Total Money Makeover

I have noticed several of my friends’ blog posts and Facebook status updates referencing Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover lately. I have been chuckling to myself because Jonathan and I had already begun the process of going back through our finances and we needed a refresher course. We had listened to the Financial Peace University CDs and had completed the FPU workbook during our first year of marriage. Since we had just graduated college with some student loans, we were still on the Debt Snowball step.

Lo and behold, five years down the road, Jonathan got his student loans paid off through Colorado’s student loan repayment program. So there we were, completely forgetful about what to do next! Because, oh yeah-

We’re Debt Free!!!!!

I actually tried to make that bigger and in a snazzier font, just to convey the emotion and the relief. Guess what. We’re never going to be in debt again, as long as things go as planned. Ever. 

We already had the $1000 emergency fund filled up, and now that we’re debt free (!!!!!!!!!!), we had to read the book to figure out what to do next! We are on Baby Step #3- we’re working on getting a fully funded emergency fund so that we are able to maintain our current standard of living for 6 months if anything happens (ie, if Jonathan loses his job). Our estimated date for completion on that is next January.

It’s really encouraging to have goals set up and time frames during which we can see our goals being met.

Oh, and we’ve decided to hold off on the new car until we have our emergency fund full and we’ve saved enough to pay cash for a newer used one. (We always planned to buy used, but relearning all Dave’s stuff has just reinforced it!)

One of the most exciting part of the TMM is the emphasis on GIVING. Obviously we’re going to be tithing our 10% all along the way, but we’ve already started dreaming about the ways we’re going to use our money to help others in the future. In the meantime, our giving is focused in three areas: our Compassion kids, missionaries, and backpacks for the homeless in our city.

We currently sponsor three Compassion kids. I sponsor a 16-year-old (beautiful) girl in Thailand; Jonathan sponsors an 8-year-old boy in Peru; and our family sponsors an 18-year-old young man in Kenya. When Hula Girl turns three, we will be sponsoring a child with her birthday (or close to it) so that she and her Compassion child will “grow up” together. We plan to help her make that a lifelong friendship. We will do the same for Gelato when he turns three. (Compassion children are 3 and older.)

We need to find some missionaries to sponsor. Actually, we have a few in mind. 🙂 This is an avenue we’re still exploring.

The backpacks were something we came up with late one night when we were looking over our budget and realized that we weren’t giving enough. I really wanted to focus some of our giving on our local community. I think we do a pretty good job of thinking outside the United States when we’ve got money or prayers to offer, but I get really frustrated when there are people in our own community that are suffering, too. That day I had been really drawn to a homeless woman who was standing outside a grocery store asking for… anything. I had nothing to give at the time- not even time, as I was late and rushing home to nurse Gelato. Anyway, we decided that we’d go out and buy some backpacks and stock them with things folks might need. Remember, we live in Colorado, and it gets down into the single digits and teens every night now. So we decided on things like a warm jacket, socks, gloves, and a hat; personal hygiene items; notepads and pens; a water bottle with a filter; and nonperishable food items. It is our intention to get Hula Girl involved in the giving by taking her to the store to help choose the items that will go in the backpacks. So, yeah. Cool.

Anyway, if any of you are doing the TMM and want to keep in touch for encouragement or whatever, let me know! Jonathan and I would be glad of the support, too!

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