5 Steps to Take When the Baby Steps Seem Too Big

This week, I wanted to give up on Dave Ramsey so bad. I was so done and hopeless feeling I wanted to pull out the credit card and just spend it all. I’m a free spirit and spending as little as possible to put as much as possible towards debt and towards our future needs wears on me. I just want to spend with reckless abandon, but that’s exactly what I am learning not to do. I love spontaneity and hate planning, and I am learning to have a plan. I want to run free and go play and do whatever I want, but my poor wild heart has a lot of constraints on it right now, not just from Dave Ramsey, but from being a relatively new mom, from living with my parents, from being low income, from not having my own car, from helping Patrick do work and school, and from recovering from HG. (Wow, writing that is kind of comforting. No wonder I’m having a hard time!) It is a lot to be doing at once. In fact, I read an article on Dave Ramsay’s site that said it was ok to stop if you are in a big life transition, and we are in about 5 big life transitions. I have no plan of stopping, but it was nice to hear that even Dave would understand what we are up against. Anyway, the point is, I was crushed under the weight of it all this week, and I was convinced there was no point in working this hard because it will never get better.
To be fair, I am not completely out from under it yet because this week’s stresses are still there. However, I am working on pulling back out of it, and I thought I would share some things that help me when I feel like I cannot go on.

1. PRAY! I know some people will struggle with this step but Dave Ramsey teaches that financial peace only comes through the “Prince of Peace.” There was time in our journey when it seemed like everything was falling apart, it seemed like everything we had done was for nothing. I listened to Dave on the radio, and he said that line about the Prince of Peace. I realized we had been missing the whole point of FPU. I went back to the prayer that started us on this journey, and I offered my fear to God. Ever since then, when things get bad, I stop(or if Patrick is with me we stop) and we say that prayer. It’s not magic, manna doesn’t fall from the sky every time, but every time we have experienced enough grace to pull out of the anxiety spiral, and eventually, to figure out how to fix the problem. Sometimes, manna really does fall from heaven.

2. Take a Technology Break-My brain gets so buzzy from being on social media and reading all of the reasons why it’s not ok that I’m having a hard time, and all the reasons that it all is, what my life should look like, how many people have died, how much else I should be doing, who I should actually be instead of me, and whatever people think is wrong with me. Sometimes, it is time to just step away for a little bit, and get a chance to move around, breathe fresh air, whatever else you need to do to be ok.

2. Give Credit Where it’s Due. Quiet your mind for long enough to think about the good you have already done. Maybe even have some sort of ritual to be account for it. I redesign our tracking sheets periodically because actually writing out where we have been vs. where we are now is pretty amazing. Once, I thought we had done nothing at all, and we were making no progress, but then I was able to see that we had in fact paid down $3000 of our debt, on top of saving our emergency fund!

3. What is The Lesson. One thing Dave Ramsey is teaching me is how to give myself grace while still taking responsibility for my actions. This week, the lesson was, we have to get better about planning for the future. I started to downward spiral into despair and beating myself up about not doing it, but don’t do that. You are still learning, and you are going to mess up. This is not an easy lesson to learn, but it’s worth it. Don’t Quit.

4. Rest Most of the time when I am feeling this way, it is because we have been overly stressed about other things and it has dominoed into our financial life. Spend some time in quiet, or quality time with the family, or whatever is free and recharges you. It makes a huge difference.

5. Do Something About It Once you have rested(and NOT before), take some time to do something about whatever it is you are worried about. If you need some extra money, figure out how you are going to make it, or where you can look at the budget again to retool it, sometimes I go back and the problem I thought was there actually isn’t at all. If things are not going fast enough, do something that will make you money in the future, work on your big money dreams if you have them-for me it’s my blog writing and my screenwriting. When I am in these downward spirals, I stop working on this stuff, which is ridiculous because these are my dream for changing everything. Once I go back to them though, I remember that we are planting seeds for the future even if it seems like they are too small to mean anything.

Once I have followed each of these steps, it is amazing to see how much everything can improve. The heart of Dave Ramsey’s teaching is to become a person who lives by faith and not by fear, and doing each of these things transforms my heart everytime. I am so grateful for the little steps we are taking even though I am not patient and they seem like nothing. I pray one day we will look back in awe at what a difference we made when we gave our little seeds to God’s hands.

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.

Praying for your Husband

I am constantly hearing women ask, “How do I get my husband to do Dave Ramsey too? I’m on bored, but he is not.” I have so been there. I was so frustrated with my husband for years that I couldn’t convince him, and he wouldn’t hear me. We tried to do it once, but he just got frustrated with how preachy Dave Ramsey can be and wouldn’t finish it with me. I was patient with him about it, but it was really hard for me.

