Tag Archive for Dave Ramsey

How do you Tackle Debt? One Bill at a Time

Guest Post by Beverly Hootman

“Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.”

Col. 4:2b, The Message

Wendi with an Eye

We were at one time debt-free and only left with a mortgage.

What?! Yes, it is true. We went through a financial program, and it was free. We were diligent about getting things paid off, and we did it early.

Then … we decided we wanted to move from Ohio to Florida, and so we did. That is where a lot of our debt came from.

When my husband’s retirement ran out, we lived off of credit cards until he was able to get a full-time job. Why? Because we wanted what we wanted and we got it!

We also got a pile of debt in the process!

This year Dave Ramsey kept popping up all around us here and there. Then it was at church, of all places!

Every Sunday someone was reminding us about the Financial Peace University (FPU) class coming up in February. My husband and I kept saying, “We have gotten out of debt before and we will just keep with that plan; it was free.”

Then someone at church suggested we audit the class to see how it is different. It only took one class and we were hooked. Life has not been the same since.

The Results

  • We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Debt will be done and we will not be going back. That has lifted a weight off all our shoulders.
  • We are working together as a couple and tackling this mole hill. We are meeting weekly to discuss our budget and future expenses. We have discussed the necessary cutbacks with our children, to become debt free in the next two years.
  • Our children have now learned to hate debt. This pleases my mommy heart. Yes, learn from our mistakes little ones!!
  • We took all of last years bank statements and placed every transaction in a category.
  • We found our biggest problem area is food. Our grocery “budget” was $600-700 in reality it was $1,200-1,300.
  • Our eating-out “budget” was $0, but in reality it was $100-150. We solved this by using Dave Ramsey’s envelope system and not using a debit card.
  • We also plan meals for two weeks and go shopping in one big trip with only a milk and produce run in between.
  • I have been giving out snacks when dinner is running late and cooking it anyways, even if it means we eat at 7 o’clock at night. Last month we spent $900 for groceries and eating out!! It makes our goal of $700 feel reasonable.

Tax Return

  • First we built up our emergency fund to $1,000.
  • Then we paid off the lender with the smallest balance. Now we will throw that monthly payment onto the next lender with the smallest balance.
  • In January of this year we were looking at being debt-free by May of 2015. We are now looking at February of 2015 being debt-free. It is just a matter of throwing what we can when we can and knocking that debt down even faster.

So are you staying alert? Are you looking with things with wide eyes or narrow? Are you appreciating what you have and saving for the future?

About Beverly Hootman: I am just a girl who loves running after God and falls flat on her face doing it. I like being real and transparent, not sugar-coating life’s issues. I love my husband and the five children God has blessed us with. I stay at home and home-school our children. I enjoy my morning time with God, blaring music, dancing with my children and giving my husband a kiss goodnight.

Are You Sacrificing Your Core for the Elusive Cutting Edge?

As I boarded a flight at the Akron-Canton Airport for Boston to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference, I brought with me my trusty Kindle Fire HD.

Old school notebook

‘I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!’

I have so many books on it, ranging from The Story Template, Simply Jesus, Click Millionaires, Necessary Endings, EntreLeadership, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Princess Grace, How to Deliver a TED Talk, APE: Author, Publisher, Editor and others, it was tough deciding which would I would read on the two-hour flight.

I finally settled on Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright.

I sat down and started reading the book. I highlighted a passage I found to be particularly profound about how the teachings and sayings of Jesus made sense to some people who considered him the messiah, while those same words led others to want to assassinate him.

As I was typing in my note, the flight attendant repeated herself several times informing me and everyone else on the airplane to turn off all electronic devices and stow them away.

It seemed like it took me forever to write a very short note (I was in such a hurry I didn’t even capitalize Jesus and feel bad about it now), but I managed to get it recorded. I shut off the Kindle and settled in for the flight.

Before we could take off, the plane needed to be de-iced. It turned out to be about a 15-minute process. I sat there with my amazing and incredible Kindle (I really do love the device, you can see what I mean here, here, here and here, and if you are really ambitious, here) tucked under my left arm, and I waited and waited and waited for the plane to be de-iced so we could taxi down the runway, take off from the airport and reach a high-enough altitude so I could turn on my amazing and incredible Kindle.

I happened to notice a guy sitting across the aisle one row up who was reading The Wall Street Journal. I immediately thought he never has to fold up his newspaper and lay it down. Altitude means nothing to a newspaper reader on an airplane.

The lady next to me was involved in completing word searches printed in one of those magazines you would find in a dollar store.

The man to immediate right across the aisle was utilizing some old-school technology: He was reading a traditional paperback book.

Their encounters with the written word proceeded uninterrupted during the de-icing process. I, however, was not so fortunate.

I sat there, Kindle still clutched under my arm, and thought about how sometimes we are too quick to discard yesterday’s technologies, yesterday’s devices and yesterday’s ideas for new things that might relatively unknown, unproven and untested.

However, those old things served our parents and grandparents well. They were able to accomplish great things without computers, GPS units, smartphones, smart TVs, the Internet, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi, Eye-Fi or Re-Fi (OK, maybe they needed Re-Fi).

As I sat on the airplane thinking about all of this, I pondered this question: Are we sacrificing our core for the elusive cutting edge?

