Financial Peace

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envelope_sys_redI have a red wallet with some envelopes in it that hold the cash I use to make regular purchases like paper towels, groceries, toothpaste, dog food and prescriptions. I have been stopped several times over the last two years of using these envelopes and asked where I got them and why I use them. “Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey?” I say. Sometimes they say yes and sometimes they say no but they are always interested.

It has occurred to me over the past couple of months that some of you may wonder about my preferences for decorating, redoing, painting or even checking books out from the library. Generally, I am a frugal individual and so is The Southern Gent. However, there is more to our predilections than just frugality.

Mere weeks into the financial crisis of 2008, I bought a house in Columbia, SC. In addition to the poor timing of that purchase, months later, I found myself without a job. Oh, and not only did I have a mortgage payment I was struggling to make, I also had student loans from law school that equaled 2/3 the amount of my mortgage. Stress does not begin to describe those feelings I had in the Fall of 2008. Somehow I hung on until I found a job in early 2009.  Around that same time I also met The Southern Gent. The following year we were married and together we had two mortgages and two sets of law school loans.

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I know that many couples have disagreements over money but thankfully, and so far, we do not fight about money. The amount of debt we had in student loans and my house in Columbia we could not sell was so staggering that when we talked about getting married we decided we would focus on getting out from underneath this mountain of debt we had heaped on ourselves. This is where Dave Ramsey came into the picture.

Thanks to a smart friend of mine I had met when I lived in Montana I had actually heard of Dave Ramsey before The Southern Gent presented me with free tickets he won off the radio for one of Dave’s live events here in Charleston in 2010. The event was hilarious and painful all at the same time. I left there motivated though. Having been unsuccessful at Dave’s principals on my solo run with them in Montana, I was happy to try again but this time with someone to hold me accountable and for me to do the same with him.

I don’t mean to imply that it has been easy over the last couple of years or that we do not have “discussions” about money. However, we have a common goal and we are not wavering and that, in the end, keeps things at spirited “discussion” levels instead of yelling matches. We save those for important things, like whether plants should be relocated to another part of the yard, or which color to paint a room!

Anyway, my point in sharing this adventure with you is to let you know about Dave Ramsey’s book, Financial Peace Revisited. If you are looking for a plan to get out from under your mountain of debt, I would recommend this book to you. In following the steps in the book to financial freedom, the average person uncovers themselves in 18 months. It may take us a bit longer than that.

So, now you know why I have even more of a love for redoing things myself! If you want to see my cool envelopes, click here. If you have any of your own getting out from debt stories, I would love to hear them.

Happy Monday everyone!

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