Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!
Our week went well. Thursday was really nice outside and we met a few people at the park. Right before that we took Bronson to the library with us again. Clark and Bronson had a good time.

Lee is done with a case report for school. It’s his big project for the semester. It’s due on Friday so tomorrow will be spent proof reading it and then he’ll send it off on Tuesday.

Lee got the tires! Thanks Kent!

Something came in the mail the other day that was so amazing to receive. It makes these past 4 years in school feel like our hard effort is paying off. Can you guess? Graduation announcements! It was so fun to look at them and read about the time and date of Lee’s graduation. It seriously was a special moment to open them and look at them.

Lee’s next big thing is BOARDS! I think I am more nervous about it than he is. It’s his last big test and it’s a practical. Parts I & II were written tests. He will also take the Nevada law test so he can get a license in Nevada. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get his time slot changed.

Saturday we took a trip to the temple by Columbia, South Carolina. I realized that in the near future, it will be our last trip down there. We will be in Memphis next month for boards, so I think we’ll go there for our temple trip next month.

The Nybergs—our awesome Sunday school teacher and his family—came with us. Shelly and I went in first, and then the guys went. When Shelly and I were at the park, we met Jana Hyatt. (This is for you Kelly Memmott). Pretty small world. I trained Kelly on my mission and Kelly and Jana were in the same stake in Matthews, North Carolina (or the Charlotte Stake?).

Clark was really excited for the temple trip. We buy special treats and bring kid books that are packed away. So it’s a fun time for the kids. And I have to say, I love A&W Rootbeer. I bought some for our temple trip. It is so good! It’s a good thing we don’t buy pop/soda very often!

On the way home, we made a few stops. One place we went to was Aldi. Ahhhhh…..Aldi my friend, how I miss you! If we had the money and Lee was practicing here in Johnson City, I would open up an Aldi store here. We stocked up on some things that I knew would be cheaper there. Some of the wonderful deals ever present at Aldi:

Box of Corn Flakes: $.99 (A big box too!)
Bag of Chocolate Chips: $.99
1 Dozen Eggs: $1.19
Loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Bread: $.99
Can of cream soup: $.45
10 Flour Tortillas: $.89

And to stay in our monthly food budget, guess what I bought this week?! Ramen noodles! I haven’t bought those things for a LONG time, years probably. I actually like Ramen noodles. I just can’t have them all the time. I don’t think our kids have ever had them—maybe Clark has, but it will be interesting to see if they like them!

Most of you heard the letter read in Sacrament meeting from the First Presidency about being prudent money wise—getting out of debt, making wise investments, living within our means, etc. Obviously we should have all been living like this yesterday. I can’t help but feel the seriousness in having letters sent out to all the wards so we could get a personal message delivered to us from the First Presidency. I think this is interesting: General Conference is about three weeks away. They could have told us then…there is an urgency to this message of living within our means and preparing for the future!

Well, with that written, it’s time for a Dave Ramsey post! If you are in debt, or just love to read what I have to write, keep on reading.

And if you don’t read more, have a great night!

My friend Ashley tuned me in to Dave Ramsey when I went shopping with her once in Memphis. I started listening to his radio program, and skimmed through one of his books. I love his radio program—especially on Fridays (it’s usually on in the afternoons from 2-5 pm). People call in on Fridays and tell Dave how much debt they’ve paid off in the past couple of months or years. It is so fun to hear! Quite often someone will call in and say they’ve paid off $60,000 in debt in 18 months. Just the other day a fellow called in that had paid off about that much and now owns his own home!

Okay, now with owning your own home, I have to interject. I cannot imagine paying on a home for 30, thirty, ten times three, years! That would be half my life (in 2 years) spent paying on a house. Anyway, Dave’s way is the way to go. Keep reading.

Dave has an awesome book out called The Total Money Makeover. He also has a nightly show during the week on Fox Business Network. But read his book. It’s great. He presents some “baby steps” to get out of debt. I can’t remember the exact order of the steps, but here are some great things to follow.

