Planning Our Life with Dave Ramsey

Personal Finance is 80 percent Behavior and Only 20 percent Head Knowledge

January 1st marks our first day on the Dave Ramsey Financial plan.  After seeing where we spent our money in 2011, we knew we needed to make some changes if we were gonna survive in this economy with 3 kids, 2 of which will be attending college in the next 1-3 years.  We needed a plan and we made a plan.

Our first DR action was to combine accounts.  After 18+years of having separate accounts, we decided to merge into one.  One of our biggest arguments with each-other is the whole “I paid for this” crap.   It was a very scary decision to be quite honest and while I’m sure we could have made it work with different accounts, I felt like we needed to be united much more in our future, especially with our finances.

Now we really don’t have much debt, maybe $17000 which includes our car, so the DR plan was to get out of debt but also to learn our spending habits and secure our future.   We had to create a budget which proved difficult.  Folks with a set income will find it fairly easy but when you are self-employed, it becomes a guessing game much of the time.  We did get the budget done though based on his income and my LOWEST projected income. That way, if I made more, it could be used as a ‘snowball’.  <– That’s DR terminology.

Having a budget means cutting costs and one of our biggest money wasters, aside from fuel, is food.  If you’re anything like  me, you buy a ton of food and end up never even using half of it.  Meal planning is not something I am good at. In fact, I’m down right horrible at it but I’m determined to learn and make it work for us.  Creating a meal plan is essential and I decided to make it part of my food blog for accountability.    This way I can reflect on how I spent our grocery money, if we actually made the food, and changes we can make to improve.  It’s also a fun way to engage my audience!

There are many steps to the DR plan and as the year goes on, I’ll share them with you and how we are progressing.  So to recap what we’ve done and our steps so far…….

*Create a budget and give EVERY dollar a name. 

DR’s Baby Step #1

  • $1000 in an emergency fund – We currently have $2500 in ours that we will not touch unless it is an absolute emergency.

DR’s Baby Step #2

  • Pay off all debt (except the house) by utilizing the “Debt Snowball” – Some folks will be on this step for a while depending on their debt size.  What I love about using the Dave Ramsey software (I use the online one), is that once you have put in your debts, it will calculate when you should be out of debt assuming you follow the program accordingly.  It’s very cool to see your debt free date.  It gives you a visual and some hope.

We will be on this step for a little bit but I’ll still be updating you with tips and ideas on things you can do to help achieve your financial goals.    Do you have any finance goals?

Also, I’m happy to share a book that is an easy read and great overview of how the DR plan works; The Money Answer Book.  It’s mine, I’ve read it several times but have moved on to his other books and dvds.  If you’re interested, leave me a comment below on why you’d like to have it and I’ll draw someone on Thursday, January 5th.  Just a small way to pay it forward….



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  1. says

    We discovered Dave Ramsey several years ago and the difference in our finances has been incredible! I appreciate your transparency and know firsthand how difficult yet exhilarating it is to make those numbers drop. Well done and here’s to a prosperous New Year!

  2. Bobbi says

    My husband and I took a couples class at church – being “older” newlyweds has it’s own unique set of challenges. Joining finances was one of them. The class instructors spoke highly of the Dave Ramsey system. While the church holds classes to teach his system – they also charge over 100.00 for the 12 week class. Yes, I’m sure the money would be well spent, but the funds are not there. I’m currently unemployed – just till the end of March. The place I work shuts down for the winter. This would certainly help to point us in the right direction. We’re both turning 60 this year and would love to have a place to call our own. But with our fiances in a shamble, I don’t see it happening any time soon.
    Love reading your newsletters and following your progress in all areas. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Joyce says


      When I found FPU, I couldn’t afford it either, and that meant I needed it. How many other things would I need that would cost that or more? FPU easily saved me more than the cost of it in the first 1 or 2 weeks of the class. Then I subscribed to his MyTotalMoneyMakeover online, and I save more than the annual cost of the subscription each and every month.

