We Owe a DEBT of Gratitude to Dave Ramsey
My husband and I have been married for almost ten years and have struggled with debt for probably 9.5 of 10 of those years.
I'm just going to put it plainly.
WE ARE STUPID.
Not stupid people. Just stupid about money.
I can tell you from personal experience that debt places a heavy, stifling burden on a marriage. It's just ugly and so so unnecessary with all the other junk a marriage has to endure to survive.
Without going into too great of detail, my husband and I have finally decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and we are putting an end to the viciousness that is "debt". 2013 is our year! And I'm happy to report that for the first time in ten years, good things, at least concerning debt, are happening.
We are working TOGETHER. In the past, we have both tried to dig our way out, only we each tried to do it our own ways. The result was two people standing in a hole, sweating furiously, and just throwing a lot of dirt on top of each other. All that ensued was anger, frustration, despair, and even more debt.
This time we are doing it Dave Ramsey's way. We have been reading his book, "Total Money Makeover", at night before we go to bed. Not only are we learning how to handle our money, but we have a chance to spend time together and communicate. Sans four little ones. I am loving this for so many reasons.
We are following Dave's "Baby Steps". We have promised each other that we will not borrow money EVER AGAIN. We even shook on it. We saved up a $1000 emergency fund so we have something to use in case of an emergency instead of going further into debt. (You can't get out of a hole by digging more.) And now we are pushing our "Debt Snowball" down the hill. We are paying off our debts from smallest to largest, building steam with each paid debt.
And guess what?! IT'S WORKING!!! I find myself checking our bank account multiple times a day now, not because I'm scared that there's not going to be enough money there to cover all the bills, but because the bills are covered and then there's still money leftover to pay debt!
We budget now! GASP! And I actually like it!! DOUBLE GASP!! We go over our budget a couple of times a month and I print it out and hang it on our bathroom mirror so that we can look at it every day. I'm a rather visual person. I am most successful with weight loss when I make a plan and hang it somewhere I can see it constantly. This has proven just as successful with budgeting and debt. In fact, I find myself standing in our bathroom often, just staring at the budget sheets. I'm kind of obsessed. It's true that I do have an obsessive personality. For the past couple of years I have obsessed over weight loss. Now I've set my sights on debt. This isn't a bad thing if it's working.
I'm not ready to divulge just how much debt we have to pay off. Maybe I will when it's all paid off and we are ready to declare just as so many other Dave Ramsey fans have, "WE'RE DEBT FREE!". It doesn't really matter what size the debt is, it makes us slaves. Unhappy, frustrated, paranoid slaves. And we are ready to break the bonds that bind us.
That being said, please understand if we aren't as generous this year. If we don't send gifts or Christmas cards or meet up for dinner or go on trips, it's not because we don't love and cherish you. We're just trying to work with "gazelle speed" to "live like no one else NOW so we can live like no one else later". Sometimes it's embarrassing and rather painful, but our hope is someday it will all be worth it and then we can be more generous than we ever dreamed.