Dave Ramsey http://www.daveramsey.com/ Real Life Money Stories en-us Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:02:15 CST 180 Saturday Sunday Dave Says - February 20, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-20 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-20 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:02:53 CST After listening to your show, I want to try to get control of my finances, but I'm afraid to open up the bills... You'll wish you started yesterday http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107726 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107726 Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:37:54 CST My fiance and I were struggling to understand where our money was going. Trying to save up money for a down payment on our house, we needed to quickly get our finances together. We have successfully saved our $1,000 emergency fund AND have paid off almost $8,000 worth of debt in just 2 MONTHS. We are beyond excited to continue our financial journey with Financial Peace University and are on track to have our down payment saved in just 2 more months! THANK YOU DAVE!!! Dave Says - February 13, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-13 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-13 Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:02:06 CST My husband and I have four kids, and I make $50,000 a year. He runs a small business that has been floundering for a while now, so we're basically living off my income... Dave Says - February 6, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-06 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-02-06 Mon, 06 Feb 2017 14:02:51 CST I'm a small-business owner with a lawn care franchise. It's common in our industry, after the season is over, to send out pre-pay letters for the upcoming season... Financial Peace Baby http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107672 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107672 Mon, 30 Jan 2017 01:44:00 CST Today I heard Dave label the children raised with Bible money managing principles as Financial Peace Babies. I had to share a quick story. As parents, we don't always know what they are hearing and learning from our actions. We received a giant flyer, I mean bigger than our mailbox, about a local auto sale. My husband dramatically read, "get a ______ for only $198 a month with no money down." Not missing a beat, my 12 year old daughter said incredulously, "but then you'd have a car payment." I could just smile. She gets it. I paid off my one and only new car when I was five month pregnant and everything else by the time she was born (besides the mortgage.) Not being house heavy, I was able to be a stay at home mom. Living to honor God with finances has been instilled in her. She knows not to spend money she doesn't have! Dave Says - January 30, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-30 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-30 Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:01:00 CST I take classes online at a public university that is several hours from my home. I tried to pay for my classes the other day, and my Visa debit card was not accepted... An Alternate Route Through College http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107671 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107671 Sat, 28 Jan 2017 04:30:50 CST During my freshman year of college, my parents and older siblings (and their spouses), all took FPU. As a 18 year old, I decided not to take it, but I was intrigued nonetheless. After realizing the magnitude of the student loan debt we had all accumulated, we sat down as a family to discuss a plan to support one another in paying off our debts. Inspired, I immediately reevaluated my plans to continue accumulating debt in student loans, and determined that if I worked in the dorm (free room/board for RAs) and kept another part time job, I could pay for my schooling each semester without taking out anymore loans. My parents did not contribute to my college expenses, so I was mostly on my own. I was fortunate to have a scholarship and in-state tuition, allowing me to take a full load of classes for about $3,000 per semester. I didn't really spend any money on clothes, eating out, entertainment, "college" related things, etc. while I was in college. I just worked and worked and worked, and my friends thought I was crazy. And of course I thought they were crazy for living off their parents or using student loans to pay their rent! While working my way through school and seeing the success that my siblings had in managing their money, I read Dave's Complete Guide to Money and it completely changed my life. By my senior year of college I was ready to say goodbye to my RA job and move into an apartment. I started budgeting as soon as I had a more normal cashflow of paying rent, utilities, etc. It was daunting to cover all of my expenses and tuition with part time work, but I was blessed with good jobs, and family members to feed me dinner on Sunday nights. As my last semester of school approached, I looked at the debt I had accumulated my freshman year and decided there was no time like the present to get rid of it! I paid for my final spring semester of school in December 2015 and in January 2016 I started on the path to paying off my debt. It was $4,800, and per Dave's suggestions, I went at it with intensity. I graduated in May and by November I was debt free!! I cannot believe the pride I feel in having paid for my education and having done it so successfully. It would have been impossible without the guidance of Dave Ramsey. I suggest his book to everyone I know! After graduation I started my first year of teaching elementary music and I have never felt more blessed! I cannot believe how easy it is to live on a real salary after pushing and fighting my way through college with a hodge-podge of comparatively awful part time jobs. I'm now well on my way to saving lots and lots of money for whatever life brings, and of course pushing lots of money into an IRA. As a 22 year old with no debt, I feel so secure in my financial future and IT IS ALL BECAUSE OF DAVE! half way there...(what a slog!) http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107660 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107660 Wed, 25 Jan 2017 01:18:15 CST My husband and I are inching towards retirement, he is 63 and I am 54 years old. We have been married for 29 years and have always carried some sort of debt. I came into the marriage with 5k in savings but he brought debt from allowing a prior girlfriend use his credit card. I did not know this until after we were married and started getting the collections calls! After our 2 older children were born we agreed that I would raise them by staying at home…very tight years financially as we live in the SF Bay Area and rent here, even in the 90’s was high. (now it is grotesque) When they got to be school age I went back to work as a teacher and life was cruzing along, we were paying down (but not off) our credit cards and living with more breathing room. Then LIFE happened and at the age of 42 and 51 we found ourselves expecting again. SURPRISE! Again I stayed home with the baby and during this time we really got in debt. We would charge AM EX for anything that my husband’s salary did not cover…everything from Christmas, to medical bills to orthodontist…everything. When the balance on the AM EX got too high I would sweep it over to another credit card via balance transfer. I thought this was brilliant. By the time baby #3 was ready for school the economy was shot and everywhere teachers were being laid off, older teachers were not retiring, No Jobs. Yes I applied for many other things…I still have the list: funeral services, admin assist., anything that would fit my child’s schedule. At one point I found out that it was easier to get into Harvard then get a job at our local school district…hundreds of applications for one opening. It was discouraging. And we kept sweeping the balances over to credit cards….. Finally in 2014 the pendulum swung back and I was hired for a 70 % teaching position! YAY! But for that first year we made no headway on the debt. It seemed we were paying for our older children’s college and paying off the monthly AM EX….that was it. In 2015 I was bumped up to 90% position. But I was so afraid I would lose it. In the district where I work, the first you are hired you are “temporary” the second year you are “probationary” and finally in the third year: permanent. Well, one day I was going to a meeting at 5:30 at night, (not because I had to but because I thought it would make me look good) and while in commute traffic tuned into the Ramsey show. Now that was BRILLIANT….I got a hold of a PLAN. By that time, August 2015, we had $123,000 in debt! I must say that FEAR was a huge motivation for getting on this Debt Snowball thing. My Husband has been working since he was 18 and I really really would do ANYTHING to have him retire. Working out the numbers I figured he could do that at age 70, God willing we both keep our jobs and health. Since August 2015, 18 months ago, we have cut that 123k down to 67k!!! Almost half way there! But man-o-man it is a SLOG…feels like it will never end! I am paid on the 30th of the month and by that afternoon all the money is GONE to debt. (3k a month not including min. payments) We took Mr. Ramseys advice and cashed out a stupid whole life insurance and paid off a car loan. Then we cashed out my husbands IRA (he was over 62 so it was ok) and paid off two smaller debts. No vacations, eating out, none of the extras that would make life more “fun”. My husband cuts my hair! With God’s blessing we are due to pay off our debts in another year. I LIVE for paydays and paying down the debt…and have 2 different “pay down” charts. Just started EveryDollar this year. What a relief not to have to print out the bank statements and then manually transfer to the budget spreadsheet. THANKS FOR THAT! I WILL write again when we are done, for an update. Thanks, Mr. Ramsey. (by the way we never owned a home and are still renting....this was all just credit cards, Parent Plus loan, and cars) Dave Says - January 23, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-23 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-23 Mon, 23 Jan 2017 12:01:51 CST My husband was recently laid off, and he has $229,000 in a 401(k). He has been told that he should roll it into a hybrid annuity... Happily proven wrong! http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107644 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107644 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:07:41 CST I never dreamed I would be starting over at 52 years old. Stay at home mom 25 years. Married 32 years. Raised 5 kids. I was the soccer mom, dance mom, cheer mom, band mom....you name it I was that mom and I was president of the booster club. My youngest finally started school and I got a little part time job. Then my narcissistic husbands very cliche' midlife crisis turned my world upside down. Picture open shirts, gold chains and everything that image conjures up. He was emulating his TV idol Tony Soprano. Then he said he wanted to have a girlfriend but stay with me. I filed for divorce and let him have our paid off house just to get away from him and have peace. With the little money I got from our settlement I put a down payment on a house, paid off my car and paid off my credit card. That was November 2014. Ex wasn't in the mob but like Tony Soprano he hid cash every where. He had always kept our finances from me, he is a contractor- he was paid cash and hid it all from me. So I had no idea what I was getting into financially by buying a house. I was just looking at the mortgage versus rent. And wanting to build equity. By now I had a full time job and wanted to be smart with money now that I was on my own. I was so full of bravado and hope! So I bought the forclosure and one week later was serving Thanksgiving dinner to my relatives in my own house. I felt so blessed, I was in awe. But the next two years was like a series of unfortunate events. I will spare you the details but basically: Life. And being salaried, I was working in a job that required lots of what our supervisors called "Volunteer Time". I was working 60-70 hours a week without compensation. I was really scared. Each time I got scared and prayed about money, as soon as I said "Amen" I would see money on the ground. Quarters in the parking lot of the grocery store. Nickels, Dimes at Target, at the gas