      When you are able to make it so the funds are there, I hope you will join FPU. Until then, you can get started on your own, by borrowing The Total Money Makeover from the library. That’s how I got started, and what helped me find the funds to join FPU.

    • Cheyenne says


      FPU will definitely pay for itself. We bought ours by selling some things. If you live in a urban city with a large library system you may be able to borrow some of the DVDs. I suggest Relating with Money, Cash Flow Planning, and Dumping Debt in that order. I hope you will be able to soon, it will change your life.

  3. Kim says

    Bobbi, what’s nice about the Dave Ramsey plan is you really don’t have to buy a thing to be able to do it and succeed. You can borrow the book, The Total Money Makeover, from your library, and listen to the radio show for free (if it is not syndicated in your area, you can stream it online…free!) You’re only 60! You can do it! And congratulations on your new marriage. :)

  4. says


    You can just borrow the book and get started.

    I have to say though that FPU did so much to make our marriage solid and bring us closer together. The cost works out to $7.70 a week (you only have to pay for one admission that you both share). That’s less than $3.50 a week per person. Would your church consider letting you pay by the week?

    I would give up anything to go to FPU. It did that much for us. We were completely debt-free less than two years later (and the Lord did a real miracle to get us out of debt). It’s worth every penny.

    You will be able to attend any FPU class free of charge for the rest of your life after completing it by the way. There isn’t a better deal around anywhere!

  5. says

    Lori, we’re on the Dave Ramsey plan too, we paid off quite a bit of debt last year with the debt snowball plan and we HOPE to have paid all the rest of it off before the end of the year. Then we’ll be working on the FULLY funded 3 month emergency plan, paying off the house and saving for retirement. We used to put all our extra money on the house, my husband’s goal was that the house payment would become the college payment and we wouldn’t have anything to put on debt. But with Dave Ramsey we might actually have all our debt paid off and the house by the time the kids go to college. Woot. Good luck with it and I look forward to reading your progress. ;-)

  6. Bobbi says

    Ok ladies – You’ve convinced me – the next session of FPU doesn’t start up till March, but I did put 2 of the Dave Ramsey books on reserve at the local library. It’s really small, so they have to be brought in from a different location. But I did take action to get this plan under way. Next step (I think) is to list out all our debts to see exactly where we stand. UGH! A necessary evil though. Can’t get where you’re going if you don’t have a map, right?
    Kim – I know – 60 isn’t that old. We both have our health and are active. We’re better off that alot of people we know.
    Thanks everyone – I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement! Blessings to you all!

      • Bobbi says

        Lori – Thank you for the encouragement. I’ve checked out Dave Ramsey’s site and will be talking this over with Dale tomorrow when he gets home from work. I’ve got one last commission check coming in and I think this would be a great “New Years” present for ourselves.

  7. Rick says

    Thrilled to hear you’re doing the Total Money Makeover! We dabbled in it a few years ago but didn’t get serious (and read the book) until this past fall. Since then, we’ve established a working budget (saving a on of money on everything), paid off our last vehicle, paid off a LOT of small credit card accounts, cut up all our credit cards (we now operate in the black), and working our snowball to pay off the remaining debt.

    For me, what really got me motivated was at work when I was reading Dave Ramsey’s, “The Total Money Makeover” book. One of my co-workers was thrilled and said she and her husband have been doing the program for a few years. I asked where she was and she answered they are paying off the house…which is their last debt! (They are much younger than me, by the way.)

    (We are one-income family since my wife quit her job last summer so far from “rich”)

    God Bless!

    Rick & Karen

  8. Kirk says

    I predict Bobbi and her husband are going to end up going big-time-Gazelle on TMMO and will officiall be named “Dave Rock Stars” as this story unfolds.

  9. says

    I was just getting out of unemployment when I ‘found Dave’. I listened to his radio show regularly and you can pick up a lot from that honestly. was my ‘congratulations’ present to myself for reaching a weight-loss goal. Best present ever, even though it hurt a lot to find the funds! I’m now debt free with a fully funded 6-month emergency fund. It took me about a year and a half but I was only a little in debt and lived very frugally.