Are you tired of living broke? Are you sick of always paying bills and banks only to end up empty-handed? Are you done living paycheck to paycheck? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place. I believe there is a reason you’re reading this blog at this very moment. And although I don’t know what it is, precisely, I can tell you that this blog is here to help improve the lives of others by providing beneficial information, because there is always room to grow. My blog exists for the sole purpose of empowering people to go out in the world, fearlessly conquer their dreams and live their happiest life. (Read more about Paris & June here).
Money is power, and taking control of your hard earned cash is empowering! Money can make your wildest dreams come true, or it can wreck your whole life. True statement! Managing money can create or solve problems. Handle it well, and the golden years in retirement are secure. Mishandle it, and it becomes a terrible and frightening nightmare that will linger longer than the stench of a decomposing body. The truth is many of us don’t know where to even begin. We are ignorant when it comes to how to balance a checkbook, budget for expenses or even how to read a bank statement. Classes on real-life finances are non-existent in middle school, high school or even college. Instead, the idea that debt is normal is shoved down our throat by credit card companies, lenders, and even society itself.
Why am I bringing this up? I recently came across a book titled The Total Money Makeover, and boy do I wish I’d gotten my hands on this little treasure years ago because I would be in an even better place than I am now, financially. The book is written by financial guru Dave Ramsey, who also has a free podcast, a free budget app, a class you can attend and many other helpful resources. First of all, I love to read and second, this book is fantastic you guys. It features a step-by-step guide on how to pay off debt. The steps teach us about setting aside a rainy day fund, then tackling debt with gazelle like intensity, as Dave Ramsey puts it; in the process, we become financially fit by learning the importance of setting a budget, college funding, investing money, saving for retirement and so much more.
Personally speaking, debt makes me feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and I can’t catch my breath; it feels heavy and thinking about it makes me feel sick. When it comes to money management, I am a little nutty, meaning I have spreadsheets with every detail you can think of to keep track of everything, or at least more than my husband. Cecil is more relaxed and therefore, we make a great team. None the less, we are both money conscious and savvy shoppers, and as you can assume managing finances is a significant task in our household. From budgeting for groceries to paying bills to savings for a rainy day and retirement and even budgeting for vacations, we never spend more than we make. It is in our nature to live conservatively, and we are completely ok with that.
After college, we had student loans, and anyone with student loans can attest to the fact that they are a burden. But nobody talks about this. Nobody talks about the fact that they are a real problem. I was never happy with the idea of having student loan debt, but I needed the loans because my full-time job was not enough to pay for an education and living expenses. Upon graduating college, I put my heart and soul into paying for those suckers as fast as possible. Then life happened, and we wanted a house and a car. We bought both. Well, technically speaking, we financed both items because if we could realistically afford them, we would have paid cash. We were never reckless with money, so I thought, “We’re ok. This is normal right?” We paid off our student loans five years after we graduated, got a 15-year mortgage, a couple of small car loans, and we lived off one income because in 2008, the banking industry collapsed and we were all in a financial crisis. We wanted to be safe in case one of us lost our job. I rationalized the mortgage and car loan by thinking “we can afford the payments.” But if I didn’t have any payments then I would have nothing to worry about; that’s why, in the back of my mind, I wanted the debt gone. The problem was, I didn’t have a plan on paper laid out, and this was crucial! If I had strapped down with “gazelle like intensity” and saved for a solid five years, I could have paid for the house and car in cash. I wish I would have read The Total Money Make Over when I was in high school. Dave Ramsey’s steps would have been pivotal for us after college. Fortunately, we were debt free before this gem came into our lives (August 2017). The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t just lay out a plan to get out of debt, it lays out a money-saving plan for three to six months of expenses, college fund, retirement, and investing. Now I have a plan. I started with Dave Ramsey’s guide, but it’s morphed into a massive plan with all my ideas, and I am excited about our future.
Dealing with finances is an extremely personal endeavor and everyone’s road to financial freedom is different. That’s why it is important to do what is best for you and your family. But you should ask yourself, why is it that we allow ourselves to get consumed by the idea that living outside our means is ok? Is there a better way to spend my hard earned money? Am I doing everything I can today, to set my self up for a prosperous future? What can I do differently, that will get me to financial freedom?The Total Money Make Over is the first step to taking back control over your finances. It is a tool that improves the way you view and handle money. Anyone can take useful advice from this book. If you want to get a handle on your finances and live debt free this is the book to buy.
Debt and money management is a real problem, and it’s time that we stepped up and said: “No, debt is not ok!” The path to financial freedom is simple, but it is not easy! With dedication, diligence, drive and persistence, anything can be accomplished. Keep pushing, keep striving and never give up!
Cheers! I hope this book helps you prioritize your money dreams as much as it has helped me. Shoot me over an email if you’re feeling stuck or you don’t know where to begin, or you have questions.
Below are some interesting, surprising and alarming statistics!
Want motivation from others who were on a similar journey? Watch this inspirational video. Courtesy of Ramsey Solutions.