station. A whole dollar in a bush next to the streetlight in front of the building where I work. Did I open my car door and get out to get it? YOU BET!! But stuff kept happening. To make "ends meet" I relied on my credit card. In two years I racked up $11,000.00 on that credit card. Nothing great to show for it. Nothing I can sell. Christmas for two years. Groceries, medical expenses, an ER visit. Gasoline. Utility bills. Birthdays. Stuff I thought I needed for the house. Another ER visit. In 2015 our Sunday school class for single ladies did a series on budgeting and avoiding debt. I wanted to do right, but couldn't make the numbers add up, and I gave up. One thing I always did since day one was tithe. I kept waiting for God to bless me financially. The next year, our church did a sermon series on Budgeting and debt and Money, and again the numbers still didn't add up and I gave up trying to budget. It was a harsh reality, devastating even, to realize how stupid I had been to buy a house. I finally realized that didn't make enough money to make ends meet. I cut out the few tiny extras in my life. Coffee. Lunches out. We aren't talking Starbucks and sit down restaurants either. I'm mean I had to cut out getting Wendy's value meals. Our furnace quit and I couldn't afford to fix it. We spent all of winter 2015-2016 huddled in our beds under layers of blankets when we were home. Like the scenes from the Johnny Depp Willy Wonka movie. And we live in Kansas City. It was so cold last winter! I haven't had a haircut since March 2015. I fell into a deep depression. Life became a dark cycle. Get up go to work. Eat oatmeal. work. Eat Ramen. work more. Go home. Eat a baked potatoe. Or. Not. Just... dont eat. sometimes log on and work more at home. Twice a month watch money go into my account...and watch it go right back out as the auto pays kick in. I saw no way out. By the time I joined FPU at our church this past October, I was JADED! I had trolled this website looking for ideas for 2 years. For over a decade my second most read book (First being the bible) has been Tightwad Gazette. There was not one more thing I could cut from my budget, or so I thought. On our first night of class I told the leader, "This isn't going to work for me. I don't make enough money and I only came because the preacher announced we could come one time for free". But by the end of the first video I felt a ray of hope. The teacher told me and the one other single mom in the class that we could pay for a kit in installments. I gave him $5.00 and walked a way with a kit. Every Tuesday for the next 6 weeks I showed up hopeful, but then got discouraged during classes and went home in despair. All the upper middle class and upper class married people in my class were bounding through the baby steps while I had to scrape, using the money I got from my parents and kids for my 54th birthday to help pay for my kit. And it still took me 5 weeks to finish paying for it. So many of those people confessed they didn't tithe and then would spend part of class time talking about how to get cheaper cable. I never had cable to begin with! And I do tithe! I asked God in anger, why aren't you blessing me? I almost cried on cut up your credit cards night. It felt so unsafe. My furnace still wasn't fixed. My tires were balding and winter was setting in. I realized I had been putting my trust and security in Visa not Jesus. And Visa doesn't love me. Visa was killing me. I had realized even before the video on credit that for every dollar I sent to Visa, Visa took 50% back in fees. At this rate I was NEVER going to be free. I divorced my husband to get free and to get peace. This wasn't peace. I got really mad at VISA. Just like I was done with my abusive, unfaithful husband I decided I was done with VISA. That was in November. I am so proud to say that in the past 12 weeks, I have not used credit. Somehow by the grace of God I was able to do Christmas for my 5 kids and 4 grand kids with cash. It was hard and I am exhausted but I did it. And we didn't have potatoes and ramen for Christmas dinner! We had a feast- including smoked salmon and a rack of smoked ribs from Plowboys. This IS Kansas City! I paid off my Target Card and had saved $100.00 by the end of FPU. My kids came full circle at Christmas, and blessed me more than I blessed them by buying new tires for my car, which were so balding that the guy at NTB came back into the lobby to tell us that my old tires were in the worst shape he ever saw. My brother in law found out about our furnace and together with my dads help they fixed it. Its over 35 years old but holding together. Forgot to mention I have an ENORMOUS maple tree in my front yard that was scaring me to death. The thing was overgrown and giant limbs were hanging over my neighbors driveway and roof. I noticed they started parking under it in the driveway. Hoping for a new car courtesy of MACs homeowners maybe? Week one of FPU, another neighbor had her trees trimmed and I noticed that the guy who did it did a fast, efficient job. It was number one on my financial wish/NEED list. I got his number and he did my whole yard for $230 dollars. 4 large trees! One catch he asked for cash. No problem! By the time he came, I had the whole $230.00 in the envelope marked "Home Maintenance" of my blue FPU wallet! Back in the middle of October our company announced that beginning Dec1 we would no longer be salaried due to the Fair Wages Act. Thanks Obama. Wow thanks CEO. This is hitting at Christmas! I was really angry at first, because I figured they would no longer approve overtime. Ironically it was one day after figuring out my budget and cash flow homework. Grrrr. It was a first rough month -my bills don't understand I get paid every two weeks now. When you do the math its less pr month except two out of 12 months pr year. That's what made me angry. I am trying so hard to do the right thing, and Im tithing, I asked God WHY ARENT YOU BLESSING ME??? I apologized and told Him I trust Him and will keep doing the right thing. Then towards the end of November, the year end rush at work kicked in and I started getting overtime. For the last 8 weeks I have been working 60-70 hours a week including New Years. Ka-ching!!! Tonight I deposited a full emergency fund into a brand new savings account.! And