Dave Ramsey http://www.daveramsey.com/ Real Life Money Stories en-us Fri, 26 May 2017 13:05:47 CST 180 Saturday Sunday Dave Says - May 22, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-22 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-22 Tue, 23 May 2017 10:05:01 CST My husband and I are in our 50s, and we have just $12,000 to pay off before we're debt-free. We've paid off almost $70,000 in debt in the last two years. We would like to buy a house soon, but we know we also need an emergency fund... Dave Says - May 15, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-15 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-15 Mon, 15 May 2017 15:05:20 CST My wife and I are looking at buying a new home. We've been really blessed with our finances, and we're at a point where we can pay cash for a new house and still have plenty of money in the bank... Dave Says - May 8, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-08 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-08 Tue, 09 May 2017 10:05:56 CST Our son is 13, and he wants to give half the money he received for his birthday to the nursery at our church... Dave Says - May 1, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-01 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-05-01 Tue, 02 May 2017 09:05:28 CST I'd like to get involved in real estate investing, but I don't have a lot of cash at present... Dave Says - April 24, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-24 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-24 Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:04:20 CST My wife and I are debt-free, and we're ready to start building our first home. We're a little short on cash to make the 20 percent down payment you recommend... Dave Says - April 17, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-17 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-17 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:04:33 CST My wife and I are debt-free except for our home, and we're on Baby Steps 4 and 5. Recently, we were asked to make a large donation to a charity we already support... Dave Says - April 10, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-10 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-10 Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:04:13 CST My husband and I own a small business. One of our relatives asked for a job recently, and we both have reservations about hiring him... Dave Says - April 3, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-03 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-04-03 Mon, 03 Apr 2017 12:04:37 CST My wife and I are both 25 years old, and we're working on Baby Steps 4, 5 and 6. I have a 401(k) through my employer, and she has a pension... Dave Says - March 27, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-03-27 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-03-27 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:03:47 CST My wife and I argue a lot about finances. We're trying to get more control over our money, and she has been listening to you. That's helped a lot. She's also a lot more frugal than I am, and our biggest point of contention right now is how we handle our spending money... Dave Says - March 20, 2017 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-03-20 http://www.daveramsey.com/davesays/column/column/dave_says_2017-03-20 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 08:03:02 CST One of my relatives just graduated from college with $20,000 in student loan debt. Her boyfriend graduated, too, and he has over $100,000 in student loan debt... Out of Debt Including House in 2 Years http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107950 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107950 Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:16:02 CST After taking the FPU class my wife and I started to relentlessly attack our debt. We owed around 10,000 on credit cards, 22,000 on a small business loan and 18,000 for our car. By applying the FPU principles we were able to pay off all the above debt in the first year. That was a great accomplishment and we know that we were working along side God to do it. There's no doubt that as we were faithful he blessed or efforts. After paying off the majority of our debt I felt God tell me "Why not pay off the house in a year?".In my mind paying off the house in a year did not seem possible, we still owed $116,000. How would we pay off a home loan for $116,000 when, between my wife and myself we barely made that in a year. The math did not add up. As I thought about it I realized that I was trying to figure out how "I" would pay it off. So I decided it was time to dust off my faith and trust this task that was impossible for me and my wife to the God that is not familiar with impossibilities, the God that created the heavens and Earth. So on Jan of 2016 my wife and I declared that our home that we had paid on for 18 years would be paid for in 1 year. Let me tell you that those words did not sound right coming out our my mouth. Nonetheless we continued to declare our house paid for. We started to take all of our extra money and begin to pay our home loan down every several months. On May of 2016 we had a major setback after being involved in a auto accident that ended up costing us around $8000. I was tempted to get discouraged thinking it would not happen, however I reminded myself that it's not up to my efforts that this gets accomplished. With our emergency fund in place we we able to stay on task and on Feb 2nd (Ground hogs day) 2017 we made our final house payment! Now that's a miracle! Praise God! Did I mention that we not only paid the house off but went on four vacations in 2016? God is good! My recommendation, take the FPU class, apply the principles and believe God for great miracles. "According to your faith let it be done to you" Matt 9:29 It's not too late... http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107947 