Dave Ramsey | A Bowl Full of Lemons

Smart Money Smart Kids…

Teach your children about money via A Bowl Full of Lemons

Are you a parent who has yet to teach your children about money?  Raising kids is scary and teaching them about money can be even scarier.  This concept is forgotten among most families these days.  Our kids are taught the dangers of drugs and alcohol, not to put their fingers in an electrical outlet, & to eat their veggies. But what about how to manage their money?  If the lessons about money are not learned from parents, how are they going to learn them?  I’ll tell you how –  the hard way, by making devastating and lasting mistakes that will haunt them for years to come.  Does this sound familiar to you?  I bet you’ve been down this path once or twice before.  Change your family tree by teaching your children how to manage their money.  Set them up for financial success – in the new book, Smart Money Smart Kids.

 

Teach your children about money via A Bowl Full of Lemons

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dave Ramsey and his beautiful daughter Rachel Cruze have come together to write a fabulous book called Smart Money Smart Kids.  Within these pages, the pair have outlined the important lessons that need to be taught to our children, before they leave the nest.

  • Working
  • Spending
  • Saving
  • Giving
  • Budgeting
  • Debt
  • Contentment
  • College

 

My husband and I have been “preaching” to our children about money, since we began Dave Ramseys program 5 years ago.  If you know me well, you know I LOVE Dave Ramsey. He has changed our family tree. After reading this new book, we’ve been given even more tips and learned more ways to guide our kids to become successful with their money.  We believe it’s our responsibility to teach our children right from wrong, including financial decisions.  Kids are never too young to learn, so begin right away.   I believe book has all the tools you need.   It’s up to you to decide whether or not you will use them.

 

PRE-ORDER SPECIAL

Learn how to teach your children about money with Dave & Rachels new book, Smart Money Smart Kids.  The book is now available for pre-order.  If you pre-order,  you will receive all three options:  the hardcover book, audiobook, and E-book.  You will also receive a video lesson from Dave and Rachel as an immediate download (only for pre-orders).  That’s s over $50 in free extras!!  You don’t want to miss out on this awesome special.

 

Smart Money Smart Kids via A Bowl Full of Lemons

 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS

Twitter:  @RachelCruze and @DaveRamsey

Website:  www.rachelcruze.com and www.daveramsey.com

Facebook:   Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey

 
Read A Bowl Full of Lemons disclaimer here.

Saving Your $1,000 Emergency Fund

emergency fund
emergency fund
via freedigitalphotos.net

When you feel as though you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the thought of building up a $1,000 emergency fund can be daunting. But it’s so important, and with a little creativity it can be a fun and rewarding challenge!

However, those dollars will not accumulate without a plan. So as you read, decide which of these idea – or others – you’ll implement to free up cash and make the process of saving go a little faster without your current budget being affected in a way that’s stressful.

Cut back on convenience groceries

Do you have a Keurig? Stop buying those spendy little pre-filled cups and use a refillable one with your own coffee. Instead of individual snack packs, make your own snack mixes in bulk and then portion them out. Figure out what you save on groceries each week and put it in your emergency fund.

Get rid of services you’re paying for and not using

Does gym membership come to mind? A time-share? The newspaper you don’t make time to read? Even small subscriptions can add up. Cancel the ones you don’t use and set up your bank account so that that same amount automatically goes to savings rather than being withdrawn for those memberships.

Purge closets & storage and sell what you no longer need

Whether it’s on ebay, Craigslist, at a garage sale, or on a local Facebook buy/sell group, get rid of those anchors and make some money doing it! They’re not doing any good sitting in your house or garage unused, so you may as well free up some space and put that chunk of change in the bank.

Cancel cable or satellite

Even if it’s just for a season, trim the fat on the channels you get in order to fatten up your emergency fund. Supplement with a digital converter box and movies checked out from the library. If you are a frequent movie renter, add a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus so that you save on the cost of both the rentals and the gas to drive there and back twice. After you see how much money you are able to squirrel away from not having a cable bill, you may decide never to go back!