my bills are paid. On to baby step number two. And cheers to my new bank that said they would give me $200.00 for opening a new account. When they offered their credit card I almost yelled NO THANK YOU!!! Cheers even to more Ramen and Oatmeal and hopefully LOTS more overtime, I cannot wait until I am done with baby step number 2. Now I look at my credit card balance as "how many hours OT does this equal"? I already feel more peaceful. Thanks Dave! And Thank You Jesus, for blessing me! Living like no one else... http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107642 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107642 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:07:37 CST When my husband and I got married almost 10 years ago, he had undergrad debt, credit card debt and debt to his parents and I had postgrad debt, car debt, and a mortgage. We started from the get go slapping money on our debts. We had a super-small wedding so we wouldn't have debt from that going forward and then ended up with a good chunk of money when his grandmother passed away. We saved a lot of money after our wedding just by not having to pay for 2 places. So within the first year of our marriage we had paid off all the debt except for our mortgage which turned out to be good timing as we had our first child shortly after our first anniversary. Not too long after that, we took Financial Peace at our church. Awesome class! About 3 years ago, just before our second child was born, we bought a house and my parents moved into the basement...which is a whole different story. We kept my condo and rented it out for several hundred dollars more than the cost of owning it. Last year I lost my job and my grandparents in MN needed more help. My parents moved to MN and without being able to find a decent paying job to cover mortgage and child care, we determined that the wisest financial move for us was to move back into the 2 bedroom third floor (no elevator) condo with all four of us. The market here in Colorado is insane. We were able to sell our house over a weekend and it sold for at least $70,000 more than what we had paid for it just 3 years ago. We took what was left over and plopped it on the condo mortgage and are now living completely debt free! We are still working on getting wise with Dave's tips on budgeting and how exactly to save money for retirement. We're living on a teacher's salary, but we can do it without the debt and I can be available to run the kids to school and be with them on their off-days. I'm in the process of starting a business that I hope will at minimum replace my previous salary and in my wildest dreams would allow my husband to retire from the school system and work with me. My name is Carissa and I'm a graphic designer and my husband, Dave, is an elementary music teacher. We have two boys who are 3 and 7 and we live in the Denver-metro area. Financial Peace University was so helpful to at least get my husband and I on the same page as far as decision-making for our finances. We're still working through the last couple of baby steps. Thank you for all of the excellent information you have available and we made use of one of your ELPs for our retirement planning and they have been a huge help! Thanks! Dave Says - January 16, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-16 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-16 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:01:08 CST My friend and I are roommates, and we've always had an agreement that we split each of the bills fifty-fifty. We both work and have decent jobs, but for the last couple of months she's been really late in paying her half of the bills... Only a little (but still) STUPID TAX http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107639 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107639 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 09:14:27 CST I could explain my entire situation with all of my debt, but given some of the victories I've gotten in the last 5 months, albeit still at the start of my journey, the last 2 weeks have been my stupid tax story. I started 2016 with quite possibly the worst cold I've had in my 31 years of life and because I didn't budget for it I didn't pay cash for my cold medicine. That cold medicine didn't work and I needed to get strong stuff. That was more $$$. Then the day my cold was better I threw out my back. Paid more $$$ for other medication to give me relief while it healed. None of it really required me to go to a doctor, but still enough to warrant spending money on a heating pad, medicine, medicine and more medicine. Thankfully I had a buffer built up and that $50 didn't hurt my overall goals too bad...but it was still enough to give a giant ol' facepalm. Thankfully I have enough medicine now, though, to take some for the pain from the facepalm. HAHA! 1 Cent Leftover http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107638 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107638 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 08:51:53 CST After working my debt snowball for 2 years now on Dave Ramsey's plan, I (thought) I had paid off my 5th Student Loan this past December, 2 days for Christmas. Tonight I get on my student loan servicer's site to begin attacking the 6th and Final Student Loan and low and behold the 5th loan is still on there saying I still owe a lousy, stinking penny! It also says that with interest the balance is now $0.20. I called my servicer and was on the phone with them for more than 20 minutes, I for each "red cent" I still owe. The rep checked this over and says "this was a glitch and will be written off." As I continued to probe to be assured, she puts me on hold and comes back saying" sorry, this will not be written off as it was a miscalculation." Never mind that I used the payoff calculator on THEIR site last month to assure this one was finished. She had to place me on hold twice more to manually reapply the last $0.01 to this saying this should be updated on the site within 5 business days the the 5th student loan written payoff confirmation will be coming in 30-45 days. Dave is so right that you always need to stay on top of your creditors for a little while even after you believe you have paid them off. Thank goodness I found