Thursday, May 28

TMM: Part 1

As most of you know, it's no secret that my brain stopped accepting feeds with "Math" tags at around age 11. And when it comes to keeping track of the bills and cash-flow plan (that is, when there is cash to flow), my attitude is a pitifully apathetic "Meh." So, when as part of our wedding present Noah's aunt and uncle gave us Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, I welcomed its simple planning sheets and debt-tracking tables. By the way, Noah's aunt and uncle won Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Challenge. And the prize? Fifty grand and a Caribbean cruise. Other than Dave himself, they're pretty much The Authority On This.

Kim and Chance are devoted Christians, and doing the TMM not only allowed them to become debt free, it also led Chance to embrace faith. Their story is nothing short of inspirational, and in this series I'll be sharing Kim's responses to a few questions to help us newbies squash debt and quit letting our money tell us what to do, instead of the other way around.

P.S. This series was suggested by the lovely Jillian Frank of And Other Times, who with her gorgeous family has begun taking the baby steps toward financial peace.

Without further ado, I give you Kim Morrow, on when she first heard of the TMM and why she decided to try it:
I first heard of Dave Ramsey back in 1997. My brother, Quin, and his wife, Saya, had taken Dave's course, Financial Peace University. That was also the first time I ever heard a "Daveism", as the people in Dave's office call his sayings. Quin mentioned a car "fleece" in a conversation about a car lease. At the time it meant nothing to me. Neither did the book. I put it away without reading the first paragraph.

Fast forward about four years. Chance and I were living in Florida with two small children, about to give birth to our third. We met with a financial counselor who told us it would take about 40 years to pay off our substantial credit card debt. We felt hopeless. I was a stay at home mom, Chance was making about $35,000. We were not living extravagantly at all—three children in a small two bedroom house, old cars, no fancy vacations. But, all in all, our credit card debt was just a result of no financial plan. We had no savings, so if something in the house broke down, the repair went on a credit card. If we wanted to "treat" ourselves to dinner out, that went on a credit card too.

It got to the point where our credit card MINIMUM payments were $1,200. A month. We even had to buy groceries using credit cards. I remember sitting in the Wal-Mart parking lot, calling my credit cards until I could find one that had enough room for me to buy groceries that week.

Chance started hearing Dave on the radio, and he was very impressed with what Dave was saying. He kept encouraging me to listen, but I was the reluctant spouse. The last thing I wanted was to listen to some man tell me what to do with money I didn't have. Finally, I gave in just to appease my husband. It didn't take me long, though, before I realized this Dave Ramsey guy had a plan, and that was something we had NEVER had!

I also started hearing some things that made me wonder if this was the guy that Quin and Saya had been telling me about all those years ago. Then I heard the term, car "fleece", and I knew it! I climbed up in my attic, dug through a couple of boxes, and sure enough there it was...that old green copy of Financial Peace. I sat down and read that book in about 48 hours. I could not believe how clear it all seemed to me, and for the first time in a long time, I had hope.

We were in our mid-thirties with three children, no savings, and $56,000 in credit card debt. We were at the end of our rope. We were either going to slowly climb our way back up, or just let go. Dave Ramsey gave us the hope and the tools to hang on.
Up next in Part 2...Kim reveals their most challenging step.


Slamdunk said...

Great information.

I used to listen to Ramsey regularly when I lived in his hometown--when he was doing the small local radio gig. Wonderful to see that his advice and planning assitance have helped so many now that he is a big shot.

Erin said...

Noah and I actually ran into him twice when we lived in Nashville—once in the hospital, and actually, he was on our flight to Florida for our honeymoon.

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