I am so thankful to be married to the man I am. When we got married, he wisely said that all the wedding money we received was to be put into our retirement account. WHAT???? We can’t spend it to buy furniture for our new life? Can’t use it to buy something nice to start our house? We’re saving for 50 years down the road? I thought he was crazy but moved on.
Him being an officer in the Navy was great! Yes, we had to endure deployments and high plane ticket prices and HUGE phone bills since this was the dawn of emails and cell phones. Before Facebook and texting. But the pay was good. Because Daryl traveled so much, I was put in charge of the finances. We established some basic financial rules. Started saving for retirement, paying into IRA’s, kids’ college accounts, saving for cars and didn’t have credit card debt. We always had enough money at the end of the month. All was good financially… or so I thought.
We did Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course in about 2010. This course over-inflated my ego on our financial health. Since we were not in any debt, I was able to put a large amount of money into
savings for when D retired from the Navy and we bought our “forever home.”
Daryl retired from the Navy at the end of 2013. At the same time, we moved onto our “patch of heaven” on his family’s farm. With the savings I started, we were able to put a large down payment on the building of our custom home. We were able to pay cash for a new ATV. I could spend, spend, spend all this money that I had saved.
We have raised our animals for all our meat the last 3 years. We buy as much as we can locally and organically. And because we are worth it, I just spend. I am not saying this isn’t important. I just haven’t done it wisely. If we don’t eat it, I can just give it to the pigs and chickens. That’s just one way I’m not being wise.
I always thought I was frugal. We don’t wear name brand clothes, we don’t have car payments, we don’t eat out as much as the “Jones,” we don’t waste a lot by going to the movies, having expensive toys, etc. We are better than most with money. Or so I thought.
Ha! I received quite the awakening. And it wasn’t just one. So now we sit here with the mess of my making. 2 credit cards almost maxed out and a large home loan. I sometimes have trouble making it to the end of the month so I put more on the cards.
My oldest is starting her sophomore year of high school. She wants to be a vet. When Daryl and I discussed having children, he said it’s our responsibility to prepare them for the world by paying for their college. It’s coming soon. Thankfully we started the savings when she was born but there is still a lot to go.
I also have wanted travel trailer so that we could road trip/camp. She has 3 years left with us and I haven’t purchased it and were’s the money going to come from???
SO, it’s time to pull up my big girl panties and get us out of debt.
Here is my first step.
In July, I purchased the Dave Ramsey app called Every Dollar. The reason I bought the app instead of using the free version is that I wanted to link my bank accounts into the app. I do most of my purchases with a debit card since I knew I was bad with cash. This program lists every purchase I make and I am able to put it under the correct categories. It shows me how much I have left to spend or how much I overspent in each category. After watching what we spent for the month, this month, I’ll have a better idea of how to budget for things or even cut our spending in that area.
I did Dave Ramsey before but I never accounted for each of my dollars. I went by how much was left in the bank account. Pure foolishness.
We have had Quicken before. I did not like it at all. As a homeschooling mother, I know that different brains react to different styles. Quicken is not my style.
What I love about Every Dollar is that it is like a game. I set my goals and can I beat it? I entered in where every dollar should go and then I see how much “free” money is unaccounted for. For the next few months, every “free” dollar is going to pay off debt.
August already has some challenges. My oldest starts at the community college and tuition is due. We had a huge unexpected legal fee last month (all part of farming and owning land AND I didn’t have much of an emergency fund). Our son got braces and starts monthly payments. And our county fair is this month which adds up to huge spending when kids are in it and we have to be there almost every day for 10 days.
But with Every Dollar, I am able to budget for that and it just means I am not able to put as large amount towards our debt.
What I like about Dave Ramsey is “baby steps.” I am taking small steps in the right direction. And I will celebrate the small steps I do make, instead of feeling defeated by the mess we made.