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107947 Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:43:01 CST As a single mom of 2 kids (ages 18 and 19, both in college) going through a divorce, I had accumulated debt to the point I felt like giving up. I owed the IRS over $12,000 and was on a payment plan. I had credit card debt over $27,000. I struggled paying for Christmas in 2015, trying to find a credit card that had any room on it to buy presents. I thought bankruptcy was my only way out. I would cry at night. I was having panic attacks at the thought of paying bills. I felt like I was robbing Peter to pay Paul and struggling to keep my head above water. I track my finances on Quicken and then budget them in Excel, but would update it once or twice a month. If I had to diagnose my finance strategy, I would call it the "Avoidant Dysfunctional Coping Strategy". I couldn't stand the stress of looking at what my finances had become The beginning of January 2016, I saw a post on my facebook newsfeed for Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps. Step 1, was to save $1,000. Tired of living paycheck to paycheck, unsure if I could keep my head above water, the thought of having $1,000 in savings sounded really good. The hospital I work at was short staffed, so I picked up a couple of extra shifts. Combine that with paying the credit cards that were over their credit limits, by the end of January 2016, I had completed baby step one and had my credit card balances within their limits. Previously I had hired 2 tax accountants and 1 tax attorney to deal with the IRS issue. One of the tax accountants went to the IRS tax advocate for me. I didn't realize, and I think most people don't realize, the IRS has someone within the IRS that can advocate for you. Even though my tax issue was already in tax court, this tax advocate filed an appeal on my behalf. In January, I received a call from the IRS. The IRS admitted the service center was in error, I didn't owe $12,000. I only owed $23! Not only would I get back the money they took from me, but I would get it back with interest. I finally received my $12,000 in September 2016. While that was great news, I still had $27,099.36 in debt. I looked hard at my budget. I slowed my internet speed, discontinued the athletic club, shut off the home phone (we have cell phones), signed up for my work's discounted cell plan, shut off all but a couple of cable channels, stopped the pest control service, and downgraded a vacation to Florida to a local vacation. I stopped going out and hardly ever stop at coffee shops anymore. I haven't had too much protest from my kids. My child that still lives at home signed up for additional cable channels through his gaming system. I was able to speed up the internet with a new, free modem offered by my internet provider. I have been working numerous extra shifts. If there is something that I want that is not in the budget, I work for it first and use the cash to pay for it. I monitor my finances like a hawk. I update them every few days. I also throw away all shopping catalogs I receive. I don't want to entice myself to spend. Also, I paid off the highest interest rate cards first. I couldn't stand seeing the amount of interest I was paying. Also, I called my credit cards to see if they could lower my rates. I kept track of my credit card balances, logging them and my FICA credit score at the end of each month in my spreadsheet. Good finances don't happen by accident. I have kept my nose to the grind stone and in 13 months, on February 16, 2017, I paid off my last credit card for a total of $27,099.36! My credit score increased by 150 points as well. What an amazing feeling! I like that I am also an inspiration to my friends and co-workers. I am a full-time Trauma Surgical RN working 12-hour night shifts at a Level 2 Trauma center. I am currently going through (and have been for over 5 years) a messy divorce, and am the sole provider/care taker of my 2 kids, who are now 19 and 20 years old. They do quite a bit for themselves at this point, but I still pay for quite a bit. The divorce has already cost me $26,000 and will continue to cost me. I am in a much better place to handle it all now. I pay off my credit cards as soon as the charge shows up. All my cards have a zero balance. Dave has helped me with inspiration. Whenever I was feeling down, avoidant, or anxious throughout this process, I would search for quotes and podcasts from him. Now that I am through step 2, I'm working on my savings. It's a strange feeling to not have bills, but one I'm getting used to! $75K Student Loans - done! http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107946 http://www.daveramsey.com/articles/articleList/category/100424/storyid/107946 Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:07:07 CST Graduated college in 2008 (great year for jobs for history buffs) with $75,000 in student loan debt. Married, with one child. Had a handful of jobs for about 2 years (no more than 25K gross income), but still chiseled off $12K a year by living below means, listening to God's wisdom, and saying "no" to everything under the sun. Rough time. City bus was a great way to meet new people. Got a job as a Web Developer for a local college, making $45-50K salary (gross income), now with 3 kids, all homeschooled. As of yesterday--Feb 22, 2017--we are free of student loan debt. Bought a cup of coffee for every year I was in debt, for the shop to give to that many customers after I left. Only asked them to say "Debt Free Coffee" if questioned. You can do it! 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!!! 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! 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) 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! 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! 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. 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!) 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.