Posts Tagged ‘ Dave Ramsey ’

Why I’m The Cheapest Parent I Know

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

For me, it’s almost like a contest: 

Can I be the cheapest parent that most people know?

I believe in the importance of just not buying things to begin with. I think that’s where the most money is saved.

I’ve covered some of this before in “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.”

You are being raised in a household with a strict weekly budget, where our cars are over 10 years old but paid off; you live in a home without smart phones, without cable or satellite TV, without updated electronics, without pets… not to mention we rarely go out to eat because Mommy cooks basically every meal.

(And where Daddy does the dishes for all those meals. I’ve gotten really good at that, by the way.)

A credit card is used only to take advantage of the credit card company; earning points to get free stuff for our family. So we do use one, but it’s immediately paid off each week and is built into our budget the same way as a debit card.

We even reuse our plastic baggies.

You’re stuck in a household where we have an outdated 2005 TV with a mockable 30 inch screen with $8 a month Netflix streaming.

I admit, we do have an older model Kindle that Mommy bought… on clearance, after the newer model came out.

And that goes back to our trick about only buying stuff during the last two weeks of the month, when more items are on sale, like I’ve mentioned before.

Not to mention, I’m not going to deny that one of the reasons you are an only child (at least for now) is for financial reasons.

Part of your parents’ cheapness comes from us having 1st and 2nd generation immigrant grandparents from Italy and Croatia, who lived through the Great Depression. That rubbed off on us; I’m sure of it.

The rest of it has to do with us having to “learn money” the hard way.

We made a lot of financial mistakes that we didn’t realize were mistakes at the time; like moving away from a city where we had good jobs to a smaller city where we basically couldn’t find jobs for nearly 9 months- before finally moving back to where the jobs were.

However, I look to the positive. Living through that caused Mommy and me to forever think differently, for the best:

We ended up being able to pay off over $58,000 in debt, after living off credit cards because we thought that was normal.

Thank God (and Dave Ramsey), we have now begun reversing our debt into savings. However, I think that having to live through through our own “great depression” has forever changed us.

There’s just no way we could see things the same way again.

So while it may be weird that your parents can’t just look up the height of Tom Cruise on a smart phone in the middle of a conversation during dinner at Red Lobster…

And while it may sound strange that our family has to wait for TV shows and movies to hit Redbox or Netflix before we can see them, it’s okay by us.

Hey, our family is different. You get that by now. This is just me trying to explain what made us this way so you can tell your friends why your parents are so cheap… and/or quirky.

Love,

Daddy

Save money with out indoor activity finder!

Lords of the Playground: The Number
Lords of the Playground: The Number
Lords of the Playground: The Number

Above image, courtesy of Dave Ramsey.

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Learning From The Habits Of The Wealthiest People

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Some of the fatherly lessons you will learn from me are to never give up, to not back down on your convictions, and to be a leader.

I want you to see those concepts lived out in my everyday life. It’s in those daily routine actions and decisions of mine that I want you to see; especially in regards to how I interact regarding my love and commitment to you and Mommy… to our family.

Saying it and doing it are two entirely different things. The concept of never giving up is the backbone to being a good husband and father; the way I see it.

Even when I don’t know how to solve the problem, whatever it is, it’s a matter of dedicating myself to finding and applying the solution.

I keep that in mind with every other facet of my life as well: How much further in life can I get if I simply am more proactive that the average person in my same situation?

Instead of pointing the finger at others or even the situation itself, I have to point it at myself.

Not in an accusatory way, though- instead, it’s a call to self-appointed leadership: What can I do differently that will positively influence the people affected by the problem and proactively prevent the negative situation from occurring again?

I have to assume the role of the leader in most situations; otherwise, by default, that makes me a follower. While I may be a reluctant leader, I still am a leader- as your father, as Mommy’s husband, and as family member dedicated to increasing the income our family brings in each month.

As the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad teaches, I have to be willing to do the things the top percentile do if I want to reach the results they are able to.

For me, one important application of that means furthering my career on my own; not waiting around in hopes of getting a raise based on seniority or even my sincere efforts. In order to that, I have to delegate my free time in a way that provides me a chance of making money.

What’s going to help me make more money during my free time?

