My Debt Snowball Story

Apr 20, 2016

So I’d like to tell you how the Debt Snowball changed my life, but before I show you my results, here’s a background of what it took for me to understand an area in my life that I didn’t have a real grasp on until my late twenties.

A few years ago I read a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.  It was a great read and I literally finished it in less than two days.  I learned about the difference between assets and liabilities.  Something that I had no clue about.  After reading that book I was introduced to another book called, “Why We Want You To Be Rich, Two Men One Message” by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki (a collaboration between the two of them) which was another great short read for me.  At this point, I was hooked and I started playing the Cash Flow game.  You may be familiar with it.  It was because of that game I started to think about investing in real estate. Thus, began my journey to get out of the rat race for real.

Dave Ramsey and My Total Money Makeover

I was reading Yahoo Finance one day in which Robert Kiyosaki was a contributor.  I was reading through the comments when someone commented, “Forget this guy, you need to get to know Dave Ramsey!”  So I Googled his name and I found his website and subsequently his book called “The Total Money Makeover”.  I made a trip to the local Barnes & Noble bookstore and read the book.  Needless to say I was hooked.  After finishing that book I immediately ordered his program, Financial Peace University (FPU).  As soon as I got it in the mail I began to devour the content.  Since February 2008, I have followed Dave’s principles in FPU.  Now I haven’t gone into “gazelle intensity” as Dave would say, but I continued to keep track of where my money went through budgeting.

Over time, I was able to cash flow my wedding and not have to walk away with some massive debt once it was all over.  I’ve also been able to buy two cars with cash (something that I could have never done before).  To be honest, before Dave Ramsey, I used to live paycheck to paycheck.  I was glad to just be able to make it to next payday.

Marriage And Money

When I got married, I had to do some major adjusting to how I managed my finances.  My new wife was now a part of my financial picture.  First, my wife and I decided to have one account that we have joint access to.  Most people don’t do this.  Yes, a hard concept for many to grasp, but it works for us.  My wife and I went through FPU and it is one of the things that has made our marriage successful in the area of finance.  I am the “nerd” and she is the “free spirit”.  Since I get paid every 1st and 15th of the month, I do the budget and we later discuss together where we can make adjustments.  In the beginning, she basically reminded me that there are things we need to budget for that I may have forgotten or had not thought about.  For example, the grocery budget.  I chuckle because she had always said that she could never understand how I ate as a bachelor due to what little budget I put aside for groceries. At the time, I was single and I rarely cooked. There was just no need for groceries.

The Debt Snowball

Fast forward to learning and implementing Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball.” If you are not familiar with this concept I highly suggest you check out Dave Ramsey and his 7 baby steps (you can Google it).  The particular step that my wife and I committed to was Baby Step 2 which is the Debt Snowball.  When you go through FPU Dave mentioned you will be begin the process of telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it all went.  By implementing the principles, I’ve been able to snowball most of the huge consumer debts I had accumulated over the years as well as one in particular that my wife had brought into our marriage.  Remember when I said we are now one?  Well, that was a big one.

It was my wife’s student loan and I’m happy to report that we paid it off years earlier than if we were just paying the minimum owed.  We averaged paying about $1,000 a month in just about a year.  When we finally paid this loan off, my wife and I felt such a big relief that we didn’t have this bill to pay for anymore.  It goes to show that you need to be up front and honest with your finances and believe that YOU can do this!  If you are struggling with your personal finances, there are tools available to you that can help.  Trust me, I know how it feels to have big debt staring you in the face.  It just takes you saying to yourself that you’ve had enough and that you are willing to take massive action.

The picture below is the last debt that we paid off together.  My wife and I didn’t make anything extra or take on an extra job.  We did this with the income we were already making.  This goes to show you the power of a budget and what it takes when you and your spouse can be in partnership about finances.  What are your thoughts on this subject?  Comment below or connect with me on Social Media.  I’d love to show you how you can too make progress in reducing your debt with the current income you are making!

Student Loan PAID OFF!

Attitude Is The Key To All Behavior … The Key To Action

Apr 13, 2016

So the title of this blog post is from a book I read at a seminar I attended a few years ago.  It seems more fitting after the last week that I’ve experienced while working at my day job.  Don’t get me wrong, my day job as a Personnel Officer in the United States Marine Corps is rewarding and challenging.  It also doesn’t feel like a “job”.  It has become something that I’ve enjoyed doing, especially in the last decade.  This quote from Napoleon Hill says it best, “It would be no great overstatement of the truth if we said that mental attitude is EVERYTHING.”  A positive mental attitude can get you places.

What does it mean to take responsibility for our attitude?

As I read this question again from the book, I am searching myself for how that just made me feel.  Taking responsibility for my attitude can mean a lot of things to many people.  For me it is I am responsible for how I respond.  So think of this.  If I constantly go around and blame others for the car I drive, the money I make, or where I end up in life, then things will turn out to be really hard.  In order for things to change, I have to change.  No one will make me change.  When you recognize this, things will start to become easier to accomplish.  Again, I am responsible for how I feel.  No one made me feel that way, its just the meaning that I gave to it.  So in a sense its a program that I have learned.  This happens so my automatic programed response is this.  Think about it.  You’d probably be surprised in what you find.

How do we create positive attitude habits?

This is a tough one.  First, it takes a lot of mental energy to break through your automatic programed responses.  Most of your “programs” have been working for you so long that it has become part of your subconscious mind and part of your identity.  Is that really you?  If not then change it.  I hope I haven’t lost you here.  Let me explain.  Being conscious that you are attempting to change a negative attitude habit will take time with the new positive habit you want to replace it with.  Eventually your new positive habit will become your new automatic response.  To start you can create two lists.  The first list is of habits you currently like and the second is a list of habits you want to create.  I’ll share some of mine now.

HABITS I CURRENTLY LIKE:

I budget my money monthly.

I wake up at 5 am daily.

I meditate for 15 minutes daily before I begin my day at work.

I read to my son every night before bed.

HABITS I WANT TO CREATE:

I blog weekly.

I get a laugh out of life everyday.

I give praise and acknowledge to those around me.

I am a podcaster.

I willingly pay the price.

What is the price you must pay for success?

Some of the habits that I want to create came verbatim out of the book I read.  The last habit especially is one that I want to create.  I am willing to pay the price.  My definition of that is giving one thing up to get another.  Does it always have to be that way?  No, not always.  Although, I can give some examples of what I’m referring to when I say “price to pay”.  The person that wants to quit smoking and can’t.  The person that wants to loose weight and can’t.  The person that wants to save money and can’t.  These three examples are one that each of these individuals was not willing to pay the price of attaining their goal of not smoking, loosing weight, and having money saved for emergencies.  Are you willing to pay the price to achieve your goals?

In The End

The key to action is attitude.  So what would your answer be to these three questions?  I’d love to hear some of your answers so comment below!  Don’t forget to subscribe and drop by my Facebook page and leave a comment and let me know how you found me!

“If you don’t like the way you feel, change it.  It is your responsibility.”  ~Thomas D. Willhite