Archive for March 5, 2013

Don’t Live Paycheck to Paycheck; Turn Things Around Like We Did

Do you always run out of money before the next paycheck? Do you need credit cards to get by? Do you want to live a life of financial freedom?

Wendi Joy of Budgeting

You can turn your financial life around, but it is going to require work. It will take effort, and you will have to make some hard decisions. If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always got. Resolve to turn things around today.

What comes to your mind when you think of budgeting? I bet it is not joy, though it can be. My wife, Wendi, was recently asked speak at Parkview Christian Church’s Women’s Retreat, and the theme was “Choose Joy.”

Because of the success we have had with Dave Ramsey (mainly due to Wendi’s ability to create a spending allocation plan and budget that works for us), Wendi was asked to give a presentation on the “Joy in Budgeting.”

In her 45–minute talk, Wendi spoke about our struggles to make ends meet, even though we made good money. She talked about how we relied on credit cards when we moved from Hillsboro, Ohio, to Wooster, Ohio, and maintained two residences for a year. Both of us took much less money when we moved to Wooster because it was important we be near her father, who was dealing with a health issue at the time (he is doing much better today).

Our finances began to improve, but it wasn’t until we started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that things began to turn around. We had read “The Tightwad Gazette” (a great book of tips on how to live a frugal life, was printed in 1998, but still some good advice) and Mary Hunt’s books, but it was Ramsey’s 13–week Financial Peace University that helped us put it all together.

In her presentation, Wendi made it clear, financial freedom is a possibility, but things have to change, like making a budget and sticking to it. A budget is merely a spending plan that directs where the money you earn will be spent. As Ramsey says, it is spending every dollar you earn on paper before you receive it.

Normally, it is just the opposite: We spend our money on plastic (credit cards) before we ever earn it. In so doing, we are committing future dollars we might or might not earn.

Wendi was concerned about whether anyone would sign up for a “Joy in Budgeting” presentation. Well, they did. She had to get more seats for her presentation as the number who attended exceeded the number who registered.

Each of them were given a booklet because Wendi did not want them to miss anything. She later expanded on the booklet and has offered it for sale on Amazon. It is available only in the Kindle format right now. (You can check out the “Joy in Budgeting” when you click here.)

In her book, Wendi lays out a plan to turn your financial life around. Here are many of the steps:

  1. Make a monthly spending plan (aka your budget!)
  2. Make it a commitment, and get an accountability partner
  3. Make a decision to give a portion of your income to a church or charity
  4. Set up an emergency fund of $1,000 to avoid a financial crisis
  5. Follow a plan to get out of debt, whether it is Hunt’s Rapid Debt Reduction or Ramsey’s Debt Snowball (they are basically the same thing)
  6. Put money aside in a freedom account each pay period to help with ongoing bills or expenses you have (like Christmas gifts, property taxes, license plate fees, school clothes, etc.)
  7. Use cash where you can (because you will spend less)

If you have Dave Ramsey’s or Mary Hunt’s materials, then it is likely you will not need Wendi’s book about the “Joy in Budgeting.” If you don’t, then it might be worth your while to check it out.

However, the primary goal is to help you get out of debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck and turn your life around, which is why I created a page to help you get out of debt. You can visit it here, and check out the free resources at the bottom of the page. Best wishes. Let me know how you do.

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