I Crashed My Car and I Didn’t Cry

I Crashed My Car and Didn't Cry | BudgetingBefore I tell you what happened on Monday, let me just tell you a bit about myself and how I have dealt with money and financial crises over the past 30 years.

I have always had very unhealthy emotional issues when money was involved. I know the issue runs deeper than this, but usually it starts with “I never had any.”

I have been known to cry my eyes out while talking with credit card companies, my bank, car dealerships, and utilities companies when my bill was $10 higher than I expected it to be or there was an extra charge I wasn’t counting on for the month.

I always ran my budget pretty much to the penny so these unexpected expenses threw off my entire plan, and often resulted in me having to spend time and energy frantically transferring money from one account to another before I overdrafted my account.

And this has been going on since I was a teenager…and this is not an exaggeration. In fact, I may be downplaying it a bit from embarrassment as I am not 100% ready yet to share what a financial mess I have been for pretty much my entire life.

So for the past 20 years, anytime I get sick, injured, lose anything, or break something…like my car, I would cry. Not because it hurt or I was sad, but because I was scared. Scared because I didn’t have the money to fix or replace it, scared that I would have to get another job and work more hours to make up for all the money this was going to cost me. Scared that I would be struggling and stressed out about money my entire life and that this financial roller coaster I was on would never ever ever end.

10 years ago I started working on my issues with money by reading books, attending seminars, and tapping. I didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

6 years ago I attended Dave Ramsey’s FPU and learned a little more. I kept reading, tapping, and working on other issues in my life to make me a better me. I still didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

2 years ago my husband and I started getting serious with our financial plan. I was still reading and learning and listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast every single day. I still didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

1 year ago we decided to make a push and get out of debt. We did it! We paid off over $30k in 15 months and in October 2015 we were debt free other than our house. I didn’t feel any different. I still felt stressed and overwhelmed with money and still got frustrated and scared (and still cried) when faced with a financial crisis. Ugh! Seriously? When will it end? But I kept listening to the podcasts and working on our plan to build our emergency fund.

Initially it took us about 6 years to have a solid $1,000 emergency fund (Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Step One”), so to build up $15k per the Dave Ramsey plan seemed so daunting. But we stuck with it, baby steps, and every chance I could make a little money here and there, I would. And every chance I could save a little money here and there, I would. I thought it would take at least 15 months to build it up, but with no debt, it’s building faster than I had hoped and I am sure we will have it done by the end of the year!

So what does this have to do with crashing my car Monday?

Well Monday I slipped on ice and drove my car into a ditch. On Tuesday the shop said it would be about $5k to get fixed. At the time I didn’t even think about insurance, I just thought CRAP! Where the hell am I going to get $5k? And I wanted to cry.

Like I seriously sat there expecting to get that sick feeling and for tears to start rolling down my cheeks. But I didn’t. I took a deep breath and thought “I’ll talk to Rick tonight to see if we should spend the $5k to fix it or use it to buy a beater car while saving for a nicer one.” I mean I wasn’t happy, because either way we would be cleaning out our emergency fund, but we had it in our emergency fund!!!

Plus…we bought a $2,500 total beater truck from a friend a few months ago, so I could drive that until we decided what to do, and could save even more money for a new car over the next couple months driving that thing. OMG! I am so grateful! My life rocks right now!

On Wednesday I had to go by the repair shop to grab my swim stuff and Pure Romance stuff out of my car, so I set off in our truck with the windows that roll down with a handle and the doors that lock with my finger. On the way there I passed the place my car slid off the road 2 days before and a thought occurred to me…insurance! What? I can’t believe of didn’t even think about that!!!

So I called my insurance agent, talked to the claims dept, and am now just waiting for the adjuster to call me with the plan. And since my deductible is $1,000, that is all I have to come up with for this entire accident!! And I actually have that in my emergency fund!!! And I’ll have some left over to continue building up to my fully funded e-fund. And who knows, I may even still get it fully funded by the end of the year like I had originally planned…even with this minor inconvenience!!!

And no tears! Yay!!

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3…2…1…WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!

3...2...1... We are debt FREEEE!I have been listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast almost every single day for the past 2 years. It used to be only 40 minutes (schneriously???) but then last year they upped it to three 40 minutes segments a day…EUREKA!!

At least once every “hour” of his 3 hour a day radio show, Dave has people either call in or show up live in Tennessee to do their “debt free scream”. This is where singles, couples, or families have paid off all their debt (some even pay off their mortgage, but that’s not a requirement to complete ‘baby step 2’…paying off all debts but your mortgage… to do your scream) and get interviewed by Dave who asks questions about why, how, etc.

