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This book, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, changed my life and the financial trajectory of my family.
I first read it back in September 2013 when I knew something needed to change for me because I was so unhappy at work. At that time, I couldn’t just quit because I had a family with financial obligations, and I wanted to retire someday, preferably earlier than the norm! For any chance of that, I felt we needed both mine and my husband’s paychecks.
I can’t remember exactly how I heard about the book initially–I think I may have had a friend on Facebook that mentioned reading it. In any case, when I saw that it was about getting out of debt and having financial freedom, I bought a used copy off Amazon.com for less than 5 bucks (though knowing what I do now, I should’ve checked it out from the library for free) and proceeded to read it from cover to cover. My family wasn’t really in huge debt per se. We did have a car payment and a huge amount left to pay on our mortgage. But I wanted the opportunity to do something more meaningful to me than my current IT job, and I didn’t want to have to worry about money. I was hoping this book would help me reconcile these two wishes.
After reading the book, I immediately started implementing Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps. I created a profile on Mint.com and started tracking all the money that came and went through our many accounts. Then I made a monthly budget. It’s something everyone should be doing, but I’d never learned. Looking back, I don’t know how we carried on without one. It took a few months of trial and error to tweak it for the needs of our family, and we were able to quickly see areas that could be improved for saving. It took some coaxing to get my hubby on board with this new budgeting plan, but when he did, things definitely snowballed in a positive way for us. We paid off our car in those first few months, started retirement and college savings accounts, and then after that, almost all of our extra money went toward our mortgage. In only 2 years and 9 months (June 2016), we owned our home for real–and were debt-free!
Another year and 3 months later, I still haven’t figured out what I want to be doing with my life, but we’ve saved up a nice chunk of money, and the things that I learned from this book made it possible for me to quit my job while I figure things out, i.e. “find it.”
So, in just 4 years of following much of Dave Ramsey’s advice, I now enjoy my time at home and my family lives comfortably on my husband’s salary.
If you have any struggles with money, please checkout this book from your local public library and give it a read–The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.
What questions do you have that would help you get started on your journey to financial freedom? Please leave in the comments and I will respond.