It’s like with this infographic about the habits of the world’s wealthiest people. (Click on Habits Of The Wealthiest People to see a full screen version of it.) They spend time learning each day, instead of seeking entertainment.

I am willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be one of those successful people. 

In my next letter, I want to talk to you about how exactly I plan to spefically help further my career and how I’m spending me free time to make that goal a reality…

But first, I will close with the findings featured on the infographic Habits Of The Wealthiest People. (Courtesty of NowSourcing.)

They Have a Routine: Maintain a to-do list, wake up 3 hours before work, listen to audio books during commute, network 5 hours or more each month, read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons, and love to read.

They are Healthy: Exercise aerobically 4 days a week and eat less than 300 junk food calories per day.

Raising Their Children: Teach good daily success habits to their children, make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month, and make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month

Television Habits: Watch 1 hour or less of TV everyday.

They Set Goals: Write down their goals, are focused on accomplishing some single goal, believe in lifelong educational self-improvement, believe good habits create opportunity luck, and believe bad habits create detrimental luck.

Love, Daddy

Richest People
Source: Business-Management-Degree.net

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Having Another Child, From A Business Perspective

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

In 4th grade, I had the privilege and honor of doing the cartoon for my town’s junior edition of the newspaper.

The movie Dick Tracy was in theatres the summer before, so I crafted up a clever (?) comic strip called Nick Tracy.

As you can see, Nick Tracy steps in to save the day, as a bully-looking character named Alan mentions to a more studious-looking fellow that he is thinking about quitting school.

(I wonder how old I intended the characters to be, because I sort of get the impression they were in 4th grade at the time, just like me.)

But when it was all said and done, the takeaway actually had less to do with staying in school and more about the reason why kids should not quit school: so they can get a job. I was only 10, but I was concerned about my classmates getting jobs.

You will always know me as the Dave Ramsey-endorsing, Robert Kiyosaki-following (author of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad), credit card-bashing dad I am. Granted, it took me plunging into financial hades (I’m trying to avoid the cliche “rock bottom”) to be the budget-obsessed, debt-free parent I’ve worked so hard and deliberately to become.

So while there was a learning curve involved as I transitioned into my 30s, ultimately, as I rediscovered this old comic strip of mine from 22 years ago, I now realize: I’ve always been seriously focused on money.

What I never cared about was buying trophies with money. I laugh at the idea of a person being congratulated about a new car purchase: They’re simply being congratulated on having to make car payments.

I’m not impressed by anyone’s material possessions they can afford (or can give the illusion of affording, thanks to credit cards and/or loans), but I am completely impressed by people who actually know how to manage their own money. Because I am so eager to learn from them.

The irony is, I’m impressed by the fancy things people don’t buy, but could afford. To hear of a CEO choosing to drive his old Toyota instead of a new BMW, that’s a man I’m going to respect.

With that being said, the main thing holding me back now from the thought of wanting to have another child is the financial aspect of it. Robert Kiyosaki has trained me to see the world in terms of assets and liabilities.

In his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he recognizes children as financial liabilities. If I am looking at our family as a business unit, as I feel I should, then I have to be willing to remove the sentimentality aspect of bringing another child into this world and instead attach a dollar sign to your potential younger sister or brother.

As I learned from my editor in an article she wrote a few months ago called Will Millennials Be Able To Afford Children?, I found out that not even counting the cost of college, it costs around $240,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18.

You’re worth it, by the way!

But that would it take for me to feel comfortable (and passionate) enough to justify in my mind the expense of having another child?

Based on our current income and our plans to move to a better neighborhood so that we can get you into a good school system, I’d say… it would take doubling our family’s income, plus somehow miraculously being able to spend more time together as a family. Then I might be a little bit more ambitious when it comes to growing the family.

I’m not daring God at all on this. That’s just what it would take, based on where I’m at with it right now.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Our 5th Wedding Anniversary Gift Of Being Debt-Free!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Today is a very special day… for more than one reason.

It was five years ago that Mommy and I got married!

We had talked a couple of weeks ago about what we would get each other as 5th year anniversary gifts. Well, we couldn’t have planned this, even if we tried, but…

As of today, our family is officially debt-free!

I can’t think of any greater gift Mommy and I could give each other on this special day.

