I remember being in college, driving home from Henderson, TN to Lebanon, TN, and turning on Super Talk 99.7 in Nashville. I heard some crazy guy talking about money. Seeing as I didn’t have any money, I thought maybe I should take a moment and listen to this guy. My life has never been the same.
Dave Ramsey has helped many people over many years. His ideas just make sense, at least, for some people. Some of his key points:
1. Don’t have credit cards
2. Don’t spend money you don’t have
3. Pay off debt
4. Don’t lease cars or even have a car payment
There are many other things that he recommends, but you get the gist. He hates debt. I have learned to hate it as well.
When I got of college, I decided I was going to try to adopt the Dave Ramsey suggestions. I still don’t have a credit card. I haven’t had a car payment since 2005. We paid cash for both of the cars we own now (mine has 168,000 miles on it…) and never plan on having a car payment again.
Dave Ramsey understands that paying off a home is a really big deal, and is pretty hard for most people in a quick amount of time. He encourages everyone to pay off student loans, credit card debt (which I’ve never had), car debt, etc, and after that happens, you start saving for college for kids, etc. He wants you pay off your home, but he has a systematic way of doing it.
We paid off Kristen’s old blue Honda CRV about 5 years ago. We paid off my old Ford Explorer before we got married. We paid off Kristen’s Student Loans about 4 years ago. The hardest part was my student loan. I had well over $25,000 in Student Loans. We had spent a lot of our savings on paying off the other loans, and we got a little lazy in paying off mine. We convinced ourselves that the $180 a month payment just wasn’t that big a deal, and we lived with it.
After we moved to Houston, we decided enough was enough. Once again, we lived on less than we make, and paid off my loans. Over the past 6 months, we paid off $18,000 in loans, and now, we are officially debt free except our house. You have no idea how great this feels. I’m hoping we’ll change our family tree. I’m hoping our children won’t have to take out student loans. I’m hoping that our children will think car payments are stupid.
All said and done, almost 7 years of marriage, we’ve paid off about $45,000 in debt. $18,000 of that was in the last 6 months! $3837 of it was today.
Did you know that the average car payment in America is over $400 a month financed over 6-7 years. That is RIDICULOUS! Believe me, I’ve wanted some newer cars in the past. I’ve dreamed of owning a nice truck since we’ve been married, but no vehicle is better than being debt free.
Now believe me, we’re not rich, and now that we’re debt free doesn’t mean that we’re going to be rich. What we are is happy. Its great when it comes Christmas time that we don’t pay for it for the next 6 months. We’re ecstatic that now we can start saving for things we really want, instead of having to pay off debt.
The thing is, YOU CAN DO THIS TOO! If we can do it, anyone can do it. Many of my friends have done this, or are working towards this, and I know you can too! I’d love to answer any questions you have. You can learn a lot at http://www.daveramsey.com or by downloading his iPhone app, which has answers to lots of questions right at your fingertips!
Now, if we can just teach our politicians to live on less than they make…