Wait, what? A blog post about money? On THIS blog?
I know. But stick with me, because this is important. Did you know that if they lost their income today, 44% of Americans would be in poverty within three months? Did you know that 70% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck (Wall Street Journal, cited in Ramsey 2009)?
Are you one of these people? C’mon, fess up. Be honest with yourself. I’m definitely in the 44%.
How much debt do you have? Credit cards, mortgages…and yes, student loans included. If you haven’t totaled it, go do it now. I’ll wait.
[sips on tea, plays with cats...]
Okay, so what’s the damage? I see. Well, you’re not alone. I have $18, 996 of debt. The vast majority of that is student loans–a sadly familiar story for most people my age. But it doesn’t have to be.
Talking honestly about money isn’t something that people like to do. In fact, it’s often viewed as a social taboo. I’m pretty sure my mother would be HORRIFIED if she knew I was sharing any part of my financial information on the internet, for the world to see. I know that at least one of my sisters reads my blog, so…shhh don’t tell Mom! :)[caption id="attachment_1336" align="aligncenter" width="960"] here’s a totally gratuitous photo of Squeener rollin’ in the dough. I don’t know how she makes her money. I don’t ask questions…I don’t want a paw in the face.[/caption]
Up until recently, I refused to even THINK about money. Any time the issue of money was brought up, I’d get clammy, warm, and break out in hives (okay, so I’m joking about the hives, but you get my point). It was a subject that was simply off the table. I would pay my bills, try to save some money (often unsuccessfully), and that was that. If I started to think about my financial future, I would get so stressed that I would simply shut down and ignore it. There was a long stretch of time when I refused to even LOOK at my bank statements, purely out of fear. This article from Real Simple on overcoming financial fears tells me that I wasn’t alone. I have always known that saving for the future is important, but knowing & doing are two totally different things. I’ve learned that the hard way.
And credit cards? Don’t even get me started.
For Christmas, Dan’s father & stepmother gave us a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. I must admit that initially, I kind of rolled my eyes. After all, Dan and I live pretty comfortably. It helps that neither one of us are extravagant spenders. But after doing some thinking and hearing Dan’s reactions as he read the book, I was intrigued, so I gave it a shot.
And after reading it, I’m totally sold. I feel like Dave Ramsey slapped me in the face and yelled, “Katie, wake the &*%# up!” Now I am actually eager to talk about money and getting out of debt. Dan and I each made month-to-month plans to get us through Dave’s 7 baby steps. I’m actually excited about managing my finances now! After reading all of the success stories from hundreds of people in Dave’s book, I have caught the Total Money Makeover fever, and I am thrilled at the idea of finally taking control of my finances.
We are officially beginning our Total Money Makeover today. I’ve been excited about it for weeks! I’m especially thrilled to share our experiences with anyone out there who needs encouragement & inspiration to help face their financial realities. Know that you are not alone!
I decided to create a vlog for those of you that may be interested in hearing the details of the program or joining me in my journey to go through Dave’s program and get out of debt so that I can save for the future. I can’t recommend his book enough–it was SUCH a great gift idea! Also, I apologize in advance for a) the really awkward long pause in the beginning (I didn’t know if it had started recording yet), and b) how freakin’ long this is. Hopefully someone out there finds it useful, though!
My goal is to post at least once a month with an update on our Total Money Makeover–and I may post some helpful tips along the way. If you’re interested in learning more or just want to chat finances, please don’t hesitate to email me (the.simple.songbird [at ] gmail [dot] com)!
Do you avoid facing your financial realities? How have your money habits changed over the years? Have you changed your financial practices for the better?