Look into switching to a pre-paid phone plan

While there are some people for whom it’s not practical, changing to a pre-paid plan is often a wise choice that can drastically cut your wireless phone bill. With flat-rate pricing, you won’t have to worry above overages or hidden fees.

Avoid your vices

Does your steering wheel start working on its own when you approach a Starbucks? Can you not leave Michael’s without dropping $50? Then stay away! If you know you lack self-control when it comes to spending in certain stores, simply don’t go. Whatever you’re accustomed to spending in a month on those non-necessities, put that money in savings instead.

via freedigitalphotos.net

 

Use your skill or talents to earn extra money

Whether it’s a handmade item or a service, leverage your knowledge and experience to make a little extra money providing something that people need. They’re probably going to pay someone to do it or make it, so why not you? Mention your availability via email or on social media so that others are aware.

Take a break from eating out

Try and go just one month without stepping inside a restaurant. Some people may end up with a few hundred dollars in that emergency fund at the end of it! Wouldn’t that be a great motivation to extend it for a few more?

Transfer a certain amount to savings with each paycheck

Determine ahead of time how much this will be, and pretend as though it’s not even available to you. Even if your budget is super tight and you can only manage $20 per bi-weekly paycheck, you’ll have over half your emergency fund saved in a year!

Use your tax return

If you are anticipating a tax return this year, don’t view it as free money and make plans to spend it. Decide that you’ll immediately save $1,000 for your emergency fund (or the full amount of the return if it’s less than that), and then put any excess toward your debt snowball. You will not regret using it this way. I repeat: You will not regret it!

 

Are there other methods to that have helped you build up your emergency fund?

Please share in the comments! 

Budgeting Giveaway…

Budgeting Giveaway - A BowL Full of Lemons

budgeting week - ABFOL
 

For the last 5 days, I have taught you how to organize a household budget, by setting up a Budget Binder.

Day #1 – Assemble your Binder

Day #2 – Record of Accounts & Monthly Due Date Schedule

Day #3 – Income & Debt Tracking

Day #4 – Annual & Monthly Expenses

Day #5 – Cash Spending

 
 

What fun is a blog series without a fabulous giveaway? Today I am going to giveaway some goodies to help you succeed with your new budget! Four winners will be chosen. The following are prizes will be given away to those lucky winners!

 
 

1st Place Winner

Financial Peace University Membership Kit & 9 Week Class (Value $99)

dave-ramsey-1

*The winner will receive the membership kit & attend the 9 week class at a local church of your choice.

Here is a preview of Dave’s Financial Peace University Class…

 
 
 

2nd Place Winner

Dave Ramsey’s All in One Value Pack (Value $93.95)

This pack includes Dave Ramsey’s most popular products all together! Four of Dave’s best-selling books, a 13-Lesson CD Library, workbooks, software, an envelope system and all the tools and inspiration you need to learn how to handle money and build wealth are included.

all_in_one_bundle_large
 
 
 
3rd & 4th Place Winners

A Time for Everything’s Envelope System & matching Coin Pouch (Value $32/set)

The winners will receive:

Budgeting Giveaway - A Bowl Full of Lemons

Spending Logs

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Budgeting Giveaway - A BowL Full of Lemons


 
 
A Time for Everything Coupon: From May 4-9, A Bowl Full of Lemons readers can receive free shipping on any purchase from A Time for Everything! Click “Apply shop coupon code” at checkout and enter LEMONS. (Free shipping applies to domestic orders only, but international customers may leave a note at checkout requesting a refund equal to the amount a U.S. customer would save on that order.)

 
 

DETAILS:

  • The Giveaway starts now and will end at 11:59 pm est on May 9th. Open to US residents, ages 18 and over.
  • The winner will be randomly chosen via Rafflecopter.com.
  • You must follow all of the giveaway requirements in order to win a prize. All required entries will be verified, once the winners have been chosen.
  • The 4 winners will be announced on ABFOL within 1 week after the giveaway ends. You will have 24 hours to respond via email, if you are a winner.

 
 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Disclosure: I was given these items in exchange to host a giveaway. There was no cash compensation to promote the items.

