Posts Tagged ‘
Dave Ramsey ’
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
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.
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budget, budgeting, Dave Ramsey, debt, debt free, family budget, finance, financial planning, money, Robert Kiyosaki | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, The Dadabase
Friday, July 5th, 2013
2 years, 7 months.
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.
Photos by Joe Hendricks Photography.
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Monday, February 4th, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
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.
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Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
2 years, 1 month.
A week ago when I published “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013,” I intentionally left off one crucial way that I believe our family saves money. Maybe it’s not so much about it saving us money, as much as it helps us manage our budget with even more discipline and focus.
In fact, out of the 5 impractical ways I listed, I see this “6th way” as not only undeniably impractical, but the most important, for our family, at least:
For us, that means we give 10% of our paychecks to our church. From there, a lot of that money goes to helping people not only in our area, but all over the world.
Of course, that 10% of our income isn’t the only money we give to help others, because we help financially support other non-profit organizations that help people too.
But right off the top of every paycheck, we know that 10% of it goes to our church, which in turn helps other people.
I should be clear about something: It’s not that we have a 10% excess in our income. Not at all. Instead, we build our budget around the 10% we tithe.
(That might help explain why we can’t afford cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or eating out, or updating our electronics… which I pointed out in 5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.)
Financial guru Dave Ramsey, who includes tithing as part of his teaching, puts it this way:
“If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”
If this can make any sense, we can’t afford not to tithe.
We believe that God will bless our family’s efforts as we acknowledge that what we have is not ours to begin with; instead, everything we have is what God has given to us.
So to “give back” 10%, technically isn’t giving back.
But I believe a lot of the importance of tithing has to do with the mindset it puts a family in. In the likeness of feng shui, tithing constantly keeps us mindful of where each dollar we earn goes.
Just like the importance of having a solid weekly budget on Excel, tithing helps us tell our money where to go, before it can tell us where to go.
Therefore, I think tithing is even a good idea for families who don’t go to church, as well as, those who aren’t particularly religious at all.
I would venture to say that a family who always gives at least 10% of their income to, at least, a charity that helps the needy, even if it’s not through a religious organization, is still going to find that they manage their money better than before they started promising to give away 10% of their income.
Sure, giving away 10% of every paycheck is pretty extreme and not necessarily normal.
But I suppose for a family who doesn’t pay for cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or for the fact we don’t really dine out, or update our electronics, I guess it’s not really that much of a shock that we automatically give away 10% of our income.
Photo: Giving Offering Sharing Blessing Background, Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
2 years, 1 month.
From first glance, we look like a pretty normal American family. If people only knew…
As for this time around, I would like to focus on 5 impractical ways that our family saves money…
I’ve heard it said that Generation Y parents are predicted to become much like the penny-pinching generation who was our age during the Great Depression.
Well, I believe it. Here’s the how and the why.
These are 5 impractical ways we as a family save money:
1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV. Instead, we pay $7.99 a month for the Netflix streaming plan. We have unlimited access all the shows you love, like Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street; for Mommy and me, there’s Lost and The Office. That’s not even mentioning all the movies that are available.
2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones. Since we’re already paying for wireless Internet for our house and because our jobs don’t directly depend on it, it’s difficult for us to justify paying even more for Internet so we can play Angry Birds on our phones while we’re bored. Because honestly, as your parents, we never have time to be bored. I wouldn’t mind that, though.
3. We hardly ever go out to eat. By hardly ever, I mean, on a bad month, about twice. While the documentary Food Inc. conveys a message that a family of 4 can eat for less on McDonald’s Dollar Menu, that’s not accounting for the fact there won’t be leftovers the next day. Shunning restaurants saves money.
4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100. My iPod has a cracked screen and its charge only lasts about 2 days. The screen of our 2006 model TV is only 30 inches wide, yet the length of it is nearly just as long. Oh yeah, and it’s been struck by lightning, so parts of the screen are discolored. Mommy and I have had the same cell phones for well over 2 years, but because Verizon recently started charging an “activation fee” for their “free phones,” we decided to just keep our old ones. In other words, if it ain’t dead, don’t fix it.
5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet. Like financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will tell you where to go.” It’s impractical to account for every dollar spent, but knowing that we are projected to reach “debt free” status in 2013, I don’t mind living an impractical lifestyle.
So what if we shun credit cards and cable TV like the plague, or perhaps more relevantly, like high-fructose corn syrup? Mommy and I are obsessed with telling our money where to go.
We’ve learned the hard way. Just a couple of years ago, our money was telling us where to go. As for 2013, Lord willing, we will finally be free of debt.
Somehow, becoming debt-free is one of the most practical things I can think of.
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