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Monday, April 25, 2011

We're on our way to being Fiscally Fit

No, you read it right, "Fiscally Fit" (not physically fit).

Jim and I have read the Dave Ramsey book, "The Total Money Makeover" and we are going to hit our finances with "Gazelle Intensity". Dave pointed out in his book that a gazelle can outmanuever a cheetah (the fastest land mammal) one in 19 times... because of their hard work and total focus.

Jim, as most of you know has been seeing a pshychologist to help him overcome the extreme stress and depression caused by his job and our financial state. In one of his early meetings, the doctor was suprised to find out the things we were doing to "fix" our finances and that Jim had never heard of Dave Ramsey before. He told Jim, "You are already doing the things that he has written about". So Jim started listening to him on the radio on his car ride home from work. He purchased the book (kindle edition for our free kindle download on the pc) and began reading it. He kept telling me different principles that were being talked about and mentioned several times that he would like for me to read the book too.

Since he began reading before me, he stated working with the "Baby Steps" (there are 7 steps in the book) and by the time I began to read (and finished) we were already at Baby Step 3... As I mentioned before, we were doing somethings already (such as, we had already been living on a budget for 2 years now) so that was easy enough to adapt to. Then Baby Step 1 (saving $1,000 fast). Baby Step 2 was unique for our situation in that we did it the "gut wrenching way"- What Dave calls the "Debt Snowball" (the principle where you list all of your debt lowest balance to highest and you make min. payments on all except the very smallest balance in which you apply what ever extra money you can find to that small balance until it's paid off, then you apply that money plus whatever extra to the next smallest balance and so on)- well, we had already gone through bankruptcy which believe me, is not the easy way out. You will face reprocussions from bankruptcy for many years to come. Next is Baby Step 3~ saving for a fully funded emergency fund. Once your debt is gone, your basic household expenses (including a mortgage payment) is what's left to pay so you are to save between 3 and 6 months worth of money to cover your expenses. We are very close to meeting our goal.

So what will we do next? Baby Step 4 is saving for retirement, Baby Step 5 is saving for your child's college and Baby Step 6 is paying off your home (if you own a home, otherwise it's saving for a 100% down payment (or sizable downpayment on a 15-year mortgage) and Baby Step 7 is a 3 parter: a) have fun b) keep investing c) and GIVE

Here's the hard part of this process: SACRIFICE! We have made major cutbacks in the last 3 years because we were forcced to, however, there are areas where I (not so much Jim) need to be super diligent about- I have got to cut out the eating out so much. Even though the money is coming out of our food budget, and I not going over the budget, it's money that is spent that could be put towards something else. We're starting much later in life on being Fiscally Fit, so for retirement we have about 20 years to save and for Joshua's college we have only 16 years to save. That's really not a lot of time when you think about the fact that we could have been saving for 20 to 30 years already...

So, what willwe do with the money we have been able to save (and grow in investments). Well, for me, the giving part sounds so much more fun than the actual having fun part. Jim and I would LOVE to be like Elder James Compton and his wife (in their younger years) and go around to PB churches in the US (and other countries if needed) and help fix church buildings (repairs, additions, etc.) Wouldn't that be so nice to be able to freely give of your time and your money to help sustain a church that may not have the funds to do so... it's pure excitement!

As for the having fun part... the possibilities are endless. We both would love to travel to Italy, I personally would love to go on an alaskan cruise, and quite frankly, I think it would be tons of fun to have someone come clean my house for me (haha).

So what would you do if you were so fiscally fit that you had no dream out of reach? Where would you give of your time and money if you had plenty to give?


Bekah said...

That sounds like a very interesting book! I wouldn't have thought to approach the Debt Snowball in that way. Godspeed to you and Jim!

The first thing I would do if I had the money would be to buy my mom a house near us and move her out here poste-haste! And then pay for the doctor bills when she has panic attacks over the traffic and earthquakes. :-)

His Mercy Endureth Forever said...

I'm really impressed with how well you all have stuck to your budget. That takes so much committment and hard work.

Brittany said...

I just read totally money makeover! We are doing it too! It takes work but the rewards are endless! Keep going!

lydia said...

We loosely follow Dave Ramsey's plan. We're not as disciplined with it as we should be, but I definitely think it's a great plan! The best thing for us has been the cash/envelope system. It really helps me stick to my grocery budget better! I need to be able to physically see how much money I have. It makes me spend it more wisely!

I would love to be able to take a vacation to several European countries (England, Ireland, Italy). It's also been a dream of mine to start a pregnancy care center.