Dave Ramsey and The Total Money Makeover and will be all done with the Student Loans and this nonsense they make you go through in another 6 months! Dave Says - January 9, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-09 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-09 Mon, 09 Jan 2017 14:01:20 CST My wife and I are debt-free, plus she has a business giving music lessons. We formed an LLC last year when she had several students and was making over $3,000 a month, but that all changed... Long journey to debt free http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107624 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107624 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 12:50:58 CST About eight years ago, my husband and I were like swans: looked pretty good on top, but were paddling away like mad under the surface. We had a nice house (mortgaged) two new cars (loans) two income properties (after the loans on those, no income), you have seen this many times, I'm sure. My nephew gave me a strange (to me) gift for Christmas: your book, Financial Peace. I love books, and have read many on money and finance, including Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, The Millionaire Next Door, etc., All have good advice, but yours really hit me, like no other, because of the Baby Steps, that anyone, at any level of income or education, could follow. On New Year's Day 2008, with the economy tanking and everyone in panic mode, I sat down with my husband and we went through everything to figure out how much we owned versus how much we owed. Wow, that was rough. We had always put maximum away in 401ks and IRAs, but we had no other savings, and the payments on our debts were almost exactly what we were bringing in after taxes! We resolved to follow your plan. We saved $1000 (that was easy) then we made a budget (draconian, needed revision a few times), and we stopped using credit cards. We went after the credit cards, that was done in months. We tackled the car loans, and with the new budget, had those gone in under two years. Brought the savings to six months living expenses. Then, disaster. My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, needing a stem cell transplant. I closed my gift shop, and we worked together to try to save more. His stem cell transplant was very rough, he needed two tries before it took, and he was off work for six months. I did not have an income since I had closed my business, and that emergency fund came in very handy (he did keep his job, but the disability pay he got did not even equal our mortgage every month). Before he came home, I put in a new water filtration and treatment system (we live on a well) because his immune system would not be up to normal for many months afterward. That finished the emergency fund, but we paid cash for it. We live in a rural area, and jobs were scarce to nonexistent near me (even the pizza parlors had more drivers than orders!), I did find seasonal work at an apple orchard, and used every cent I made to start building up the emergency fund to six months' expenses while Bob slowly got back up to working fulltime again. Long before, we had kicked pay TV, the health club, and subscriptions out, baked our own bread and packed lunches, I sold off lots of stuff, all the steps we could to keep going. We keep another savings account, which we call the YTY (year to year) fund, where we put a fixed amount every month for the big expenses we knew would hit us (property taxes, insurance, Christmas) every year. We kept that separate from the emergency fund for clarity. The tough one was the income (NOT!) property, which had plummeted in value but not in expenses, and we were losing tenants because they could not pay even modest rent. We ended up basically supporting those buildings, and could not sell them in that climate even for much less than we owed on them. And, the five-year balloon mortgage on them was approaching the end. Well, this may have been dumb, but it was in desperation: Bob was just over 62, so at least taking out of his retirement funds would not have an added 10% penalty. We took lots out of the IRAs, and took the maximum loan on the 401k we could, and burnt our emergency fund (again) and paid those buildings off. That year taxes took a real bite, but we now had some cash flow from the buildings, which meant we weren't supporting them. We were able to fix some things on the buildings, got them fully rented again, and began (again) to build up the emergency fund. I was working at least seasonally, and took my skill at making jewelry to a profitable side line. The emergency fund meant that car repairs, or having to travel to help elderly relatives out of state were not excuses to fall into credit card debt. We just cash-flowed it and kept going. We recently received some windfalls, tragically due to people we love having passed away. Instead of blowing those on vacations or other stuff, we were able, in 2016, to pay off the house, and, on Dec. 30, 2016, paid off the 401K loan. We now have that six months' expenses in the bank (although, since we have no mortgage or car payments, is probably enough for a year or more), NEXT year's YTY expenses in the bank (which we will continue to replace as we use) and are starting two new bank accounts: redo roof on house, and replace cars. We have loosened up on spending a bit, allowing a restaurant meal line item on our budget. Our medical costs have increased hugely, as Bob continues to have to have chemo and several monthly doctors' visits, which co-pays run about $700 - $1000 per month, but he continues healthy, thank God for that, and our many blessings. We have continued some tightwad stuff because we either enjoy it or don't miss it: watching tv is DVDs from the public library, and we still bake all the bread we eat. Long post, use it or not, but we are thankful that we were able to use Dave's Baby Steps and are now, DEBT FREEE!!!! We are a childless couple, now 64 and 62 years old. Bob and Sherrie Ludwig. FPU and Debt snow ball changed our lives http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107627 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107627 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 08:35:33 CST My wife is a physician and I am a dentist. We are blessed that both