Part 5 – Organizing your finances week… My interview with Dave Ramsey

March 17, 2011

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Ramsey for my blog recently (Through email).  I asked him some questions that my blog readers had sent in a while ago.  To be able to gain knowledge from such a successful businessman, is quite an honor!  Thank you Dave & Liz for helping us out this week!

Here are YOUR questions and Dave’s wisdom to go with them… Enjoy!

1. Here is my question for Dave.  First of all, I feel overwhelmed
with debt and don’t know how to begin.  Where do I start with a budget if my husband’s weekly check is always different? Please help! 

Budget for necessities first.  List out all your monthly expenses and prioritize food, utilities, house or rent payment, and transportation at the top of that list.  Once you are paying the basics, use leftover money to pay down debt.  Start with the smallest debt and work toward the largest.

2. My question for Dave is regarding different schools of thought on contributing to your 401k while getting out of debt.  If you listen to Suzy Orman she says that you should take advantage of the free match even while getting out of debt (why pass up free money) and then once you’re out of debt, increase your contribution.  Dave says to stop contributing all together until you’re out of debt.  Why the different opinion on the 401k?  My husband agrees with Suzy, and I agree with Dave.

You’ve got to get control of your money one step at a time.  If you try to do too many things at once, you’ll never gain momentum and win with money.  First get out of debt.  That frees up all your available income.  Then invest 15 percent of your gross income for retirement.  If you do it out of order, then you’ll never get out of debt or invest to your full potential.  

 3. My question for Dave is: How do you help an aging widower parent with budgeting and his finances if he has never in his life lived either within his means, nor dealt with his finances himself? And has no current income, and is living currently off of savings. Does he have any advice for me? Thanks! From Kelly

Parents at this age suffer from what I call the Powdered Butt Syndrome.  It means that if at one point in your life they changed your diaper, they are not going to take advice from you.  The key is to find someone that your dad trusts and will listen to.  You need a third party endorsement to speak the truth into him.

4. We have been working on our debt snowball since July. One of the things I am always wondering is planning for all of those unexpected expenses. It seems like something always comes up teacher appreciation pics, kids school pictures, birthday parties… ect. I have tried to budget and do a blow envelope but it doesn’t seem to be working.. So I guess I just need help mastering the budget.

Take a good look at what you spent last year on gifts.  That will give you a good idea of what to expect in the coming year.  You can also rethink your gift giving priorities.  You may have to say no to a few things for awhile. 

5. My question for Dave, as we are approaching the beginning of the program, is: What would be your best piece of advice to those who are just starting? To be more detailed, what is an area that people tend to get stuck on?

The number one mistake people make with money is they don’t bother.  So congratulations for making the commitment to get started.  The first step is to do a written game plan.  You have to do a written budget every month before the month begins.  You can’t do one perfect budget because there is no such thing.  Every month is different.  But write down everything you have coming in and going out.  You’ve got to own up to your current situation.  Start where you are! 

6. I recently saw a commercial for either Walmart or K-Mart.  It was advertising using their Lay Away plan to buy merchandise.  I didn’t even know Lay Away still existed.  What does he think of Lay Away plans?  

Most layaway plans have hidden fees so be sure to get all the details up front.  You can also set aside a little bit each pay period until you have enough to pay for what you want!  That’s called the good old fashioned envelope system.

If you would like to gain more insight & learn about Dave Ramsey’s financial peace plan, you can visit his website {here}.  To see if a church in your local area is hosting a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class, visit {here}. *I am not receiving any monetary gain from promoting Dave’s Financial Peace course. I am simply sharing what has worked for my family… in hopes that you will learn as well (to become financially free). 

I will see you back here tomorrow with some debt free stories from my readers & to announce the Dave Ramsey Gift Pack & Clean Mama printables giveaway winner!

10 comments on “Part 5 – Organizing your finances week… My interview with Dave Ramsey

  1. S. Greiner says:

    We love Dave! I’m actually coordianting a class right now and we have class tonight! Thanks for sharing…I’ll be letting folks know about your blog post today!!!

  2. I just wanted to thank you for your blog and your wonderful posts! I found your blog about a month ago and have loved following it! Thanks again!

  3. Kelly says:

    Oh my gosh! It is so cool to have my question answered by Dave. I feel like I kind of talked to a genuine celebrity! You know, one who is actually worth listening to! Thanks Toni! I love your blog so much!

  4. Sarah says:

    I am loving this “Organize your finances” week! I have been one of Dave’s listeners for years, but have had trouble implementing his ideas in my family… this is making it doable!



    P.S. I also love all your other posts!

  5. Me too.. I love your blog.

    My question to you is:
    How much %of take home pay should be allocated to each category. Do you have a list?

  6. Toni says:


    I dont have a specific list… I just budget the LEAST amount for each category.. and what I have left over, is what I work with for entertainment (after savings, billls, necessary stuff).

  7. Whitney says:

    Thanks for introducing us to Dave Ramsey and his plan. When you first posted about him requesting these questions, I went to the library and checked out his Total Money Makeover book. Now I’m a woman on a mission!
    Thank you for all of your inspirational posts and the chance to win some great give-aways!

  8. Awesome! Number 2 was my question and I appreciate his answer…now I get to share that with my hubby and see what he says…Thanks Dave (and Toni!).

  9. charlotte says:

    Davew Ramsey is awesome!! He is one of our favorite people

  10. Very impressed that you interviewed him. I’ve started FPU, and it’s something my husband and I are really committed to this year!

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