I have had a few close friends and family members ask me why I write my blog. The answer is quite simple. Because I don't see debt as my dirty little secret. Many of us have it. But how many truely admit to it. Not many. There is greater pleasure in announcing to the world, "Look what I bought, it's new and shiny, and it makes me feel good!". It's not so easy to say, "Look what I resisted, I didn't spend money, I budgeted and bought nothing ... and it makes me feel good!!". I prefer the second statement. It's honest and more fullfilling.
In an effort to start the path to financial freedom, I have been exploring the Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover site. It has a wealth of information on there, and the tools are easy to use. Last night we sat down and created our budget on the site. I have tried mint.com (free) and mvelopes (not so free) and I have to say Ramsey's budget was very easy to use ($9.95 a month). We discovered last night that our minimum monthly payments take up 38% of our monthly income!! Ouch.
BUT the comforting news is that all our other areas of spending fall in or below Dave Ramsey's guidelines. Phew! After reading his book Total Money Makeover, we have hope. We are the average Joe on the street. But unlike the average Joe, we stopped spending over 6 months ago on credit cards, and since the A/C repair we no longer use lines of credits to purchase items/services. It's all hard work and cash. We have also saved 21% of Babystep 1 in the last two weeks.
I think we allienate a few people when I say politely, "We'll have to pass this month." or "How about we don't buy each other gifts". I think they percieve us to be "struggling", they try to change the subject, or give that pitiful look (oh how I deplore that look). On the contrary, we have a house (three bedroom, single family), a car, a healthy happy family. I buy groceries each month, without financial stress. We have NEVER gone deliquent on an account. But most importantly, we have a budget. And that budget is not for the now. It is not to bring us instant gratification. It is the path to a future of no debt.
We are not poor, people. Poor, according to Ramsey, is a state of mind. We are broke (and on our way to changing it).