i paid off my cell phone today.
dammit it feels amazing! for some reason, the last $200 of that debt, in particular, has felt like a gorilla on my back!
and now its not there anymore! holy moly!
I’ve been working Dave Ramsey’s baby steps like a stripper works a pole.
ok, maybe not that intensely. but so far in 2017 i’ve paid off $1630, plus whatever all my minimum payments on my other debts have added up to!
it doesn’t sound like a lot, but just seeing that number on paper (or, y’know, computer screen) makes me feel like i’ve accomplished something! it’s about a 6th of my total debt.
my budget hasn’t been as tight as it could be. I’ve still eaten out quite a bit and taken a few short road trips around Phoenix here and there, which cost money i could have been throwing at my debt snowball. but i’m ok with it. i’m enjoying my life a little and still getting out of debt. i may cinch my belt in the future and bust it out though!
all i’ve got left is $1400 on a credit card and $7500 on my car!
how i met Dave
so Dave’s an Evangelical Christian right?
I’m definitely not one of those. so how did i come to start listing to a dude talk about “god & grandma’s” method of money management?
once upon a time…
one of my brothers mentioned him to me quite a few years ago but i resisted looking Dave up because that brother is a born-again Christian and my defenses were up because i had been “witnessed to” my whole life by my peers and community and i was pretty damn tired of it. so i rejected his recommendation.
looking back, i wish i had started listening sooner!
last year, my other brother, who was agnostic long before i became atheist, mentioned Dave during a passionate oration about changing his family tree and he suggested that i look into Financial Peace University (FPU), which is Dave’s personal finance course.
i resisted, citing not wanting to have to slog through religious dogma in order to get financial advice.
“Sarah… stop letting your bias get in the way of learning something new!” he admonished.
so i found Dave’s podcast and have been hooked ever since!
yeah, Dave’s religious but in his roll as “Dave Ramsey the financial guru”, he’s finance-first and only sprinkles his faith in here and there.
it was way different than i thought it would be!
i love his sass. he gets after people who are being illogical, he holds people accountable and offers compassion when it’s needed.
and his system is simple!
well… except for 2 things…
atheist and single
when i was first listening, i was confused about how to work Dave’s financial baby-steps because he approaches it from a biblical perspective.
but here’s the deal… his financial principles aren’t just biblical.
they’ve been practiced in various forms basically since money was created. even the early babylonians practiced these same money management skills.
Dave differs though because his course, while pretty much universally applicable, is geared toward the religious and the married.
I’m single and a dirty, dirty atheist.
Dave teaches his followers to continue to tithe while working his steps. since i don’t go to church, i wasn’t sure what i should do with that 10% tithe money: should i save it? should i donate it? should i put it on my debt?
ultimately, for me, it made more sense to apply it toward my baby steps, so I decided to follow the baby steps just like they’re listed and apply that 10% tithe plus whatever is left after i make all my payments, first toward the emergency fund, then toward the debt in order to reach a zero-based budged. i feel pretty good about that!
- save a baby emergency fund of $1000
- pay off all debt using the snowball method
- fully funded emergency fund = 3-6 months of expenses
- invest at least 15% of your income into interest generating accounts like mutual funds
- save for kids college
- pay off the house early
- give generously
the single life
but here’s the next snag i hit… i may be jumping the gun a bit, but i think it’s wise to look ahead… i’m single and i don’t plan to get married any time soon or have children… ever.
this means i get to cut out the step where i save up a college fund for my
drooling shit-monsters offspring (yay!)! i may replace this with cash-flowing my own continuing education though.
being single and kidless means i only need to invest for myself which has it’s own set of questions! considering the difference in women’s life-spans, health factors, and pay… what are the best investment and insurance options for a single female after i’m debt free? do i open a Roth IRA? what kind of other financial things should i worry about? life insurance?
after going through all of this and learning these money management skills, i’m convinced that personal finance is the ultimate path to freedom. no awesome job or location independent lifestyle will bring you the freedom you seek until you get yourself and your money under control.
i sure wish i had been taught these skills before i ever left high school! i’m tempted to start teaching FPU in my local community… in libraries and community centers instead of churches though 😉
have you done the Dave Ramsey plan as a single female? have you adapted it as a non-religious person? what was your experience?