Frugal Friday: When in Debt, Let Dave Help You


This past week I was filling out an application for a housing rental. There was a part of the application that gave me pause: creditors. I had to think for a minute. Aside from the mortgage on the rental property we own in Kansas City, there was nothing to list! No car loans, no credit cards, no school debt. That realization was a very freeing moment.

On the Road to Debt-Free
Last week I started to recount our Get Out of Debt Story. About two years ago, we set off on a path to eliminate debt from our life. It’s been a good walk, though the road has often been straight uphill or through apparent quicksand. And while it’s still a struggle to tow the frugal line, it’s a good life. Thanks be to God!

As I mentioned last week, the first thing we did was say goodbye to credit cards. We started to pay cash for everything, and we let the balance on our cards roll over. That was hard to do as we had always “paid it off every month.” Now, we had a balance — or two — or five (three credit cards, a home equity loan, and a truck loan) — to pay off. At the time it totalled over $16,000. (In the end we paid off more than that figure after interest and additional debt.)

Enter Our Good Buddy Dave
After ditching the plastic, the next step for us was to follow Dave Ramsey’s advice to those yearning to get out of debt. “Our buddy Dave” as we affectionately call him at our house is a personal finance coach for the masses. While there are plenty of other voices out there giving financial advice, Dave’s was the one that “spoke to us.” His no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is manner really appealed to both FishPapa and I. He’s a hard hitter, but I think he speaks the truth in love. It helped that he had made million dollar mistakes himself. The voice of experience carries weight with me. And everything he said, made sense.

And each bit of advice that we followed, worked. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

First I started listening to the free podcast of the Dave Ramsey Show everyday, usually via the free 30 minutes downloadable through itunes. Then, I tackled Dave’s book, The Total Money Makeover.

You can read my review of the book or, better yet, get a copy from the library and just read it. It’s a great book, an easy read you could finish in a few days. It filled me with hope and gave me tools to start on the road out of debt. Within a few months of my reading the book, an audio copy fell into FishPapa’s hands. With us both hearing and heeding what Dave had to say, we were united in this monumental journey.

Roadside Help
Readers have commented that it is hard to pursue a debt-free life if your spouse isn’t on board. I would guess that it’s practically impossible. I thank God that my husband and I were usually on the same page as we started this journey. There were a few minor things that we disagreed on — and I’ll explain those later. But, I remember that first conversation we had about ditching the credit cards. I had been listening to the Dave Ramsey Show and knew that was our first step. It wasn’t that I needed to convince my husband of something, but I needed to make sure I was willing to follow his lead. As we talked, it became evident to both of us what we needed to do. I am blessed to have a husband who is willing to do it the hard, but right, way. And I realize that is a gift from the Lord.

If you are not in the same situation, I do recommend listening to “my buddy Dave” for awhile. He regularly answers calls from people who have unwilling spouses. The calls that I’ve heard him answer were always done logically and compassionately.

Following good advice is an excellent way to save money.

Part Three: Take a Financial Snapshot

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Comments

  1. That's one of my favorite finance books. :)

  2. Diann @ The Thrifty Groove says:

    We have been fans of Dave's for awhile now. I followed his basic principals to get out of credit card debt and I can say it worked!

  3. My husband and I attended Dave's Financial Peace University (FPU) at our church earlier this year. We are working on Baby Step 2—The Debt Snowball. It's tough, but we've paid off about $9000 so far this year. We've got a long way to go still, but we've got a good start I think. I can't wait to call Dave and tell him that "WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEE!"

  4. Southern Gal says:

    Love that book. Ordered his deluxe money envelopes last month and it's putting grocery shopping into a new perspective. When it's gone, it's gone…

  5. Some friends of ours took Financial Peace University earlier this year through our church, and they loaned us the book and CDs that came with the class to read and to listen to. The only debt that we carry is our mortgage (thankfully!), but we are still enjoying all of the advice and wisdom that he offers in the CD lectures. We would definitely recommend his class to anyone struggling (or not struggling!) financially.

  6. Amy Platon says:

    The best way to stretch a buck is to not spend it. I stay in. The fewer trips I make out of my home the less I spend. But I did realize that I made the most progress in lowering my debt when I got honest with my situation. I think if you are showing your spouse the honest figures there is no arguing (not if your showing to make changes not to blame the situation on the other person.) Once you're honest about your finances and you start telling friends you're in debt you will believe it, then start living your way out of it. I don't say "Honey i saved $30 at the grocery store." anymore. Cause I haven't saved a thing until it hits the savings account. Keep on keepin' on!

  7. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free says:

    Oh man, Dave is the man! We wouldn't be where we are financially without him. His FPU classes is what initiated our debt-freedom journey, and ultimately the birth of my blog. His materials and shows definitely come with high recommends from me, as well.

  8. I have never read his book; I should check it out of the library!

  9. I've read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book, and watched his TV show a number of times. I'm glad his advice works for some people to help them get out of debt. However, I am SO glad I didn't encounter his advice earlier as it would have cost me tens of thousands of dollars if I had followed his philosophy regarding credit cards. I've never paid a dime in fees to a credit card company in my 38 years of using credit cards. I don't spend more as a result as I make lists before I shop.

    What I find most amusing about Dave's TV show is the way he bullies people – "believe what I say or you are STUPID." Well I don't believe everything he says as some of it makes no sense at all. And guess what? I'm not stupid and am very financially comfortable. To those who see a different path, please don't let his bullying intimidate you. Not all that he says fits all people and all circumstances. He is a TV/radio personality with some very basic, simplistic advice that works for some folks, but certainly not all.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

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