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Story 181 for We Did It
One Down
Original story submitted by Carnigirl
on February 9, 2011
Gender: female
on February 9, 2011
One Down
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Our reason for wanting to be Weird!
Our reason for wanting to be Weird!
I bought TMMO in 2008 and started with the zero based budget. My husband and I had really got into the grove of things when he received orders for D.C. So in November of 2009 we made the move and ever since then our money has been out of control. We let the move and the new arrival to our family justify the out of control spending, until now. We are back on the budget starting February first and a few days ago paid off our first credit card. It was a low limit card but man does it feel great to know we are back on track. Last week I started a new job and we are gazelle intense about living like no one else. Thank you Dave for becoming such a huge part of changing our family tree. Can't wait to be in your studio shouting that WE are DEBT FREE!
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Story 182 for We Did It
Heart Change
Original story submitted by Beth
on January 28, 2011
Gender: female
on January 28, 2011
Heart Change
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Our family
Our family
I recently went to Target and came out with exactly the two (unexciting) items for which I went in. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty big deal for me! I love Target. Proximity to Target has always been one of my biggest ‘must-haves’ whenever we’ve chosen a new place to live. When I’m having a bit of a down day, I pick myself up and go to Target. Target is my happy place. In my pre-Dave Ramsey days I would go to Target and aimlessly spend money just because it was fun. You get it right? We all have our vices. Target has always been one of mine. Imagine how proud I was to just go in, get an ink cartridge and a baby birthday present and leave. It was a victory. A victory over my heart. Dave calls it behavior change, but I’m calling it a heart change.
It’s great to be ‘gazelle‘ for a while to get out of debt, but if my heart doesn’t change, if I continue to to long for the day when I can go to Target and mindlessly blow $175 for the fun of it again, what’s the point? I have always lacked the ability to say no to myself when it came to buying small things that I really don’t need. I’m really good at justifying little fun $20 items that add up quickly. Back when we were spending on credit cards, it was always, “Well we’re already racking up all this debt just to survive, so what’s another $20?” More recently, my justification sounds like, “Well this is a really good deal so it’s ok to break the budget, we always have a little bit left over between checks so it’s ok,” or, “This is a ‘Miscellaneous’ item. It is… Really!” Or the best one, “Beth Dreyer Photography (my business) wants to buy this for me.” That one really irks my husband.
All of my recent excuses can get me by because they all involve spending money in cash or on a debit card. But I don’t want to just get by! I want to move forward! Just because I have the money doesn’t mean I have to spend it. The Baby Steps state that after you get out of debt (and we’re getting really close!), you then focus your financial energy towards stashing up a 3-6 month emergency fund. Then if like us you haven’t yet purchased a home, you save up a sizable down payment and buy a house with a 15 year loan (although he really encourages people to save up and pay cash for a home!). After that you begin to invest 15% of your income for retirement. This may be obvious but it me hard – that doesn’t stop until you retire. Then once you’re doing that you start saving for your kids’ college. Then focus on paying off your home early. Then and only then (when you’re ready to give your kids a cash-funded college education and your house is paid off) do you get to relax. Until then you’re supposed to be living on considerably less than you make – oh and saving up and paying cash for all your cars. With the amount of money we’re making right now, there’s not a whole lot of room in there for aimless Target spending.
Now I’m not in any way shape or form saying that if you’re not on Dave’s plan you’re wrong or bad or irresponsible, I’m just telling you what we’ve decided for ourselves. We are in this for the long haul and we believe that they day will come when we will be overwhelmingly thankful to ourselves for saying no to Target.
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Story 183 for We Did It
GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
Original story submitted by whitka
on January 23, 2011
Gender: female
on January 23, 2011
GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
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Friends forever
Friends forever
I am a 58 year old RN who never knew how to manage money. I lost my job in California (blessing), so I moved to Raleigh NC to be close to my best friend and her family. The day after I arrived I got a job at a local hospital. One year ago, I admitted to my friend that I was in financial crisis, and I did not know how to get out from under my 30,000 + debt. In less than one year my dear friend took over my finances and today I am debt free. We did this together and she taught me along the way. So you really can teach OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS. Thank you Dave Ramsey for being OUR inspiration.... I am DEBT FREE!!!
KAY
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Story 184 for We Did It
We're Debt-Free
Original story submitted by Groo
on January 22, 2011
Gender: male
on January 22, 2011
We're Debt-Free
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After many many many years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, we are extremely excited and proud to announce that WE’RE DEBT-FREE! I sold my awesome truck today, which left us with nothing but the house to pay off now. Trust me on this one, if I can do it.. You can do it. All the effort is well worth this amazing feeling of not having to owe any money to anyone anymore. I would like to personally thank Dave Ramsey for encouraging us to go the extra mile to get to this place in life.
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Story 185 for We Did It
More to This than Meets the Eye
Original story submitted by Clay
on January 18, 2011
Gender: male
on January 18, 2011
More to This than Meets the Eye
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When we got married 7 months ago and a week after graduation, we were the proud, unemployed owners of $38,000 in student debt. For some reason, though, we just weren't crazy about clinging to that "good debt" with its attractive interest rate of 6.25%. Even the free spirit in us wanted that monkey off of our backs, and thanks to our campus pastor, premarital counselor and friend, we had a plan. During engagement, we developed a prospective budget with our prospective income and realized that our best chance might be prospecting for Gold. Prayer turned out to be a better use of our time, however.
Shortly before the wedding, I was offered a job from an insurance agency, which turned out to be an ELP for the Charleston area. My wife would be attending medical school, so the single income would have to be sufficient. And it was. It was enough to cover all expenses, bills, and dinner out once each month. At this rate, however, we would have continued in our debt for 10 years without any substantial savings. We wanted to be gazelle-intense, but we didn't know where to direct our efforts next. As indicated in the title, however, our story is one of Providence and Faith, and the blessings paired with our discipline were about to roll in.
Shortly after the wedding, my wife "remembered" that her grandfather had given savings bonds as gifts throughout her childhood. This first gift taught us the value of compounding interest and slow, steady contribution. All told, her assortment of $25, $50 and $100 bonds provided the first $5,000 bite out of the debt. Instead of loosening the grocery budget or taking a weekend away, we put each penny toward the loans.
The second gift was rent-free living, and it taught us devoted stewardship. With the additional $650 shaved off of our budget each month, we would be able to systematically make additional loan payments. By this time, we had tweaked our budget and gained concept of the value of a dollar. We were living on $1100/month and bringing in enough to pay thousands toward the debt. With our new plan, it was going to take as little as 3 years to become debt-free.
The third and final gift was a whole-life policy, which taught us humility as well as financial wisdom. Being the faithful ELP that he is, my boss had made it clear to me that a sound Life insurance strategy is one of disciplined investing complemented by Term coverage. We were humbled to discover that the Whole Life policy would nearly cover our remaining balance and that it would take just a few more months to arrive at step 4: retirement saving. After applying for term policies to replace the whole life policy, we received our surrender check in the mail and joyfully bid adieu to Sallie Mae. Just two weeks ago, it was finished.
We count ourselves very fortunate in our short and narrow road to freedom, but we hope that our story is an encouragement that faithful stewardship and discipline can open the door for unexpected blessing. Don't mistake this for a prosperity Gospel, however. I only hope to give credit where it is due. A good wife, a steady job, the example of discipline displayed by our families: all are gifts from God. We only had to decide what to do with them.
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Story 186 for We Did It
We just crossed the finish line!!!
Original story submitted by Jeff
on January 13, 2011
Gender: male
on January 13, 2011
We just crossed the finish line!!!
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Two and a half years ago I remember listening to my first Dave Ramsey podcast while mowing my lawn in the middle of summer time. It happened to be a Friday episode so everyone was calling in and shouting "We're Debt Free!!!" Instantly, I was hooked on the show. I started listening more and more and developed Dave's tactics into our monthly budget. We had $47,000 in debt including a car loan, a kitchen renovation, a second mortgage, and a few other small debts. The monthly payments were manageable for us but my wife and I wanted the debt gone for good! We started our debt snowball in the summer of 2009 by paying off a flat screen TV we had purchased. After that debt was paid off, we used that monthly payment coupled with the money that we started our debt snowball with and started attacking our next biggest debt. Before we knew it that was gone. Today we sit here having paid off a total of $47,552.00 in 31 months. We still have the mortgage on our house as we are only 28 years old but just refinanced it to a 15 year loan with an interest rate that is unbeatable. God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl in October and it feels great knowing that we can enjoy her without the stress of money hovering over our heads. We are putting back 15% of our annual income into retirement and are looking forward to starting a college fund for our daughter. Thank you Dave and team, your ministry is excellent.
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Story 187 for We Did It
But for the Grace of God
Original story submitted by Holly
on January 4, 2011
Gender: female
on January 4, 2011
But for the Grace of God
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My husband and I have received so much Grace, it's overwhelming. We've worked hard for the past 18 months to pay off $40,000 in student loans (our only debt, thankfully). We're continuing to work and sacrifice so that we can pay cash for medical school, which I'll start in July (getting in was Grace enough). What I didn't expect, and what has humbled me the most in following Dave's plan, is the amazing Grace God has shown us, presumably because we're working hard to be good stewards of what He gives us. While we were paying off the debt, and even now as we're looking at what we have in savings versus tuition, it's sometimes hard for me to look at the tithe line of our budget because that big chunk of our income would go a long way, but let me tell you, we've been more than blessed for following God's plan. This morning, I found an unexpected and significant surplus in our budget, and while I was writing the email to tell my husband, he was writing an email to me that his company's stock, which they automatically buy for employees, had gone way up and they were sending us a very large check. Grace overwhelming. I don't believe the idea that if you give God a dollar, He'll give you ten, but I do believe He blesses you for your giving, and He knows what you need better than anyone. If you were like me, if you tense up over trusting God by giving your hard-earned money to His Kingdom, I just wanted to encourage you that He is big enough and He will take care of you.
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Story 188 for We Did It
30K debt, Italy and a Home
Original story submitted by robs
on December 28, 2010
Gender: female
on December 28, 2010
30K debt, Italy and a Home
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Us in Tuscany
Us in Tuscany
Josh and I married in May 2008. I was debt-free with no real financial knowledge, but inherited his school loans, some credit card debts, and soon enough 2 car payments, totaling about $30,000. I was still too in love to realize how much this would impact our life. By August, Josh declared that we would be starting the cash envelope system and set up a budget for us to follow. He had read Total Money Makeover and knew what to do. I was mad about having to touch dirty dollar bills and having to go inside gas stations to pay for fuel. I wanted to resist him, but he asked me to try it out for 3 months and I agreed.
Soon enough, I received a raise and a promotion at work and got excited to plug the new numbers into our budget - that's when I took over the management of our finances! I learned about saving pennies and living below our means. I read Total Money Makeover about a year into budgeting and was inspired even more. We paid off all of our debt within two years! It was time to start saving.
We knew the next steps would be an emergency fund, saving up for a home down payment, and starting a family, but we wanted to have a little fun first. In three months, we saved enough to vacation in Italy for 10 days, which was the time of our life. In five months, our emergency fund was complete. It's amazing how much money you can save if you spend about 30 minutes a month maintaining your budget! Our friends and family are really impressed with how quickly we've been able to come so far. We credit the Lord first, and Dave second for giving practical advice to help us out.
We're now about 7 months away from completing our down payment fund and feel so great about being debt-free. We're ready for the family, too. Thanks be to God, and thanks to Dave Ramsey as well!
Robin and Josh
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Story 189 for We Did It
Step 7 By Age 30
Original story submitted by The Joyners
on December 28, 2010
Gender: male
on December 28, 2010
Step 7 By Age 30
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Yesterday, my wife and I started putting money into a 529 account for our new daughter (who came 3 months ago). We have already been saving 15% for retirement and we paid off the house this past April. And we both turned 30 this year. We are so excited and feel totally free from debt and financial worry. Much of our focus and momentum has been spurred on by Dave and his advice.
This has not been an easy road. About 8 years ago, just before we got married, we both graduated from a private liberal arts college with over $20,000 in debt. We then both attended a graduate seminary. But we were determined to pay for life with cash, so we each worked 70-80 hours a week each summer in a challenging (but rewarding) sales program and paid cash for seminary and paid off our undergraduate debt by the time we graduated from seminary.
By the end of 2007 we both worked full time, but we maintained a "seminary student" lifestyle. We ate cheap, went without internet and TV (we still don't have a TV), drove a paid-for 2001 Toyota Corolla (and still do), and bought clothes and furniture at thrift stores and yard sales (nice stuff, if you ask me). We rented as cheap as possible, socking away one income while living off the other. We did that for two years and bought a beautiful house that needed a little work in Richmond, VA for $88,000. We paid that off in 10 months with the money we had saved while renting and during the 10 months of the mortgage. We have paid cash for all the house fix-ups. Our family income in 2007 was $47,000 and it grew to almost $120,000 in 2010.
Our daughter came as a long-awaited answer to prayer. She was born in September 2010 after almost 5 years of waiting and praying for a child. By God's grace, we can welcome her into a completely debt-free family and look ahead to helping her with education as well.
Since we are debt-free, my wife just quit her job in order to stay at home with our daughter. Our income will drop significantly, but our lifestyle is still well below the means of the one income on which we'll live.
My wife and I have more than enough peace and joy in our lives right now. We have found freedom in being content with less.
Thanks Dave for all your advice and I hope this encourages someone out there that it can be done!
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Story 190 for We Did It
Debt Free Yes!
Original story submitted by melo69
on December 15, 2010
Gender: female
on December 15, 2010
Debt Free Yes!
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My story is I have credit card debt that I can only pay the minimum. My church offered the class The Financial Peace University and I decided to take it. I missed quite a few of the classes and did not get my certificate the first go round. My instructor Bob Moak in Augusta, Ga at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church let me take only the classse I missed and I was able to get my certificate and graduate from Financial Peace Univ. I payed off my credit card debt by using timber money which I and 2 other grandchildren inheirted from our grandfather. I have money leftover to use for this years property taxes. We did a thinning of the trees on the property and the money is divided 3 ways. It would have taken me forever to have done it Dave's way but I was making progress doing the debt snowball. I am now "living like no one else" and it feels wonderful! Debt free is great! I no longer use credit cards. I use my debit card and that is it. Dave's program helped me to learn that you have to be very careful with credit cards because it is a loan with a very high interest rate. Dave's program also helped me to live within my salary and to develop a budget.
Thank You for giving me the tools and movitation to help myself!
Melissa Leonard, Augusta, Ga.
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