Doing the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps

As y’all know I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey and his “Baby Steps” to achieve financial peace.  This week and part of next, I will be particpating in an M-Network project exploring those baby steps one-by-one and in-depth.  This should be rather interesting, since most of the M-Network doesn’t follow Dave Ramsey!  Their perspective is Dave Ramsey is a big influence in the PF blogosphere as well as radio (and now television) so his baby step program merits a good going-over.

Patrick over at CashMoneyLife posted the series introduction and overview this morning.  He gives the run-down on just what the baby steps are, and which blogger will be covering which baby step in depth.  I help kick it off tomorrow with “Baby Step ZERO” which does exist (although not in official form on Dave’s website) and is vital to doing the entire program.    More on that tomorrow.

What I will go into today is how following these baby steps (and the general Dave Ramsey money philosophy) has impacted my personal finances.  WOW, what a difference this has made!  HOLY COW, what a financial turnaround!

Fourteen months ago, I was clueless on just how to properly manage money.  I knew what I was doing wasn’t working, even though I was trying to follow the “normal” way of money handling.  We had credit cards which carried debt.  We had TWO vehicle notes.  We had two tuition bills.  We had the mortgage and utilities and groceries and gas tanks needing to be filled.  In short, we had a financial MESS!

Then, I saw that billboard and turned my radio to a talk show (which I used to not listen to) and found out there was a “better way.”  I started to follow that other way of handling money, and fourteen months later my biggest money issue on my mind is “When will the credit union FINALLY process our LAST EVER CONSUMER DEBT PAYMENT?“  I have gone from owing way too many companies money to only owing the mortgage.

Hubby and I no longer stress out about money.  Instead we are dreaming and discussing just what to do with our money to get the best use out of it.  Just how much do we want to save up in our big honkin’ emergency fund?  How much will 15% of our income be to put towards retirement, and even more fun: How big and how fast will that retirement grow?  How much do we want to put towards my son’s college?  How fast do we want to pay off our mortgage?  Just how long of a vacation do we want to take over the summer?

These questions we ask today are SO MUCH more fun than the ones we asked a little over a year ago.  Instead of asking “How can we pay this on time?” we ask “What do we want to do with $X00 or $X000 to invest or enjoy?”  That’s a huge difference … and that’s what Dave Ramsey calls “Financial Peace.”