The New FPU

Did you know there is a new format to Financial Peace University?

I don’t know when it happened but I know it did and I L.O.V.E. it!

A little background on why this is such a big deal. I was not a fan at all of the original talks, they felt preachy and the props were cheesy to me. I knew FPU worked so I wanted to do it anyway, but my husband wouldn’t push through it. He refused to take it with me for years. I didn’t blame him because I didn’t want to do it either. When we finally did it, we spent a little while after each class sorting through what we thought was not quite the best way of saying it, and narrowing it down to the point of what he said.

The new format solves every single problem we had and some I didn’t even realize were problems.

1. He starts out with testimonies of real people and how much despair they were in before they started. It gives you a chance to connect with someone, because even if you don’t connect with him, one of the couples will remind you of yourselves in some way.

2. No more table analogy!!! This is huge for me and my hubby. I know analogies work well for some people but as a pretentious artist, I cannot stand them. I think they are cheesy and on the nose, and I feel like a kindergartener when I am subjected to them. This makes me so excited. ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

3. This is probably due to his years of experience but Dave connects with the audience much quicker and more authentically than the old videos. Theres a moment that is so powerful when he talks about the fear that he felt before he figured out the baby steps, and how he can hear that fear when his listeners call him. There is a little bit of an edge to his mockery of Dave-ish people and people who don’t listen to him, but his rants are part of what other people like so i guess it’s ok.

4. They included Rachel Cruze and Chris Hogan in different settings. This is an awesome choice because it adds visual interest, so you are not just watching one person on a stage give a speech the whole time. Plus, if you don’t relate to Dave, you may relate to Rachel and if not her then Chris, and if not them, then one of the testimonial couples. It’s brilliant and it solves a huge problem my husband and I had which is that we struggled with the way Dave sometimes puts things.

5. Rachel Cruze’s practical examples and talk about how a budget gives you freedom was incredibly encouraging and exciting! I am jumping and down inside about how much I love love loved her segment. In fact, since I stopped watching I can’t stop thinking about the $18 lemonade she bought that made her realizing how freeing budgeting is. I hate budgeting as much as she does, but I do love the freedom.

6. Chris Hogan. Oh. My. Word. What an amazing encourager. Starting the baby steps is hard and it can be discouraging. He takes a second at the end of the video to talk about how you might be feeling scared and discouraged but you can do this! I am a person who needs this, and I am so grateful.

At first, when I started noticing Dave adding people on, I rolled my eyes a little bit at the empire of FPU, but really, the more I see it, the more I see Dave’s humility and selflessness in sharing the spotlight. I think as he gets older, he wants to leave his legacy to the right people so that what he has created can continue to help people for years and years after he is gone, not that I expect him to die anytime soon or anything, but he is preparing us for that, or for his retirement, or for whatever else that might come up. He wants us to realize that the message is not about him, but about what he learned. It also shows his willingness to believe that maybe people need other personalities to relate to. It’s almost as if he knows that some people just don’t connect with him very well, and he cares about them too.

I am so thankful for Dave and for what he has done in my life and what he has taught me. It is not easy by any means, but I am growing so much as a person in every way, and I am witnessing my husband learn and grow too. It is scary to change as much as FPU challenges you too, but it is rewarding and there is so much positive on the way, even before you have reached step 7.

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The Problem with Gazelle Intensity

I should begin this with letting you know we are a low income family with a lot of big graces from God and our family right now. We are rich in so many ways, but when it comes to money, we are in a hard season.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling guilty over every single purchase I made. We set aside a small amount of fun money, and I spent it and my leftover Christmas money on gifts for my daughters birthday. I did go a little over budget, but I corrected it immediately when I got home. After that for a while, every time I spent money I felt arrested in a terrified state of “what if I spend it on the wrong thing, what if I spend too much, what if I buy the wrong thing?” And the worst question I asked myself, and I asked it the most, “Am I being gazelle intense enough?”

It was a constant refrain in my head. When I was cooking dinner, when I burnt dinner, when I cuddled with the kids instead of going out to earn extra money, when I watched a tv show, when I had to buy gas, when I made menus for dinner, when I worked on my writing instead of making money, it repeated over and over in my head, a sea of despair waiting for me around every corner.

Our lives right now are crazy, I know a lot of people’s are, but my husband is working full time, and in school full time, I stay home with our 2 kids one and two, who have been sick, teething, and not sleeping. I have a side hustle, but both of our cars broke so I couldn’t get to it for a while, and it’s hard to find time for it anyway. There are big sacrifices we are making for me to be able to stay at home with the kids, especially living with my parents, who have been gracious enough to allow us to do so.

Living in a basement has its challenges, we don’t have a standard kitchen set up, our storage is all makeshift and not built in, we don’t have a ton of space, cleaning and organizing and trying to figure out what to cook and trying to keep things from getting dirty so we dont have to clean take up a ton of time. Those things take money too. I couldn’t stop feeling guilty for the extra money spent on making sure we didn’t make a mess when we cooked, or staying home to clean instead of finding a way to make money, or forgetting to do VIPkid because I was caring for sick littles.

This last paycheck was tight, and then it was full of unexpected expenses. We got a really good look at being as Dave intense as possible, and it did not go well. I ended up in the hospital thinking I was having a stroke because I had the worst panic attack I had ever had. My husband and I started fighting constantly. We started resenting each other, the kids, and everyone else around us. We were miserable.

The thing is, that the baby steps are, for some people, a marathon, not a sprint. A tired, weak, broken gazelle cannot run at full speed ahead, they can only limp forward as fast as they possibly can. Yes, I know we need a bigger shovel(for Non Dave Ramsey people that means we need a higher income) and we are working on it, but we are not willing to sacrifice these early years with our babies to work every minute and lose this part of their lives when we are meant to be loving on them. We lost babies before, and I will not lose this time holding them, and snuggling them, because I know what it feels like to never get to hold your baby, and I never thought I would get to hold the ones I have.

But back to the point of the post, the problem with gazelle intensity, is that it looks different for everyone, and it can sometimes be hard to see your progress if all you can see is how slow you are running.

Last night, my husband sat down with me, and told me that our credit card is down $1000. All I knew before that, is that the payment just isn’t going down like it used to. We talked about the fact that we are cash flowing things that we never could have before. We talked about how many sacrifices we have made, and we talked about times in our lives when we made bad decisions, but for once, we also talked about the times we made good ones, and really, some of the bad ones we made as carefully as we could, and minimized damage.

Now, I’m not saying that we don’t have room for improvement, or that other people shouldn’t be working as hard as they can, or that YOU don’t need to be more gazelle intense. What I am saying is that it is important not to get so caught up in where you’re going and how fast you are or are not getting there, that you miss what you are becoming and what you are experiencing along the way. Gazelle intensity is important, but it is not everything. Your health and happiness still matter, so do your best, be as gazelle intense as you can, but breathe, and take care of yourself along the way.

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