Teaching kids about money

Teaching kids about money
Today I have a guest, Stephanie from Always Just a Mom, who will be sharing how our children can become financially responsible starting at a young age. She uses Financial Peace University, JR.  Its from the teachings of Dave Ramsey.  I love this!! Thanks so much for the great tips Stephanie. :)
Stephanies post…
Many of you know that we participated in FPU this summer and that I am co-coordinating a class right now. Well they have this program out there, FPU Jr., to help kids (as early as 3) learn the importance of giving, saving and spending. Well…I was all about getting this for String Bean and Biscuit and I let my mom know (who was the reason we all got hooked on FPU!). For Christmas we got FPU Jr! It’s awesome!!!  We had not really thought about really getting into FPU Jr. for awhile but it was on special for $10.00!  Then last week String Bean decided he needed not one, not two, but THREE new Thomas the Train “Friends”.  We need to get Toby, Percy and Edward (Percy was already purchased by  mom a few weeks ago for the Easter basket!) and well these little guys aren’t cheap.  We thought…perfect we’ll start with the basics!  SAVE FOR WHAT YOU WANT!
So I pulled out our super cool FPU Jr. Box.  Seriously Dave Ramsey has a rockin’ marketing team…I love how their products come in these super cool boxes with all sorts of fun stuff!!!
So there is a lot of fun stuff in the box including a disk that has information for both parents and kiddos.  An Instruction Manual, which also includes a “Quick-Start Guide”, and a commission worksheet, saving to buy with cash, calculator & magnets, child’s envelop system and a clip-n-carry coin case.  In the picture above these are the meat of the kit, in my opinion, the envelop system, the commission worksheet and the saving to busy with cash worksheet.

Both worksheets come with a dry erase marker as they are laminated!
Ok…so as you can see on the cover of the box it is for 3-12 year old kiddos.  Well…as much as I would like to think my 3 year old is going to get all this…we’ve adapted this for our home.  It is still a little too advanced for our 3 1/2 year old (who I do believe is the most intelligent 3 1/2 year old EVER…but come on!).
We’ve created a “Chore Chart” and our kiddo works on Commission (we love the idea of COMMISSION and not allowance!!!):

He has four chores he must do each day:  Make his Bed, Clean up his Toys(this is when asked), take his medicine without a fight, and feed the dog.  Since we started this on Monday his little brother (who is 2 1/2) has decided he also wants chores because he saw String Bean getting money!  So…he gets some coins when he makes his bed and helps clean up the toys.
We will be using the envelop system once he has some money saved up.  We are currently paying WHEN the chore is completed.  This is how Dave explained it in FPU.  With little guys you gotta reward them immediately, so that is what I am doing.  I tell him to make his bed after breakfast, he gets one reminder and then if I have to go do it…no quarter (yup…he gets a quarter per chore/$1.00 a day/$7.00 a week…inflation is not my friend).  I made a couple cute little banks for the kiddos to keep the coins in:

 

Not the best picture…but you get the idea….Crystal Light container, some ribbon I put through my X and some sticky letters!!!  I of course had to make one for Biscuit…his is actually a wee bit cuter…but well that’s usually how crafts happen…first time is your tester!
Ok…so the top has a small slot in it for their coins.  We figure this first time around we’ll save money for a train, go to the store and let him purchase the train with HIS money.  Then…we are going to plan to add the giving portion of this game.  String Bean is a VERY giving child and we want him to see that when he works hard he is rewarded (lesson 1) but we also want him to understand that when we have more we need to give.  We will introduce either another bank “The Giving Bank” or use the envelops…we haven’t decided because we’ve got coins and not bills and well the envelops will work great for the bills…but we’re not done with our Debt Snowball yet…so bills aren’t making an appearance yet!  We’ll continue to give you updates on how String Bean is doing and when we are able to purchase a train and move on to the Giving Bank!!!
At the core of FPU is to change your family tree.  It’s not just about getting rich but about making changes to make life better in the long run.  Our hope is that our children will NEVER go through the same financial challenges we’ve gone through because we were impatient, impulsive and immature adults!  We also feel that since we’re doing FPU as a family it is a lifestyle that everyone will understand and appreciate.   ~Stephanie


Autism Awareness Month bloggers who are joining together to make you aware of autism:

 


Becky would love to have HUGE list of bloggers joining her, so won’t you?

Email Becky {here} if you would like to light up your blog this month.

 


Autism websites:

Part 6 – Organizing your finances week… Debt Free stories

Budgeting
We have finally made it to the end of the “Organize your Finances” challenge! We are now on day 6.  I have received so many emails from my readers (Thank you). I am so grateful that this challenge has helped so many of you out.  




This week, we have:


and
 Today I am sharing some Debt Free stories.






A glance back at
“ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCES WEEK”…



Day 1. Created a budget


Day 2. Started an envelope system



Day 3. Created a Budget Box


Day 4. Figured out our debt snowball


Day 5 – Dave Ramsey Interview






Did you keep track of your spending throughout the week?  How much did you spend?  Was it all necessary?  Is there anywhere you can cut costs?  Do you think you can start an envelope system to budget those expenses, so you can keep track and get spending under control?  (Comment below and let me know).










DEBT FREE STORIES


I have a couple of readers who have learned how to manage their finances perfectly and are now proud to say that Lindsay is DEBT FREE & Katie is almost there! I hope you learn something from them.  If you pay attention to those who are successful with their finances, you will GAIN priceless knowledge.  Here are their stories…








Lindsay’s Story











I have been married to my wonderful husband for almost ten years. Four years ago we started our amazing debt free journey!  We had always been blessed with a good income, and though we really were not living beyond our means, we managed to spend every penny we brought in, even as our income went up over the years.  After our first child was born I had become somewhat uncomfortable with how were dealing (or lack thereof) with our finances and living paycheck to paycheck.  I had mentioned it to my husband but in his eyes we were doing what was “normal”.  This was how most Americans lived.  We finally got the rude awakening I had been dreading in 2007 when a very large and unexpected tax bill came due.  We had absolutely no money in savings and had one month to pay it.  We ended up borrowing the money from my in-laws, which was embarrassing and we felt disappointed in ourselves.  After all, we were supposed to be responsible adults.  This is what really opened both our eyes and we decided we did not want to spend the rest of our lives like this.  I had heard of Dave Ramsey but had never really read or listened to him.   We both started listening to the radio show and signed up for the online FPU course, because there wasn’t a class anywhere near us.  We started Dave’s plan in April 2007.  We got gazelle and sold my husband’s gas guzzling truck that had a payment and got a beater 1997 Honda Civic for cash.  We also sold my husband’s 4 wheeler and put our money pit of a rental property up for sale.  But the biggest change we made was we got on a budget and told our money what to do!  Before we had no idea where any of our money was going!  Now we didn’t spend a dime unless it was in the budget.  Between selling those items and A LOT of hard work and budgeting we were debt free by May 2008!!  You can’t even imagine the feeling of being free of that debt!  We felt like 1000 pound had been lifted from our shoulders.  Over the last two years we have been in the process of saving for our fully funded emergency fund.  We had to replace our beater Civic that started to smoke and then died!  My husband had 2 surgeries, my daughter had 2 surgeries, we had our house flood, replaced our air conditioner, and we had our third child and I took 3 months maternity leave.  We have always had money in savings during that time, we had just not reached the point of being fully funded.  But through all the ups and down the last two years, we have felt minimal stress over our finances.  We were financially prepared for the birth of our third child and my maternity leave, the other two we just “winged it” (which is a bad idea by the way)!  And all the other things while they were inconvenient and annoying, were not catastrophes.  I can not tell you how many times me and my husband have discussed how 4 years ago any one of those things would have put us in major financial strains and been horribly stressful.  Now they just another bump in the road and we are thankful we have the money to deal with life’s little surprises.  I can honestly say this is the best thing we could have ever done for our future and our marriage.  Me and my husband are on the same page with our finances and so we work as a team rather than allowing it to cause friction in our marriage.  We also have a plan for our future, which is very exciting!  I am also VERY excited to say we will finish funding our emergency fund this month and moving on to Babysteps 4, 5, and 6!  






Katie’s Story


My husband and I started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University last April. Our motivation was that we had bought our house the year before, recieved the stimulus for it and put it aside to “help get us through the transition”. Well, by December we had blown through those thousands and had overdrawn our account, not by much, but still not good. We knew something had to change, but how. We had done “budgets” for years (I even still have them on my computer as a reminder), and we’d busted plenty of them. We had never made any real progress towards savings, college, or retirement and it was frustrating. We had a toddler and a 6 month old, so we were busy and broke, but my husband’s sister had told us about Dave Ramsey because they had done it. She was notoriously “free-spirited” and hated trying to manage money, so when I heard how well it was working for them I thought, “Okay, I guess it’s worth a shot”.
We borrowed the audio CDs and workbook from them and started listening, and it was FANTASTIC! We sat down and started doing the quick budgets, monthly cash flow plan, and working from an envelope system. We were fortunate (in some ways) that it came right around tax time, because we got to put our $1000 savings aside right away, your know, for when the bumper fell off the car because we started managing our money. When I sat down to do our monthly cash flow plan (aka budget) I had a pretty rude awakening. We were paying about a third of our income towards debt that WAS NOT our house every month, this also meant that based on our income, we didn’t really have money left for necessities (diapers…or maybe gas…or maybe food, YIKES!) after all of our “bills” So, we set aside another couple thousand to help us get through the next year as we started working the debt snowball plan, and getting gazelle intense about it (listen to Dave, you’ll get it).
Now, it’s only been a year and with Financial Peace, and we have not been able to call Dave yet for the DEBT FREEEEE!!!! scream, but I want to tell you all where we are because if we could do this ANYONE CAN. I won’t say that it has been a perfect year, either, although it has been relatively good to us. My husband’s job announced last summer that they no longer could afford to cover health insurance benefits at the same level, and that would have added another $300 a month to our stress load, but thanks to Dave’s info, we only had a small panic attack, changed the way we looked at health insurance and got on a high deductible plan with an HSA and are happily covered and in a BETTER place in that regard than before (funny how things work out). We’ve also had some surpise and not so surpise expenses that we were obligated to before Financial Peace, but those all got covered. All the while we started working on debt, by paying every bill, plus EVERY EXTRA PENNY we could squeeze from life in order to pay those off. I am a childbirth educator, so I have a very irregular income depending on who is pregnant and takes a class, but I won’t lie, that income helped. My husband and I also worked other jobs/overtime when it came up to be as gazelle as possible for the year.
When we started a year ago, I was hoping just to live successfully based on a plan, and if THAT could work than maybe to bring our bills down in a year to a place where we would at least break even every month and not have to rely on the “tax bonus”. Well, this year has been more than I could even dream. We have lived successfully on this plan, and we’ve even lived well. We’ve found ways to still have fun, see movies, go out to eat occasionally, enjoy life. We had Christmas, and yes I spent almost every penny of that budget (just $4.50 left over), but I had NO GUILT after Christmas, I spent exactly what we had planned for Christmas this year. A big thing to me too has been the actual Peace part of Financial Peace. I feel an incredible weight has lifted because I KNOW that we can manage our money and anything that comes our way from here on out. Also, it has been incredibly good for our marraige. I can remember the one “fight” we’ve had about money ALL YEAR, and it wasn’t so much a fight, but me being upset that my husband had spent $30 while I was out of town that we hadn’t planned on or talked about ahead of time. No biggie, we found another spot for that money to come out of, and it really was no big deal, it’s just become that easy and important for us to communicate about where our money is going. There is enough in life to stress us out, it feels so good to not fight about money anymore.
The biggest news out of this entire year is where we are at as of last Friday. Last Friday I paid off our last credit card and our last car loan, so as of last Friday we are consumer debt free! (we still have student loans, which is why we are not yet debt free). I could not believe it, I literally cried because it felt so good. In just one year we have paid off (and I added this up this morning just for you Toni) over $18,000 in debt! I can tell you that is on a moderate income. It’s crazy and if someone had told me a year ago that it would happen for us I probably would have laughed at them. This, also, more than covers that break even point as this reduces our monthly bills by about $475 A MONTH! I literally want to shout Dave Ramsey’s name from the rooftops, because it IS WORKING, and I know that Living like no one else means that we WILL Live like no one else someday…and probably sooner than I imagined. I share this information with everyone I can because I want people to know and experience this amazing feeling of success and peace, which is why I was excited to see it on Bowl of Lemons). So, think about it, what could you do with an extra $475 a month a year from now, or even better, what could you do if you had no debt? I’ll let you know how it feels in a few years when we get there!


