RE: Bruce, my husband and I are taking Financial Peace University.

Bruce, my husband and I are taking Financial Peace University. We just finished the 10th week. I can’t recommend it highly enough! A lot of what is covered is common sense but we learned some things we didn’t know, either, and his envelope system has saved our rear ends. We spend so much less on most things than we used to and we’re starting to pay off some very old debts now.

As for staff, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Our FPU class is led by a woman who took the class and wanted to facilitate it for others. She still has some money issues but she’s working on them. 🙂

We read TMMO about two years ago and are reading FP Revisited as part of FPU. The information is excellent and Dave’s enthusiasm is contagious!

There happens to be a Dave Ramsey site which I am member of. I’ve received a wealth of information and motivation from those members. I was also able to “beta test” his newst Financial Peace website about 6 months ago. It includes recorded sessions of Dave Ramsey himself teaching the class and printable copies of the workbook pages as you move along. This was a better course for me to take versus his live courses taught at local churches and community group, although I’ve heard they are good too. Have you had a chance to read any of his books yet? You can attempt to borrow them from the local library, but having moved in the past 6 months, both cities I lived in had a waiting list for them. You can also check out his website and try to listen to his past radio talk shows (can be MP3 downloadable) for free. I also found he has a live show on one of the the business channels, I think its the same one you can view Suzy Ormond (?sp) and that crazy stock guy…Cramer I think. Dave takes live calls and guides you on howto get out of debt. He does practices and believes in a “no credit” lifestyle. He touts that his credit history is horrible because he carries no credit at all and has not for over 10 years now. He is extreme when it comes to that. But he and several of the members on the yahoo group are examples that it is doable. The main idea is to conquer your debt (all of it, car loans, house loans, everything), have the allotted savings and thus retirement, and only pay cash from then on. Yes, even owning a car, home, and education. One thing surprising I learned from him is that when you have cash on hand, especially for big ticket items (appliances, furniture, vehicle, even homes) you have the greatest bargaining tool. He has several examples of this. He also touts on backing off of the “have it now” attitude and take the time to save the money you need in cash.

He does have what he calls baby steps to follow, you can see a printable version of this on DaveRamsey.com and the yahoo group files, and I do follow it somewhat. I have found that being 36 and having a military family, credit is needed for auto insurance, getting kids enrolled in private school, etc., so I still fret about my score, but I do have a $1000 emergency fund (baby step #1) and are more than halfway through our debt snowball plan (baby step #2). We are fortunate enough to not to have a mortgage, but we both had college degrees which mean college loans. But no matter, with his plan, we will be debt free in 2011 and we are talking of over $100,000 in debt.

Good luck to you. I’ve read, and as you should too, read several self-help finance books including Suzy Ormond, etc and have found Dave’s way to make more sense. But as I mentioned before, hit the library or pick up a used on on Amazon.com or your local Half-Price books.

Re: Hi, how is everyone? I’m Emily & I’m new.

First off let me say I’m sorry you lost your father and from experience losing a parent last year I can first hand tell you it can cause you to be out of sorts and not think clearly with the bills and budget. I found myself getting behind on a few bills and just plain forgetting about a few it was like they simply vanished from my mind. That can pose a problem so if your DH or mom or someone can help you work with the budget and help you stay on top of things so you dont forget or overlook something that would be a plus. I dont know but thought I read you have 3 vehicles? if so, are you paying on all of them or do you own one or two of them free and clear? I would look for a way to pare down the car payment(s) if you can. Since you are a large family and have teens, as I do, I’m guessing some are driving or learning how so you really probably do need 3 vehicles but maybe you can trade down or sell one and buy an older model that you would’nt have payments on etc. Your debt listed at 300.00 I’m guessing is credit card debt or misc. debt? See if you can get your interest rates lowered first off. If not, double up on the lowest one the one you owe the least on and pay it off asap then take that payment and apply it to the next one. I think