I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!


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.

Do You Remember Where You Were the First Time You Heard Dave Ramsey?

It is 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, Feb. 23, 2013. I can hear my wife, Wendi, rehearsing for a talk she is giving today about “Joy in Budgeting.” She is talking about how we ended up being part of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class.

Wendi Warren

Wendi Warren speaking at a Dale Carnegie class.

So, do you remember where you were the first time you heard Dave Ramsey?

I was driving in my car listening to a radio station out of Akron, Ohio, when I heard Dave’s program. He seemed to be making a lot of sense. But, something Dave said intrigued me: “The only way to true financial peace is to walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.”

I would catch Dave a few more times before my wife and I finally decided to become part of an FPU class in town. It was being offered at Grace Brethren Church in Wooster, Ohio. Almost immediately, it turned our lives around. This was in January 2009.

Later that year, Wendi and I facilitated the FPU class at our church, Parkview Christian Church, where it helped others get on better financial standing.

It was nice to hear how Dave Ramsey’s teachings came into our lives and helped us to eliminate debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck and not have to charge something when there is a major home or car repair. We are also giving more and helping out children in developing countries. Not too shabby for a couple of people who were struggling to make ends meet.

Wendi wrote a booklet for the class, which is now offered for $2.99 in Amazon’s Kindle store, aptly titled “Joy in Budgeting.” The Kindle version contains more material than the booklet she is handing out, and it has links to additional free resources, like spreadsheet templates for a spending plan (a budget) and an allocation plan (how your money will be distributed).

If you are looking to get out of debt, then Wendi’s book is a good place to start. Also, be sure to check out the Get Out of Debt page on this blog.

So, where were you when you first heard Dave Ramsey, and what were your impression?


Celebrate Financial Freedom This New Year, Here’s How

IMAG0374 - Tony,Bocea,Sand

It was a year ago that Wendi and I were ringing in the new year at the wedding of Sean Kilbane and the former Laura Siedlecki (the photo above is from their wedding). Wendi and I have been happily married since March 4, 1995, and with every wedding we attend, we sort of renew our vows. When the couple exchange vows, we remember when we made the same ones and what a blessing our marriage has been.

The reality is that marriages, and lives, are strained for financial reasons. Mishandling of money leads to a lot of broken homes and broken families, which results in many children having to live in poverty.

A wise man once told me, “Bobby, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much you spend.” This truth is so simple it is profound and why so many will never follow it.

We are a culture that wants instant gratification. We don’t want to save our money until we have enough to buy; we want to put it on credit or take out a loan. If you can get beyond the instant gratification, then you are on your way to being successful. Don’t believe me? Check out this TED Talk (this post resumes below the video).

I understand impulses and wanting things now, but if you spend less than you earn, then you are setting yourself up for success. I know, because it happened for me.

Wendi and I made pretty good money, but we always lived paycheck to paycheck until … wait for it … we started taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class at a church in town. It seems as if in no time, we paid off credit cards, paid off our vehicles years early and had money on hand for true emergencies.

The reality is this: If you want to improve your financial standing in 2013, then get yourself in a nearby Dave Ramsey class. It will change your life. How would you like to no longer have to worry about money? How would you like to have extra money the day before payday? All of this can happen if you are willing to make changes.

Do yourself a favor and spend some time watching these Financial Peace University preview videos. Because Ramsey’s company does not allow embedding the videos, you will have to click on the following links: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

After you have finished watching the FPU preview, then you will want to see if there is a class in your area. Go to Dave Ramsey’s website and click on the link to search for a class here.

I have my issues with Ramsey and his organization, but it is undeniable how his program turned my family’s finances around. For that, I am ever grateful.

Ramsey’s program might seem a little steep for some, but it is probably cheaper than some of the things you have put on a credit card. If you do not want to pay for the class, then check out some of his books and other offerings here: Dave Ramsey resources.

Another person who is helpful, but does not market herself like Ramsey, is Mary Hunt. I saw her share her story on television many moons ago about how she racked up so much credit card debt and how she paid off the debt. You will find her materials very easy to read, to understand and to implement. You will also want to check out: Mary Hunt resources.

After Dave Ramsey’s program helped get us out of debt, my wife and I still had subscribed to Mary Hunt’s website, Debt-Proof Living, to support her because of guidance her teachings provided for us.

If you have absolutely no money to spend at this time, then do not fear. Below you will find three embedded PDF files, two lessons and one PowerPoint presentation, regarding changing your financial outlook.

I taught these lessons at Parkview Christian Church (formerly Parkview Church of Christ) in Wooster, Ohio. If you follow the information below, then you have a chance to turn your financial picture around and live more abundantly.

I pray this will be the year you get those finances under control and turn things around. FPU did this for us in 2009, let it do it for you in 2013.

As you look at the information below, some things to keep in mind: The prices for FPU are probably different now than they were three years ago and the PCC Debt-Free blog is no longer updated since the class wrapped up. However, there is still some good information out there.

Update: This was my first attempt at trying to embed PDF documents in a blog. What I did not realize is that I needed to set up a Scribd.com account in order to have the actual PDFs display. I cannot tell you how many times I edited and changed this post since it was first published at midnight. It is now 12:46 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013, and I am signing off.

%d bloggers like this: