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11 Aug 2014

Dave Ramsey Makes Me Want To Cry

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by Jesse Mecham

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.29.31 PMMostly because I’m only at step two of his seven-step path to getting a grip on my money, while everyone around me seems to be sitting fat and pretty at number seven. I know, I know, it’s an illusion. But still. Okay, let’s back up. I (Alex) don’t really even know this Dave Ramsey fellow. I only heard about him because I’ve read every comment that my village mates leave on my YNAB posts, so this evening I took a little trip across Google to find out the score. I didn’t go too far into the website, because, of course, YNAB is the budget to beat all budgets, and I really only wanted to know what else this fellow has to offer besides budgeting advice. I stumbled upon his seven-steps page, and realized with fresh horror that I am hopelessly far behind in the race to financial independence. I have my $1000 for emergencies (if you count the money I’ve saved this past year for traveling abroad with my sons, or the $2000 I’ve saved for my “retirement”, haha, let’s just have a moment to giggle about that one). I haven’t got any debt, but that’s only through the grace of a banking system that lets debt-riddled people throw up their hands, press RESET on the Great Green Debt Machine, and start over at GO. At any rate, I’ve got the first two steps covered. As for having saved three to six months in expenses? For someone who has to choose between a package of paper towels or another squeeze at the gas pump, that seems as preposterous as me as strapping on my mukluks and flying to the moon. I’ll never get there. Which means I’ll never get to the fourth step, either: investing 15% of my income for growth. And as far as step five goes, while I am currently saving for Thing Two’s university costs (Thing One, as an amputee, gets his first degree paid for by the War Amps, blessed be), step six makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Pay off my house early? Dude, I don’t even have a house. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in which I squash silverfish the size of gummy worms on a thrice-daily basis. Sometimes it all just sucks. But then. Then. Then . . . I take a deep breath, and I look back to where I was a year ago. Two years ago. Three, four and five years ago. And I realize that – thanks entirely, and only, to YNAB – I’m on my way somewhere. I have a travel fund. I have a retirement fund. I have a fund – many, actually – to cover expenses that I know are going to pop up when I least expect them. I have no clue where I’m going to end up, and unless I sell a hella good novel or scratch the right winning ticket, it sure as heck won’t in my own home, but I’ll be in a better place. And damn it, I’ll have great eyelashes.

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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