I have one more debt free story to add today!!!





Amy’s Story



Back in 2008, several people we knew took the Financial Peace University course at our church. We saw it advertised quite a bit, but decided it wasn’t for us. We made good money and had no credit cards, so we thought we were doing quite well. That August, we found out we were expecting our first child. And, it seemed like everyone was talking about FPU. We decided to try it out, you know, just in case we ever found ourselves in financial difficulty.



As soon as the class started, we made our budget and really started sticking to it. We prioritized our spending and made LOTS of cutbacks. We went from eating out about 5-6 times a week to twice a month. Matt started listening to Dave’s radio show in the afternoons. One day, Dave mentioned that if you have a large expense coming up (like the birth of a child), you should stop the debt snowball and start saving as much as you can. Once the big event is passed and paid for, then throw what is left of that money toward your debt. We did this and over the next few months, we were able to save over $10,000.

In November, I got the opportunity to go back to my old job (I was in nursing school and not working at this time). I accepted because extra money is always great! The same week that I started, Matt got laid off from his job. What timing. That began 2 years of financial turmoil in the life of our family. Due to the recession, construction jobs, even corporate ones like Matt had, were virtually impossible to come by. He applied for everything he could think of. We even had to move out of our apartment and in with friends during this time. What was meant to be a “few weeks” turned into 5 months living in a spare bedroom. And, yes, that included not having a place of our own to bring our newborn baby home to. As a first time mom, it’s devastating to not be able to decorate a nursery and prepare for baby in your own space. But, how blessed we were to have those friends!

Because of gracious friends, my small, part-time income, and Matt’s unemployment benefits, we were able to save even during this time. Then, 3 weeks after the birth of our daughter, Matt’s dad passed away. He had owned his own business doing custom home building and remodeling. Within a few weeks, several of his clients were calling Matt to come finish what Roger had been working on. After a couple weeks of commuting, we felt that God was leading us to move for Matt to take over the business full-time. So, we packed up our stuff (which was already packed, in storage) and headed out here. We were blessed with the opportunity to live in Matt’s granddad’s house for just the cost of bills.

Soon, however, those jobs were complete and it proved tough to get much more work. Around the time I finished nursing school in December of 2009, our savings ran out. And, to add to that, I was unable to find a job. The nursing field was hit by the recession, as well. The answer I got from everyone was “we just don’t have the money to train a new nurse right now.” Even more, in January, we found out we were expecting another little one.

The next 7 months were some of the most stressful and horrible of my life, although they were filled with so much joy. Does that make sense? The stress and horror came from not knowing if we’d be able to keep the lights on day to day. The joy came from our marriage partnership, our sweet baby girl, and the growing baby inside me.

Even through all the uncertainty, God was good. Somehow, all of our bills got paid every month, even though we weren’t quite sure where the money was coming from. My daughter and I both got on Medicaid and we applied for food stamps. For the applications, I had to document our income and provide verification of it. I could document how much money we deposited into our account, but didn’t really know how to verify where it came from. All I can say is that God worked miracles during those times. Money literally came from Heaven.

Around the time that our second daughter was born, Matt started getting some work again. Not super steady, but work nonetheless. Life was still very tough and by the end of the year we were relying on Christmas and birthday money.

Then, the next miracle. The week before Christmas (2010) I applied for a job at a psych hospital. I didn’t really want to work psych, but it was a new posting I hadn’t seen before, so I thought I might as well apply. The same week, Matt’s uncle asked if he could start doing some work over there after Christmas. A couple days before Christmas, the Director of Nursing at the psych hospital called me and asked me to come in and visit with him. I went the next week and he hired me on the spot. I applied for this job on a whim, but ended up loving it! And, Matt has been overly busy with work since the beginning of the year. All of a sudden, when 2011 hit, we had more work than we could handle! Praise the Lord.

