A few years ago, my husband started listening to talk radio. Every afternoon, he listened to some talk show host named Dave Ramsey give financial advice. I’ve never been one for self-help books, or taking advice from strangers. So, when my husband told me about this crazy Dave guy, I laughed at him and went on about the business of ‘normal’ life, which included using credit cards and financing new vehicles. I figured that we’d get it all paid off someday, why worry?
After a month of my husband telling me stories of Dave’s latest nuggets of wisdom, I finally broke down and listened to the show. I was absolutely amazed at what I heard. This guy wasn’t giving advice that was impossible, nor was he trying to get me to send in some exorbitant amount of my hard-earned money in exchange for a few insider secrets on personal finance. Dave’s advice made sense. Anyone could become debt-free by following Dave’s plan. After I got over my initial shock, I ran to the library and checked out copies of all of Dave’s books, and glued myself to my Sirius satellite radio every night from 8pm to 11pm to listen to Dave. My husband and I then mapped out a budget, planned out our debt snowball, and put Dave’s plan into action. Back then, we were looking at 2 new cars and a new motorcycle with liens on them. Several credit cards and student loans rounded out the list of our financial mishaps. We had really great credit, with scores in the 700s, but we just utilized our credit as much as possible.
Since we got on Dave’s plan, we have changed our traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. We are also paying extra on it every month, to get it paid off in about ten years. I sold that motorcycle that I just HAD to have, and got rid of that debt. We’ve paid off my car, and my husband’s car is nearly paid off. Sallie Mae is about ready to leave our lives forever, and so are the credit cards – we’ve paid off 5 out of 6. And best of all, we have a fully-funded emergency fund of almost one year’s expenses.
In addition, I’ve been blessed enough to be able to quit my full-time ‘real’ job, and work from home. Following Dave’s career advice (yes, he does speak about careers in his books and on his show), I threw myself into my writing. Not only do I write for Helium, but I write for about eight other online sites, and several print magazines. I also write for a local newspaper. If we hadn’t listened to Dave and cleaned up our list of debts and gotten an emergency fund in place, I’d still be going to work in the same old job every day. Our emergency fund gave me the confidence I needed to stay home with the kids, and start marketing my writing. I now have more work than I can handle. I am also back in school to finish my Bachelor’s degree, and my schooling is being paid for with grants, tuition assistance, and cash. Like Dave says, it is completely possible to go to college debt-free.I can’t give Dave 100% of the credit, as I know this is all the Lord’s doing. Dave was just the catalyst to get my family to think about our financial health and eliminate our debt. Our lives have never been better, and we owe it all to Dave’s teachings, which are based on Biblical teachings. We are so thankful that we have even decided to become Financial Peace University facilitators at our local church, to give others the opportunity to “Live Like No One Else.” We are also striving to have the same credit score that Dave has – his credit score is 0. Like Dave says, “debt is normal – it’s okay to be weird.”