I have mixed feelings about Dave Ramsey. He can be very abrasive and I don’t agree with his politics. But, listening to him is what finally set my mind straight about my debt. For the first time I realized that I am responsible for the situation I’m in and it is possible for me to get out of it. That last part is so important and has changed my life already. Just listening to his program keeps me motivated to keep going.
- The Debt Snow Ball. I love this method. It’s given me direction and a clear goal. I’ve been spinning my wheels, paying on everything at once and never feeling like I’m getting anywhere. Dave is clear that the strength of this method is the motivation it gives you to keep going. You pay the smaller debts first, so that you’re encouraged to keep going . I can’t wait until I can finally pay off my first card.
- Stop whining and take responsibility for your debt. While I sometimes find Dave too abrasive, especially toward the people who don’t agree with him, I appreciate that he doesn’t let people get away with feeling sorry for themselves and wallowing. When we do that, we give too many concessions. We got ourselves into debt and we’re going to buck up and get ourselves out. It’s about personal responsibility.
- “If You Will Live Like No One Else, Later You Can Live Like No One Else.” Debt is the American way, so it’s pretty easy to justify your way of life because that’s what everyone is doing. But, if you’re willing to sacrifice, save, and scrimp like no one else, then you can have financial freedom and live without the limitations of debt that everyone else has. You can be free.
- Budget Every Dollar. My problem with budgets was that I would always make them for the expenses I had to pay and then leave whatever was left unbudgeted. So, as long as I had my bills paid, I thought I was good. I would spend whatever was left instead of putting it toward my debt. When you budget every dollar, you spend it all intentionally. There’s never that point at the end of the month where you wonder what happened to all of your money.
- Gazelle-like Intensity. What’s really cool about the people who become debt free under Dave Ramsey’s influence is that they do it really quickly. Most people pay off all of their debt (except the mortgage) in less than 18 months. And we’re talking about a lot of debt. You basically do whatever you can to get everything paid off as quickly as possible. Oftentimes that means living very cheaply and taking on an extra job; the point is that you don’t have to do it forever.
- You can do this. This is the biggest gift Dave has given me. He’s given me hope that I can get out of debt. I don’t have to let it define my life forever. There really is another way. He doesn’t hide the fact that it’s going to be hard. You’ll have to work as much as you can and get by on as little as you can, but you’ll do it.
Dave is pretty clear that nothing he says is all that original. It’s the simplest of financial advice, but we have to hear it over and over again in order for it to sink in. If you’re going to get out of debt, then you have to be in it for the long haul and Dave’s show, even though the advice is always the same, keeps me on the path.
If you’re new to the world of personal finance, check out Dave’s website and looks for his podcast (the first hour of his radio show) on iTunes.