Of course, we still have a mortgage. But as far as school loans, car payments, and our credit card, which mainly consisted of our wedding expenses and pre-existing debts from single life, those are all paid off now.

No other debts. Done.

Just to make sure this good news holds its worth weight, the amount of debt we paid off was a little over $58,000. And just to be clear, our household income level is completely average for Nashville.

No, Mommy and I didn’t win the lottery, gain a huge inheritance from a rich uncle, or suddenly get a multi-million dollar book deal.

We just took Dave Ramsey very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously.

I now equate credit cards with the devil, or at least Monsanto; but really, I think they’re all the same thing anyway.

Every penny we earn is accounted for. We tell our money where to go so that it doesn’t tell us where to go. We snowballed our way into debt and we snowballed our way out.

Another thing that financial guru Dave Ramsey taught us was that if we live like no one else now, we’ll live like no one else in the future.

He jokingly talks about living off beans and rice until you’re debt-free.

Considering that through this process, you and Mommy became vegetarians, and I became a vegan, you could say we took Dave Ramsey’s “beans and rice” advice pretty literally, even though our “plant-based, non-GMO” lifestyle change was motivated more by other reasons.

Either way, our family never, and I do mean never, eats food from a restaurant anymore. That saves us a lot of money every month.

Speaking of, on January 1st, I wrote “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money in 2013,” in which I proclaimed that this would be the year we would become debt-free.

Here are the 5 ways I mentioned:

1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV.

2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones.

3. We hardly ever go out to eat. (That, of course, has since changed from “hardly ever” to “never.”)

4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100.

5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet.

Then, a week after I wrote that, I revealed that we also tithe 10% of our income. As Dave Ramsey puts it, “If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”

Oh, and I cut your hair now. That saves us about 12 bucks a month.

I’ve never been so happy in my life to be at ground zero. Our family will continue the rest of our lives with our extremely frugal (!) lifestyle no matter what our income is.

Now that we’re out of debt, we will begin to snowball our savings and eventually our investments.

Granted, one of the greatest benefits of strategically working our way out of nearly $60,000 of debt is that Mommy and I will carefully teach you everything we’ve had to learn the hard way about money management.

Apparently, that knowledge alone is worth at least $60,000. It was for us, at least.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photos by Joe Hendricks Photography.

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Will Cash Be Obsolete To The Class Of 2029?

Monday, February 4th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Saturday morning as I laid down on the floor in a haze, having woken up at 5:40 AM with you, I watched you carry around one of Mommy’s old purses, which for some reason you called your “wallet like Daddy’s.”

You then took out an old expired debit card and slid it across your high chair:

“I buy groceries with my money.”

The fact you have quietly observed Mommy and I scan our debit card enough times to associate that action with the word “money” is interesting to me.

You do understand the concept of coins being money because you have a piggy bank.

However, I’m pretty sure you have no idea what cash is. I just don’t know that you’ve ever seen Mommy or I use it.

By the time I graduated high school in 1999, I had never even heard of a debit card. All I ever used to buy anything was the green stuff, not a card.

You will graduate high school exactly 30 years after Mommy and I did. It will be the year 2029.

I’m wondering by the time you’re 18, if using cash to buy something will be as obsolete as land line phones, video rental stores, or writing checks.

To you, money may simply be a debit card. (We are Dave Ramsey followers so the thought of a credit card is taboo in our family.)

As for me, I grew up seeing how much each individual bill was worth. I knew that I preferred a $10 bill over a $1 bill. The numbers meant something more… certainly quantifiable.

For you, though, the concept of money will be much different if you grow up using a debit card instead of cash. When you look down at a debit card, you won’t literally see a sign noting $20.

Therefore, it becomes your parents’ responsibility to teach you the importance of budgeting. We must incorporate in your mind that a debit card does not symbolize simply the total amount of money in the account, but more importantly, it symbolizes the key to accessing the specific amount set aside for that exact purchase that particular day.

Mommy and I have definitely had to learn the hard way when it comes to money. But this week, we are paying off our other car.

Then, we’ll just have the rest of my student loans before we’re debt-free.

I think it’s cool to see you scan your debit card like Mommy and Daddy. I really look forward to teaching you how money works; even if it’s without getting our hands on cold, hard cash.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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