Because of Dave Ramsey and FPU, we made it through these past 2 years without adding a single penny to our debt. We worked hard and relied on God and He provided. And, no, I don’t believe that God EVER uses debt as a way to provide for His children.

Proverbs 22:7-The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Romans 13:8-Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Because we didn’t dig our hole any deeper with new debt, we were basically able to pick up where we left off. We did have to redo Baby Step 1 and we have a few “catch-up” purchases to make (eye exams and glasses, things for the kids, etc.) but we are no worse off than when we started this journey.

The joy I felt when we transferred the last of our $1,000 into the savings account was amazing. Such a burden lifted off. Making our budget has become a fun time because we can actually put stuff on it besides electricity, water, gas, and food.

Had we not learned to live off less than we make and not learned what budget items are actually priorities, we would have come out of this trial with loads of debt and our 2 year emergency would have become a lifetime of financial devastation.

This is why I am so passionate about Dave Ramsey and Biblical finance. It changed our family tree and I hope and pray you will let it change yours.

By the way, when we moved and found a new church, Matt began the process of starting an FPU class before we actually joined. We are now in the 3rd semester of teaching it and we are so blessed to see it change other people’s lives like it did ours!










What inspiring stories. I CANNOT wait to share mine.  My readers will be the first to know when I’m debt free!  I hope you have all taken away some good tips from the challenge this week.  If you follow the plan, hopefully one day soon you will be able to call Dave Ramsey up and shout “WERE DEBT FREE”!













GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!




At the beginning of the challenge, I hosted a Dave Ramsey gift pack & Clean Mama budget printables giveaway. What an exciting gift to win… the possibility of cleaning up your finances and becoming debt free! Here are the winners:






The winner of the Dave Ramsey gift pack is…

























Shaper of Little Souls said…




















If I were debt free… I would love to bless others who have blessed me buy slipping them $100 dollars here and there.

For example, my mom is in a nursing home and there is a nurse there who goes above and beyond. He works so hard and loves his job but I would like to thank him by giving him a little extra money.



That is just ONE situation I can think of.

It is so fun to GIVE!


Congratulations. Please email me {here} with your shipping address.
The 5 winners of the Clean Mama printables are…














? Stacey said…










We are on our way to becoming debt free but am struggling to get it together and in a functional way. I am hoping that being debt free is in our very near future!


Laura said…




I am a follower :)

I so NEED to be debt free…it would rid so much stress for me and allow me to joy the things we have more :)
My husband listens to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio nearly every morning. We are trying to become debt free and will be dropping down to one income later this year when my husband starts gread school. We HAVE to track every penny we spend and try to put as much as possible into savings. When we finally become debt-free, my husband would like to buy a bass boat, and I want to re-decorate our entire home.


Jenna said…







i’m so glad you are doing this this week. we are barely keeping our head above water in our debt. we are taking baby steps towards financial freedom. we need all the help we can get. this dave ramsey kit would be a godsend! i can’t wait to be debt free!


Jolayne said…



I am only 21 and I have about $30 000 in student loan debt (Thankfully I am a month away from graduating) and being newly married, it is definitely weighing on my shoulders. My husband is unemploymed at the moment so things get very trying at times. We haven’t been completely irresponsible with money, but we haven’t been the most responsible either. I look forward to when we’re debt free and don’t have this baggage on our shoulders. It’s hard to justify buying something when I owe so much. With this debt gone, my husband and I can move on and look forward to the future without burden :)



Thanks so much for these posts! I have heard so much about Dave Ramsey and look forward to learning more!












Please email Becky {here} and let her know you have won!




CONGRATULATIONS!!!








If you have participated in any of the challenges this week, please link up your blog to day 1 {here}. I would LOVE who all has joined in this week. I would also like to see your budget box pictures & envelope systems too. Way to go! 





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

dave-ramsey
MY INTERVIEW WITH DAVE!!!


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!