have saved up for the things I want.I haven’t had any money to spend the last few weeks anyway. I might as well make this a conscious exercise in self-control.I am really motivated by what this could mean for us as a family.
We’ll see how it goes.Ramsey stresses over and over again – this is hard.This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.This is not something that will happen this month.It’s a complete change in lifestyle and person.It takes months and, really, a lifetime.Meanwhile, I’m selling everything I can find in my house that I don’t really need or feel sentimental about.The first step is to build up an emergency fund of $1000 (cause emergencies will happen, and my credit card shouldn’t pay for them).Then I can start, little by little, paying off outstanding debts for good, and not reopening those accounts again.
Sounds kindof crazy, doesn’t it? Yep. Doable? I think so. I know people who are doing it, and I’m reading about a lot more. They are people my age with way more debt than I have, and they’ve made it work. With God – we can probably do it too.