At the beginning of 2018, Kevin and I decided to take a finance class, more specifically, Financial Peace University, taught by Dave Ramsey. About 9 month prior to this decision, I started reading the book version and started listening to his show on YouTube. At around that same time, our daughter was getting married, and because we didn’t have the money to pay for a wedding, Heather and her fiance were paying for most of the wedding themselves. We felt so bad that we couldn’t do that for them. Many evenings, Kevin would get rather bummed out that he didn’t have the money to do this for our only daughter. During this time, we were also looking down the road at retirement, possibly 17 years away, and we started getting the question, “What are you going to do when you retire?” Our answer was “travel”. Both of us had grandparents who traveled a lot after retirement. The thing was, I was also looking into the future, and I knew how much debt we had and how little we had saved, and I didn’t want to be 17 years down the road and having the same conversation with my husband, bummed out that we didn’t have the money to do what we wanted to do with all of the “free time” in our future.
So, while Kevin was on a business trip, I gathered all of our bills regarding debt. Then I made a list of what we owed from largest to smallest and started planning how to attack it and focus on that initial emergency fund. When my husband came home, he noticed that debt list when he went to bed as I had it taped to his closet door, which is next to his bed. I think he thought I put it there to bum him out. So I explained what I was hoping to accomplish and he was on board with that.
In the 9 months since we started, we each worked hard to watch our spending and we paid off a few of the small bills. However, we still hadn’t attended the class or any financial class together. I had attended one years ago (not FPU) at my church. During this 9 month time, we also had new debt crop up, so the list of what we owe had a couple of revisions. But we kept plugging away and thanks to that emergency fund that we saved up for, we were able to pay for minor emergencies that cropped up. So we were doing ok, but I was still the one who had most of the information from the FPU book that I was reading.
So, back to January 2018. In December of 2017, there was a small announcement in the local newspaper about an FPU class at a local church. We both decided to go and agreed that it was a worthy investment, and it would be good if we both had all of the information. I ordered the materials and signed us up.
The class was held at the Nazarene church here in town. There were 3 other couples attending with us, so it was easier to get to know the others who we were going to talk about finances with.
Along with setting up an emergency fund, our first order of business was setting up a budget together, which this time included entertainment, clothing, doctors, prescriptions etc. Basically giving our money assignments. So, jump to today. After being on the plan for the past 17 months, we’ve been able to keep our bills paid and take care of the unexpected things or basic maintenance things fairly easily. Anytime we’ve needed to repair something in the house or on the car, we’ve been able to take care of it because it was in the budget.
So, this is hopefully the first of a few posts about this journey we’re on. I’ll try to share how we’ve found alternatives to going into debt (my husband will hopefully be sharing how he was able to replace his phone when it stopped working).
I’ll chat with you later,