of our parents put us through college and were able to get into state schools for our doctoral degrees. However, that still left us as newlyweds, who combined, had $250,000 in student loans to pay back. We took FPU in our first year of residency and lived on the envelope system and debt snowball principles (while working on all the baby steps as well). When we started working my wife took a job that she loves and since it involves caring for the underserved population was warranted loan repayment through her employer. We paid off her remaining loan balance quickly and then put all of that money into my loans. We cleared the student loans in under 4 years. I then bought into my practice, which cost $400k. I took a bank loan for that amount, which I am sure you wouldn't have advised, but we continued to live frugally and pay down the debt as fast as we could. I paid off the business loan today, in 3 years. We are 35 years old, make almost 400k a year and the only debts we have are the mortgage on a very modest house ~190k and one reasonable car loan (a Honda). We are so excited and proud! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom (at a price pretty much anyone can afford). FPU and specifically the debt snowball change our lives and we are so optimistic about where we are headed because of it and the tools you gave us. Dave Says - January 2, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-02 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-01-02 Mon, 02 Jan 2017 11:01:41 CST I've followed your plan for three years. I'm living totally debt-free except for my home, and I pay for everything with cash... Lesson learned: BEWARE of toll Booths http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107613 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/107613 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 03:45:48 CST My husband and I are debt-free thanks to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University! Taking and teaching a class, as you know, does not mean you will not make the occasional mistake of Stupid Tax. But We live and learn, right? So my husband and I were traveling for our ministry and purchased one of those e-passes and maybe we put 3 dollars short of what we needed when we somehow just crossed too many bridges and one too many tunnels. 3 weeks later when we returned home, the mail was piled high and I decided it could wait. But 3 months later now, the letters read that because we waited 30 days to pay, our $4 toll fee has turned into $29!!!! On top of that, one tunnel had no booth and poorly written signs, and THAT $2.50 bill escalated to $26.50 in 30 days. On top of that, the e-pass FAILED TO SCAN in a few other states but I was able to call and have $90 completely removed. Lesson #1 learned???? If you are going to get one of those passes, put tons more money on there than you'll need and OR pay cash!!! AND on top of that, I learned a much more valuable lesson. Lesson #2: Checking your paper mail in a timely fashion can save you hundreds of dollars! Almost the entire $140 in penalties could have been avoided had we opened the mail sooner. Who would have "thunk it" that regular mail could be so important in day and age where it's all about emails and technology!??? STUPID TAX PAID: close to $50 (Thank God because it was almost $140 had I not called and politely pleaded with them!) So long student loans! http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107612 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107612 Mon, 26 Dec 2016 08:25:06 CST After my husband and I got married in July 2014, we didn't worry too much about paying off our $89,208 of student loan debt. On January 1, 2015, we stumbled upon Dave's TMM budgeting tool online and did our first budget together. We decided at that moment that we didn't want to be paying off student loans for the next twenty years. It projected that we would finish in around 4 years but our goal was to finish much quicker. During the 2 years of paying off debt, there were so many blessings we encountered that cannot naturally be explained. We continued to tithe, as we did before, 10% of our income. In April 2015, my car caught on fire and the insurance company gave us 3x the amount we were expecting. We were able to pay cash for a hybrid car, which has saved us a ton on gas. We had to replace our refrigerator and washer and had to make several repairs on my husband's old Jeep. Somehow, the money was always there. In August 2015, we started renting out the spare bedroom in our house through Airbnb to supplement our income. We are not in a super popular area but in a year and a half, we've had over 60 guests stay in our house and have made close to $10k. Everything we made extra through Airbnb, work bonuses, tax returns, birthday money, etc. always went toward debt. No questions. In December 2016, the Department of Labor changed laws that affected my husband's job. He found out that his work owed him two years worth of overtime pay, equaling two extra hours per week. We got this check a few weeks ago and that gave us enough to make our last payment on our loan and put a good chunk toward our 3-6 month savings. We are 30 and 31 years old and are so blessed and excited to be debt free, except for our home. The initial $89,208 seemed super intimidating at the beginning but there are so many things we learned as a newly married couple during these two years that will help us throughout our lifetime together. Our faith has deepened and it's been amazing to see God at work. We lived like no one else so now we can live like no one else! Dave Says - December 26, 2016 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2016-12-26 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2016-12-26 Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:12:00 CST My wife and I have been married for 12 years. Last month we found out she has terminal cancer and only six months to live ... Dave Says - December 19, 2016 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2016-12-19 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2016-12-19 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:12:11 CST How do you feel about using layaway programs? Debt Free! http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/106166 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/106166 Fri, 16 Dec 2016 03:41:41 CST Thanks to Dave Ramsey's teachings, I made my final car payment today! I am now debt free, aside from my house! I started following Dave Ramsey's principles around April 2016. I had $23,000 in credit card debt and $18,000 in car loan debt. Listening to the podcast and hearing all the debt free screams really got me motivated! I got a second job and picked up all of the extra hours I could at work. I couldn't believe the mess I had gotten myself into with credit cards and I will NEVER borrow money again! Now I am ready to build up my emergency fund and start back investing in my 401k next year. I also plan to start making extra payments on my home and have a plan to pay off my house in 3-4 years. I can't wait to call and do my official debt free scream once the home is paid off!! Measure twice, cut once when relocating. http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106151 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106151 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 10:52:43 CST I recently had to relocate about 650 miles to start a new job in a new city. Moving is hard and expensive, but with research you can minimize the cost. If I had researched better, I would have saved a bundle. I initially priced out a self move of $1550. That included U-Haul rental, tow dolly for my car, insurance, and a crew of movers on one end to unload (I would get free moving help from friends and family at my origin). I hired movers after they sent me an estimate of about $1450. $100 less than the U-Haul option and more convenient? Right? Wrong. The estimate was based on an erroneous assumption of the square footage of my stuff. When the movers actually loaded up their truck, it came to almost double the expectation. I ended up paying a whopping $2800 for the move. To make matters worse, the movers arrived with my things 4 days after I did and 6 days after they loaded. More convenient? Slightly. But not $1300 worth of more convenient. I look on it now as something unfortunate, but I also feel it was a mistake I inevitably had to make. I have long fantasized about hiring movers to take care of all the heavy lifting. Now I have and now I know to never do it again. Or just have hourly movers do just the heavy lifting on both ends. I can save a ton by driving the truck myself. Opened sears card to purchase 2 beds. http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106109 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106109 Wed, 23 Nov 2016 09:12:43 CST I purchased 2 beds for family members and opened a credit card with an interest rate of about 25% to do so. I thought I was only supposed to make the minimum payments which was only $10! A deal, right? Anyway, I noticed each month the balance wasn't going down. Back then, I didn't really understand how credit cards worked. Fortunately, I got fed up pretty quickly, and just paid the darn card off. No telling how much I actually paid for the beds when you include the interest. I guess it could have been worse. Very stupid. Always listen to Dave. http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106096 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/106096 Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:12:36 CST I decided when starting the baby steps, that it was smarter and faster to open a new credit card to have for emergencies than to save the one thousand dollars. Well two months and $3,200 extra debt from things I didn't need later I learned my lesson. I pushed my debt free timeline back another six months because of that and I'm still recovering. Stupid is too kind a word. http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105650 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105650 Mon, 01 Aug 2016 11:55:19 CST I ran up $35,000 in credit card debt and another $18,000 on an equity line of credit. I used the equity loan to replace the A/C system in my house and for major repairs on my car. The worse part is that it cost just over $13,000 for these two incidents...so how did my CC balances get so high...and on what? "Stupid" is too kind a word to describe a person like me. I made good money and I thought as long as I could make the payments I was fine. It's when one thing after another kept happening and my cards were almost maxed out is when I finally woke up I got a second job over a year ago and I found Dave Ramsey's show on the radio. I already started paying down debt and then he explained the baby steps. I finally finished baby step 1 and I no longer charge on any CC. I have closed two CC accounts since then. I am doing much better now but I am paying a horrible price for my stupidity. I think about the regret of not being able to invest or help others as I would like. I want others out there to know that there is a way out of a bad financial situation even when you are the one who created it. I did this to myself and I take responsibility for it. Beginning band? READ THIS http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105648 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105648 Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:43:33 CST I went to a local, and recommended, music store for my child's band instrument. As a beginner, we planned to rent. NEED TO KNOW, rent to own programs are purchases with interest. I should have realized this when credit check was run. Anyway, we trusted the sales person with the instrument we left with, knowing it was used, knowing it looked used, however, not knowing the true value and age. While they offered an early payout, that seemed like a better deal than the long term payment plan, it was double what the value of the instrument was. AFTER doing research, I went to another music store, with my instrument, and purchased a used and newer instrument for less than the asking price of the rented one. I also found out that the instrument being rented to me was 30 YEARS OLD!!! Yep, that actually happened. My stupid tax, $188 for the rental term of the contract I signed. Better than paying $800 for an instrument worth $300-$400. Advice: Do your homework!! Don't think that a music store associate will help you with information. Look online at blogs for the instrument you are looking to purchase. The same instrument recommended on multiple sights should be a good choice for a beginner. You can also compare prices and know if you are getting a fair deal, or the shaft, like I did. Learning the credit card dance http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105645 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105645 Sun, 31 Jul 2016 08:26:23 CST I actually thought I was doing well with my credit cards until I stopped to read the bill. Usually I glanced at the bill and fired off a payment but this time I noticed a late payment fee of $25.00. My checking showed 22 days from mailbox to them posting it. It also (on page 4) informed me my interest rate was now 27.5%. I studied my bill of about $3500 with $62 a month payment and discovered that $50 was for interest only and $12 to principle. Got mad and did math! The late fee was going to add 2 months and I was going to be paying for another 22 years! Found a weekend job that netted about $400 a month and shut that card down in 8 months. They cancelled my card a few years later for lack of use. Buy Here, Pay Here http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105586 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100423/storyid/105586 Fri, 15 Jul 2016 03:37:50 CST To keep the story short and on point I will be omitting some details (like how I got into this situation. Yes, I never thought this was a good idea but unfortunately this was the best solution for my problem at the time.) I have purchased a 2007 Jeep Patriot from Drive Time back in August of 2014.After being suckered into their "extras" (i was told they could not sell me anything unless I took what they added into the Jeep for their financing .) The ending price was $18k with 20% interest. I have been making payments of $440 a month since then and i have barely made a dent into this nightmare of a loan. I have attempted to go to banks, credit unions and online loan sites lending tree. No one will refinance with me. They offer blue book value for a loan (which is fair) but I am roughly $7k upside down. My question is how do I over come this? I have 2 jobs that i work and the money from the secondary job goes to other debt, mostly legal debt. I am really wanting to get out of a 20% loan and into something that is more reasonable. I doubt there is any place that would lend a person around $15k and then pay them back? The most common advice that I hear is pay extra. My payment is at $440 and I attempt to live below my means but there is a still a real struggle. There has to be a way out of this 20% interest loan. Use an insurance broker https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131807 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131807 2017-02-16 09:07:54.487 Julie's mom is older, and she has some mental issues. Julie asks Dave if it's too late for long-term care insurance, and Dave advises her to talk to an insurance broker. A good marketing idea https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131803 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131803 2017-02-13 14:37:26.87 Kevin owns a lawn care business. He asks Dave if sending out discounted, pre-pay offers to clients is too similar to borrowing money. Dave says no, and he tells Kevin it's a pretty good idea under the right circumstances. Girlfriend debt account https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131795 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131795 2017-02-10 14:14:07.367 James has no debt, and he's also gotten a good start on saving and retirement. He and his girlfriend are planning to get married soon, and she has about $90,000 in debt. She wants to get out of debt, and is trying to pay it off, so James asks Dave if he should start putting money aside to help with the debt after they're married. Keep things simple https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131793 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131793 2017-02-08 14:23:58.877 Julie asks Dave for advice on choosing an accounting program for small business. Dave gives her his choice, and adds that's it's always best to keep things like this simple. Slow down, don't cash out https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131777 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131777 2017-01-24 14:47:54.313 Deb asks if they should take money from retirement to pay off their home. Dave has a better idea, especially after hearing their income. Run from that guy https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131776 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131776 2017-01-24 11:12:42.26 After losing his job, Durnae's husband has been told he should roll his 401(k) into a hybrid annuity. Dave strongly disagrees, and he explains why this would be a bad idea. You know what to do https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131773 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131773 2017-01-23 15:59:40.84 Madaje lives in Boston, where she is having second thoughts about the unique relationship she has with her financially dependent boyfriend. Listen as Dave talks to her about the situation and helps her realize she already knows the right thing to do. Should we? https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131768 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131768 2017-01-20 00:00:00.0 Denise and her husband are considering a move back to their home state of Ohio. They've found a place they like, but it has one big drawback. Dave listens, assesses the situation, and gives them his thoughts. You're using it wrong https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131751 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131751 2017-01-10 15:20:27.853 Amy is having trouble paying for school with her debit card, because the site says payments can be made by credit card or cash only. Dave walks her through the functionality of her debit card. To be unclear is to be unkind https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131746 https://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemID=131746 2017-01-04 10:51:33.513 Alice's roommate says she's broke, and this has caused her to fall behind paying her half of the bills. Dave says Alice can offer to help her friend manage money better, but he advises Alice to be firm about the situation.