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The Gazelle Challenge

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It’s the third and most difficult challenge of them all in our series of going from normal to weird in 2011. This is where you'll really find out if you're committed to changing your financial future for the best! Here are some things to do during the next seven days:

Day 1: Cut up that last credit card!

You knew that sooner or later we were going to say it. Nothing jump-starts gazelle intensity like cutting up the plastic in your wallet. It’s a rite of passage to weirdness. Find those scissors and don’t stop until every last card hits the cutting room floor. Find out why Dave says no to credit cards.

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Day 2: Tell your friends what you are doing!

You did it! You cut up your credit cards! Now tell someone about it. Shout it from the mountain or post the announcement on your Facebook page. The point here is to bring accountability into your journey. Once you tell others about your desire and commitment to be debt-free, they’re going to ask you about it later. A support system will help you stay focused.

Day 3: Build a simple budget.

This may be the single most important tool in getting control of your money. The budget is the foundation for everything Dave teaches. It can be an overwhelming thing for many people, but that's okay. You don't have to go at it alone. Check out the latest budgeting tool at www.everydollar.com. It's free!

Day 4: Post the Baby Steps on your fridge.

If you’ve listened to Dave on his daily radio show, then you've probably memorized the Seven Baby Steps to Financial Peace. If you're brand-new to the Dave Ramsey world, the Baby Steps are a simple step-by-step plan to not only get out of debt, but to have true Financial Peace throughout life. Commit to making these steps a part of your daily life. Print or write the list and post it in a location where you will see it every day. It will also serve as a conversation topic when friends visit your home.

Day 5: Negotiate with cash.

Do you pay full retail price for everything? If you do, you are spending way too much. With cash in your pocket, you have the power to ask for a bargain. You might be surprised how much you can save by just asking, “Is that the best price you can give me?” Give it a try!

Day 6: Start reading a non-fiction book.

Dave is a big reader, and you should be too. Why? Reading quality books will take you places you never imagined. If you haven’t read Dave’s best-selling book The Total Money Makeover or need a refresher, make that your first read. If you want direction for where to go from there, check out Dave’s recommended reading list.

Day 7: Surprise someone by giving generously.

Why is it important to get out of debt and invest for the future? So we can help others. If you have made progress on your journey with these challenges, reward yourself by giving to others. Leave a large tip for your favorite restaurant server, give extra to your church, or just give some attention to others’ needs—with your time or money. Whatever you do, make sure the recipient knows that you require nothing in return.

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