Total Money Makeover- Stop the Insanity

I’m financially stupid.

Wait, maybe ‘stupid’ is the wrong word. Albert Einstein described insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ so actually I’m financially insane.

For years I’ve been over-spending then robbing Peter to pay Paul while praying for some miracle (Lotto? Rich uncle?) to make a difference in our finances. An easy 1/5th of mine and Jack’s real conversations deal with future ways of spending money, such as making improvements to the house or empty-nest traveling. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to make any real provisions for our dreams.

About a year ago I started listening to the Dave Ramsey Show on AM radio when I could find it. I listened initially because Dave was the only thing on offer on one of our trips up or down the Caprock. I kept coming back because of the no-nonsense, do-able advice on getting ahead financially- something that’s been on my mind more and more as that empty nest gets closer. Later I read two or three (or four) of Dave’s books and I’m convinced his common sense plan of building a budget, setting goals (the 7 baby steps) and basically making our money work for us, not the other way around, is the answer to our future financial health.

So, begins a new category of Average: More or Less. Since I’m so average, I know I can’t be the only person out there thinking of making some financial changes, with a focus on the future. Therefore I’m gonna post about this process: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Our first goal is to sit down together and build a budget. We’ll use information gathered from our Microsoft Money checkbook register, the big stack of unpaid medical bills in a folder on my desk and the free forms found on Dave’s website.  Sounds fun doesn’t it?

But seriously, a budget is our game plan. It’s where we tell our money what we want it to do rather than scrambling to shove money at whomever is yelling loudest. Dave says “give every dollar a name” in order to set boundaries. So that’s step number one.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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10 thoughts on “Total Money Makeover- Stop the Insanity

  1. My husband is completely debt-free after our 8 years of marriage, which is completely nuts based on where he started. We have one credit card left with a gradually decreasing balance, but it was the last on the debt snowball and the interest racked up over five years. We use for our budgeting and it’s great for a visual person like myself to SEE where the money is going and how to budget the next paycheck. Love paying cash for car repairs and vacations!

    • Thanks for your encouraging story. We’re gonna use evelopes for groceries, gas, clothing and what I like to call ‘Dollar Store’ purchases such as paper goods and health/beauty aids. I’m excited to imagine that we’ll be able to pay for vacations and car repairs at all!

  2. Congratulations! We spent the first 9 years of our marriage racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (school, credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc.) When we finally figured up the actual number, it made (and still makes) my stomach drop. After moving back to the US after 8 years abroad, we decided enough was enough. My Father-in-Law had started the Ramsey plan and gave us the “Total Money Makeover” CDs. There and then, we decided to strap ourselves in for what would be a bumpy ride. Through saving and scrimping and selling stuff and being extremely frugal, we paid off all of our debts last year. I wrote about it here: Good luck in your journey to financial freedom. It won’t be easy but it will be TOTALLY worth it. So excited to read about your progress. 🙂

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