A few years ago and only because of the generosity of the church I was attending at the time, I was able to attend the Financial Peace University class that the church was hosting. At that time, I couldn’t afford to buy my child socks much less throw down the $50 enrollment fee for the course. That’s one of life’s great ironies, isn’t it? When you need a class like Financial Peace, there’s a good chance that you can’t afford it because you’ve been doing all the things that make Dave Ramsey sad.
I realized very early on in the course that it was going to take me a very long time to accomplish any of these so-called Baby Steps. Given where I was financially at the time, each of those “Baby Steps” was more like trying to step across the Grand Canyon. I think I would have given up and never thought about it again if it weren’t for the support of the people at my church and in my class, the sheer determination I felt to turn things around, and something that Dave Ramsey said in one of the lessons. He said something along the lines of the biggest obstacles for single-parents being not only low income but also time poverty. Time. Poverty. Thank you for naming that nebulous beast I was battling (and still battle), Mr. Ramsey, because that little bit of empathy kept me tuned in and willing to try.
I dug in and did my budget, even though I was consistently in the neighborhood of negative $300 every month. Even so, I faithfully did the envelope system, and really, the Lord supplied the rest through various avenues until I finally came to my senses and got the heck out of Dodge. I moved to Arkansas and lived with my parents for about a year. I got a great job with real benefits and was able to not only pay down most of my debts (my student loan will apparently be with me until the End of Days) but also SAVE SOME MONEY! That was a new and exciting experience, and it turns out that I like having a savings account. Who knew?
Since then, I must admit that I have gotten a little lax about my financial goals. In fact, this morning as I was reading my FPU book, I discovered that I never actually created any financial goals. Before, my financial goal was this: SURVIVE AT ALL COSTS!!! So it is worth noting at this point that poverty mentality sticks around for quite some time, and last night I was going down that spiral at warp speed. When I got home from work and retrieved the mail, I was shocked to open a bill for $334. I hadn’t anticipated that bill at all, and yes, I’ll be checking into the legitimacy of the bill. While I was still reeling from that, I go to feed the dog and discover that he’s out of food. I then attempt to feed the child her favorite meal of PB&J with a side of Doritos only to discover that we are out of bread. It was the perfect poverty mentality storm, and panic and frustration were setting in fast.
It was in this state of mind that I put May Lee in the car and headed to the store, equipped with my travel rewards Visa card (another Dave Ramsey no-no) and a mood ripe for impulse buying. Fortunately, after traveling only one block, I got a phone call from Aunt Bunny who happened to be cleaning out her fridge before her 9 day trip. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in picking up some bags of food that would spoil before they returned and needed to be eaten by someone. Well, of course I’d be glad to take those off her hands, and I did so gratefully! Interesting timing, don’t you think? I see you, Lord, You and Your perfect timing. With that turn of events came a change in perspective and attitude, and I later safely made it out of the store with only dog food and nothing that I would later regret purchasing.
After all of those experience and for the following reasons, it seems to me that financial overhaul is the next order of business on the life overhaul agenda. First, it seems way past time to move past poverty mentality and set some real financial goals. Second, I am going to have to dedicate some time, thought, and effort to my financial goals on a consistent basis. Finally, it is time to get those financial behaviors back in check, which means it’s time to get my hustle on. The part of me that likes to GET AFTER IT and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN was effectively squashed when I first moved here, but all signs point to it being time to fan that flame back into existence. After all, I’m pretty sure these are things that Dave Ramsey would approve of, and it’s high time that I stop giving the man reasons to be depressed.
I’m excited to see what new projects or ventures I end up pursuing, and I’ll be sharing them here as they begin to materialize. I have a few ideas rolling around in my brain, and I have another little project already in the works. I am also wide open to ideas, so if you have any interesting thoughts, ideas, suggestions, comments, or completely unrelated stories that I may bring me a laugh, please share!