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Monday, August 23, 2010

Baby Step One: Save 1000 Dollars for an Emergency Fund

So another aspect of healthy living that I mentioned I wanted to incorporate on this blog is financial health. As much as I am a hippie I am also a strong supporter of Dave Ramsey and what he has to offer. I wish that money were easy to control, then I wouldn't have to worry about my finances or where things affected my budget, but if money were easy to control we would all be millionaires.
Before I get started on explaining my personal financial situation along with going through the 16 CD'S of Financial Peace University (FPU) and what that means, I want to have a bit of a disclaimer. I think Dave Ramsey has the right formula. I even think he has his head and heart in the right place. I personally am not religious so the preachy parts of his lectures are a bit much for me... I am also not conservative in very many ways-So he and I disagree there. However, one thing we do agree on is that money is just a thing, it is the person who has the money who is in control of what happens and how it affects themselves and others. Also, DR is a HUGE supporter of donating money (He is specifically supportive of donating to one's church, my specifications are a bit less religious) I truly believe that in order to get money, you must give money.
NOW onwards. When I graduated from High School I had NO CREDIT (zero as in not negative not positive, just nothing) then I applied for student loans and because my mom earns more than most moms in the state of South Dakota, I lost out. I needed a Co-signer and my Aunt was the only person willing, and so we went from there. A year later I agreed to have my first credit card. The banker told me it would help me build positive credit (and it could have, had I used it properly). My mom had always told me to stay away from Credit Cards (mostly due to her own personal experiences). By the age of 50 my mom had filed for bankruptcy twice, this October will be the end of the 7 year period on her second one. I am changing my family tree.
During the time I was in college I had my credit card which I managed well until the day I wanted to go see my long distance boyfriend at the time. I bought the tickets, told my mom to stick it and flew to Arkansas. Months later he moved up to live with me and we instantly combined our finances. I thought I loved him and knew I would marry him (I wouldn't give up until I did) therefore it just made sense. When I was with him he learned the magic of student loan flexing. By this time I was in college at a MUCH more expensive school with MUCH larger loans... and stretched them a bit further for "living expenses" In the time that we were together my ex and I financed 5 different things for over 15000 dollars. ALL IN MY NAME (pre-marriage)... In the last year I have been working very hard to elevate some of that debt. There is still a lot existing and my student loan payments are staring me dead in the eyeballs... (starting in December I am looking at roughly 600 dollars a month for minimum student loan payments...)  I refuse to sacrifice any more of my life to this. I know that in order to live like no one else I must first live like no one else-But I am choosing not to eliminate the 100/mo for crossfit as well as the "expensive" foods for primal living-My health is not going to be one of the sacrifices I make. In total I have 103,500 in debt... I hope to god that I can get it paid off in 7 years. At some point I would like a new-er car. At some point I would like to travel and go back to school, without the loans.
Dave Ramsey's role: My friend Katie Peterson and her husband Eric pulled themselves out of TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars of debt in 2 years. They only have a mortgage now. Katie and I spent a significant amount of required time together this spring and that is when I learned about DR and what he did for them, and what he can do for me. Katie loaned me the 16 CD'S of Financial Peace University, the class that she and her husband teach. I am going over them again. This spring I read his remarkable book TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER which is a must have on my books to live by list.
Now we are at The First Baby Step:
Saving for 1000 emergency  fund (500 if you earn less than 26000 a year). I recently had to replace 4 tires on my car along with regular maintenance, breaks and routers... I am back at 0... Welcome to my climb. Starting next pay check I will be saving form my 1000 dollar emergency fund. November is quickly approaching and I have a large debt I NEED to pay off by then... I have other debts in the red looking me in the eye. But without an emergency fund, Murphy comes knocking.
I am selling a sleep number bed my ex and I financed if anyone is interested ;) ... that money will go toward this fund. I hope that soon I will be celebrating the first baby step and moving on to the scary-huge Debt Snowball!
wish me luck!

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