suggest this idea but in opposite? and instead doing it with the one that charges the most interest? I dont know, but for us here, paying the lowest debt off first has helped us tremendously and then taking that payment and applying it to the next highest debt. For whatever reason its helped me to feel I’ve accomplished something and I can see it. Also if you have credit cards that charge annual membership fees get rid of them if they wont waive the fee. If they wont waive the fee close the account and pay on it until its done. Take that annual fee and put it to something else. Tithe? I’m not sure but I’m thinking you are donating this? or are you receiving it? If you are donating, then stop. Its nice to want to give to the church and so on but if you are struggling to survive there is no point in it. You can still give but on a much smaller scale. God does’nt want you in debt or defaulting on your debts so you can give money.. you are supposed to pay your way and pay your debts and if you cant donate then you cant donate. There will then come a time when you are in a better situation and you can donate without struggling. Your entertainment costs look a bit high but again I can relate with having teens and all but facts are facts. It may call for a family meeting where everyone decides together what is good enough for entertainment and what they are willing to go without.

Even if you shaved 100.00 off of that, thats 100.00 that can go in the gas tank or someplace else. I always try to look at things from that perspective. If I can save xxx here I could use it over here instead. It helps me get my priorities straight sometimes and put my money where it needs to go. If you guys dont frequent your library for DVDS and stuff try doing that. Our library has become quite the place for DVDS so thats an option and if not or along with, get a blockbuster or netflix membership online and rent your movies that way. You can more then cut the cost of tv/movie entertainment in half by doing this. I dont know how you pay for the entertainment or what entertainment it is but if you have teens I’m guessing there is alot going to them for “their entertainment” like movies at the mall or things. That may have to stop for a while or you may have to agree that each kid gets a 10.00 movie gift card to the nearest theater and thats it for the month. They will then have to start choosing and deciding what is more important and where they want to spend that money. I think you might be able to shave last months entertainment costs in half without much pain. One of the only other places I see you could cut is of course the grocery bill. You spend alot on that or you did last month anyway. Its very easy to do especially with teens.
I noticed in another post you wont cook with ramen and things for you DH’s health reasons but you may have to make some changes and start using the cheaper things and work a little harder to find recipes that you can use them and make them in a more healthful way. Your DH may have health problems but your kids dont and they wont die from eating some cheaper foods occasionally and I’m sure they do at their other friends houses if they are like any of the teens I’ve known and know. You mention McDonalds not being cheap with teens- you are right, but if you are willing to feed them that then you should be willing to feed them cheaper things from the grocery store as well. You may have to make them one thing and make another for your DH but making them something else might afford you the way to keep your DH eating what he needs with his health conditions. As for school lunches I agree.. you might as well let them buy their lunch because anything you have to buy to make them all lunches you are going to spend about the same and lose precious time shopping and making the lunches in the long run as well.

Its cheaper to give them 2-3.00 a day and let them eat. My own DD who is 15 1/2 pointed this out to me just the other day. She and I have come to a compromise because one day a week her and her friends like to go off campus and eat out- which usually means a 5.00 lunch or more. So if she wants to do that she has to take a lunch a couple days with what we have here which is usually pbj. I give her 10.00 at the beginning of the week or half on Mon. and the other half on Weds. Its up to her to make it work. She prefers it this way now. Now my last point you put 460 into savings last month? This is good but if you are behind or struggling you may want to try and divert some of that to debt. Some will argue with me on this but you are behind because the student loans are in deferment first off. You need to call them(Actually your DH needs to as they wont talk to you if they are not your loans)they do have plans and eventually the deferment option runs out.. I know.. we’ve done it. If you can afford to put 460 into savings then maybe you only put 260 into savings and tell them that you can at least start paying 200.00 a month. Its a start. They are more agreeable then any other debtor DH or I has ever dealt with. You can put all you want into savings but you said in your own words you took it back out

>
> I “borrow” from savings to make stuff work most every month and feel
> guilty.

You are trying to put too much there and you cant afford to do it if you have to keep taking it back out

Lastly.. eating out can go altogether especially with what you are spending on groceries as it is. You are just going to have to work at this and it involves  lanning and it involves everyone in the family understanding what is going on and what needs to be done to get back on track.