Then this year, I was incredibly stressed and despairing about money. Every time I talked to Patrick, I felt like he wasn’t hearing me. He would tell me everything was fine, or he would just get frustrated with me, and I would just get more frustrated with him. Out of nowhere, I found this prayer that I still pray today:

http://thywordisalamptomyfeet.blogspot.com/2013/06/prayer-for-my-husbands-work-finances.html?m=1

It is a prayer for my husbands work and finances, and immediately I started to see a difference in him. Just a few days later we got into the worst money fight we had ever had. We live with my parents, so there was that cherry on top too. At the end of it, I was just exhausted and I said, “Look, if we don’t do Dave Ramsey, I don’t think we are going to make it.” Miraculously, he said ok.

It hasn’t been sweet sailing the whole way, baby steps 1 and 2 are not easy at all, and staying on the path when you are low income is exhausting sometimes, but we are making progress, and our relationship is getting better, and we are becoming better people through the struggle we are facing, instead of letting our lives fall apart while we do nothing about it.

I still say this prayer as often as I can, I try to remember to say it every day when I can, because it really lifts both of us up and we can feel the grace from it, especially with financial worries. I am so thankful for this prayer, and for all the answers we have received through it.

Cash doesn’t make up for loss

A friend of mine died this week. I posted a status, my farewell to him, and the only comment on it is a friend of mine who reminds me that I should remind people about the fundraiser going around for him. That really hurt, and today she asked me to spread the word about the fundraiser. Now, if she had done that INSTEAD of jacking my Facebook, maybe it wouldn’t have bothered me. But it just feels like she is taking over my grief and not allowing me to feel it. I want to support them, yes, but there’s more going on here than money. There is hurt, injury, so much pain, and yes his wife needs money, but you know what else she needs? Love! Tenderness! Beautiful stories about his life. I never deleted her comment because I want to support the family, but its just so hard for me.

Red Letter Day

Well today was another red letter day. One of those where the terror slowly grows in your heart until you explode in tears and everyone starts telling you, “Hey it’s just life. This is how it goes. Because THAT is somewhat comforting. ….except it’s NOT. Hey it’s life. Well then life sucks. And the answer to that? Yeah it does. 

WHAT?!

How can someone look at life, say it sucks, and then be like, OK, let’s just live it. Again…what? My reaction is like, NO. That is not ok. There has to be a way to fix that. Except there isn’t. So we end up knowing life sucks and grinning and bearing it.

I don’t like it. 

 

Student Loans…

Mini-Rant: Student loans make me super angry, they are ruining my life and the lives of everyone I care about. Yes, they gave the amazing opportunities to get a great education, and I realize that the blessings I received at Ave are beyond priceless, but does that mean that we literally have to pay for it forever? We will never know what it feels like to not have the need for money breathing down our necks, whether we are responsible with our money or not.

Researching tonight I have learned that Student Loans are BAD and you shouldn’t get them(ooooo surprise), that if you have them you should pay on them(REALLY?), OH and guess what? BARELY ANYONE HAS THE MONEY TO PAY ON THEM.(And by that I mean not anything really substantial, I don’t count maybe being able to pay a little of the interest) except for this one lawyer I found. He makes over $50,000 a year straight out of college, and you know what? He wanted to pay his debt off in three years, he didn’t buy clothes, fixed his car with duct tape, and basically didn’t spend money on anything for all three years. And he managed to pay them off. To be perfectly honest, I  do not want to stop living for 5-7….possibly even ten years to pay my student loans off. I don’t think I should have to never, EVER eat out, never buy a shirt I like, never go to the movies, never get a new car, never have my own house, never go to f-ing Europe where I have always wanted to go, SO BADLY, never see my friends who live in other states, never even go to their weddings, because there is this damn monster looming over my head threatening me all the time. You have to pay me, you have to pay me. 

There are also bullshit government programs that will supposedly help you pay off your debt. IF you work for the government and have already been paying for 120 payments, at least. That’s ten years. I am sorry, but the amount of worry and stress I am in, I really hope and pray it doesn’t last for ten years. Talk about ulcers. 

I’m not the kind of person to ask for handouts, and as mopey and whiney as I sound, I want to pay my loans back, but I make 14,000, owe almost $70,000, and that 70,000 is just growing.(I just found a house in Houston that costs that much money, I could buy a f***ing house with how much money I am out) But if you look at the cost of living, living outside my parents house probably costs me….hmmm 13,200, which means basically that after taxes, I have nothing left. And that 1100 by the way, is cutting everything really small. That’s living with two roommates, and having about $100 a month for things like clothes, contacts, emergencies, etc. Sure I could cut that back and maybe have $50 a month, or I could get a second job, which is what I am about to do, and then hopefully I’ll be able to pay back, oh who knows, like $300 a month. That’s interest at least, on the $20,000 loan I have from grad school. Fan-f***-ing-tastic. And research tells me :Start paying now” well f*** you guys.

You know, I’m not an angry person, but this issue is just too big and for all those who ask (of my anger) What would Jesus do? I’m going to take initiative from one of my favorite memes and say He would start flippin’ some damn tables.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