*Get a $1000 emergency fund. Before you can really focus and get out of debt, you’ll need an emergency fund. Something will always happen that is unexpected and the $1000 is there for an emergency—so you can pay for unexpected life happenings, but still stay on track with paying off your debt. If you use your emergency fund, put your debt snowball on hold until your emergency fund is back up to $1000.

*Create a written budget before the month begins. Allocate each dollar—even if it’s for the “play money” category. Make sure you know where every penny is going. Control your money. Stick to your budget. If you are married, make sure you and your spouse are in agreement with the budget for the month—you both need to be involved. It’s okay if your spouse hates to write out the budget and you love it (or vise versa)—just make sure you both know what is going on with the money and you both are in agreement. I love to do the budget, but I have Lee look over it to know what is going on. It may take a few months to figure it out, but remember no matter what your income, you have a budget. No matter what one’s body size is, everyone is on a diet. It may be a good diet, or it may be a poor diet, but everyone has to eat and we all eat something or other.

*If you are behind on any payments, which I hope you aren’t, make sure you are current with everyone, then begin the debt snowball.

*Pay off your debts smallest to largest. Many places recommend paying off the higher interest debts first. I am sure there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are planning on doing “Dave’s Plan” you are incredibly focused on getting out of debt in about 2 years. In that case, interest won’t have much of a bearing. Once the smallest debt is paid, take the same payments and apply them towards the next largest debt. Say you just finished paying off some furniture which had a $100 monthly payment. Now you can take that $100 to pay off your car loan. Your car loan is currently $300 a month, but now you have $400 to attack the loan every month. And keep doing this till you’ve paid off everything—except your home.

*NOTE: Since you are so intense and focused about paying off your debt, you need to temporarily stop monthly payments to retirement, kids college funds, etc. Some of you might be gasping at this. Okay, so, what are your monthly payments for things other than your house and living expenses? How much for your car payment? How much for your Best Buy credit card? How much for your student loans? Probably $800? $1000? $1800? What if in two years, you didn’t have any student loans, no more credit card payments, and you owned your vehicles? Think of how much money you could pour into retirement, into kid’s college funds, into saving for that BMW! Temporarily putting it on hold would be just fine. BUT you have to be intense. You have to abolish your debt ASAP.

*Once you’ve paid off everything except the house, then start back up with retirement and college funds and whatever else you’re saving for.

Now I am foggy about the rest of the details. But of course, pay off your house in the near future, and enjoy giving your money, spending it, and having the prospect of a comfortable retirement.

*For buying a home, Dave recommends getting a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage with the monthly payment being no more than ¼th of your take-home pay.

You have to get his book and read it. There are so many other things he talks about—like buying a vehicle with cash only, how to invest, how to buy real estate, and SO much more! Also, check out his website: daveramsey.com. You can get a free 1 hour download of his show everyday, and his daytime radio show is available on many stations across the US. I think all of you should be able to find a station in your area that carries it. You can enter your zip code in at daveramsey.com to find one. You can also listen to his show live via the internet.

You can also call his radio or TV show and ask him questions. He is always giving away books and such or free counseling. He does live events around the US—seminars on getting out of debt and investing and he sometimes gives away free tickets to those too.

He has great advice on investing and he has been in real estate for many, many years. So he knows about flipping houses, buying repos, or even just buying your own home—plus more. He has rental properties too. He loves real estate.

Check it out! I’d love to hear comments about this. :) Also, get the free pamphlet from ldscatalog.com. It’s entitled One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance, by Marvin J. Ashton. Like I said, it’s free and a good short read. Click on the link Welfare Services on the left-hand toolbar and then click on Pamphlets, Booklets, and Brochures. There are actually a few pamphlets, booklets and brochures that are free. There are some good ones about food storage too.

~Live like no one else so someday you can live like no one else~
Dave Ramsey

2 comments:

Amy said...

For those of you in Utah, Dave Ramsey is on 570 AM KNRS from 7-10 pm M-F.

Good advice. I think it is a real blessing when you can live without debt. Thanks.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all.

The Bells said...

I made it into your blog! Awesome!

--Ashley