The two minute interview culminates in the person (or people) who are now debt-free counting it down (3…2…1…) and then yelling at the top of their lungs “WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!” and the crowd goes wild! It’s AWESOME!!!

Ever since I attended Dave Ramsey’s FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY over 6 years ago I have been “working” toward being debt-free with little success (HELP! Baby Step 1…AGAIN…UGH!!!).

I decided to get serious (well…more serious) about a year ago when I declared to the world (or at least my friends… (My next big thang!) that I was really going to finally kick this one in the ass! AND I DID!!! As of September 23, 2015, we have paid off all our debt other than our house! YAHOOOOOOO!!!

We are heading to Nashville, TN after my 7 marathons next month to do our own debt-free scream out in front of Dave Ramsey’s building where he does his radio show. We can only be there on a Saturday so he won’t be there, but I’ll video it so it will still be official!

When he interviews people who got out of debt, he asks them questions in order to help others who want to get out of debt get inspired, motivated, or just get some ideas on where to start. I wanted to answer some of the questions he asks so that YOU may get excited about getting out of debt too! I hope this article will help each and every one of you believe that you too can be debt free!

Q: How much debt did you pay off?

A: $30,957 since we started getting serious and keeping track

Q: How long did it take you?

A: 15 months

Q: What was your household income during that time?

A: Varied a LOT because we were traveling all over the place and just working here and there. I would say we ranged between $2,000 a month and $6,000 a month

Q: What happened 15 months ago that make you think you should and could get out of debt?

A: We had been “trying” to get out of debt for about 6 years with no traction. We went to FPU and that started us thinking we should, but we were still spending more than we were making every month. About a year ago we just got sick and tired of being stressed about money ALL THE TIME and we decided to buckle down and JUST DO IT! We wanted the freedom to be able to travel more and we needed to be out of debt to even consider it.

Q: Did you sell anything?

A: Yes. I am always selling things. Books, DVDs, etc. The big thing we sold at the end was our RV we had been traveling in the past 2 ½ years.

Q: What was the hardest part about getting out of debt?

A: Sticking to a budget. Both of us have that “entitlement” mentality of “I deserve this” so we had to break some bad habits of buying whatever we “needed” which was usually insanely expensive trips to Whole Foods for me.

Q: What was the hardest thing to give up?

A: For me it was racing triathlon. It’s my favorite hobby (well, only hobby) and I gave it up for one year.

Q: What were other things you gave up?

A: We also gave up cable (don’t miss it), we only ate out a couple times a week (used to be triple that), I buy more food at Wal-mart (and less at Whole Foods), and I could only do a running race if I got a free entry (I used to race every weekend).

Q: Did your friends think you were weird?

A: They do anyway! So no more than usual!

Q: What advice would you give others who want to get out of debt?

A: Work together WITH your spouse/family to have a plan and stick with it. The biggest thing that kept me going was listening to every podcast every single day for the past 15 months. And don’t forget to tell everyone around you your plan. That way they aren’t shocked when you don’t show up with gifts at Christmas and birthday parties or they aren’t surprised when you decline their offer of dinner at an expensive restaurant or joining the family vacation.

After the questions, Dave would say, “Kirsten and Rick paid of $30,957 in 15 months making between
$2,000 and $6,000 a month. Let’s hear a big debt-free scream…”

And Rick and I would reply excitedly, “3…2…1…WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

So what is next? I’m sticking with Dave which means BABY STEP THREE which is to save between 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. My goal is $18K by this time next year! I’ll keep you posted!

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Can You Go an Entire Day Without Spending Money?

Can You Go An Entire Day Without Spending MoneyGoing an entire day without spending money sounds easy enough right? Maybe when you were 12! These days unless you are a super planner, it’s a challenge IMO to go an entire day without spending any money. This month I made it ONE day, next month my goal is TWO!

For those of you who know me, I LOVE a challenge. In fact, many times the only way I can accomplish anything at all is when I turn it in to a challenge.

If you are single, it’s not too hard, when you have a partner, it gets a little more daunting, when you have kids, it’s nearly impossible to plan what those little nuggets are going to need in advance.

Several times I have picked the day in advance, only to have something unexpected come up. And I guess if you are super flexible in your routine and your life, you can delay those “emergencies” for a day or two. However, as adults, we are pretty set in our ways. If I get to the pool for my swim and my punch card ran out, I am NOT going to shrug my shoulders and say “oh well, guess I’ll swim tomorrow” and head back home…which is precisely what happened today on my planned “No-Spending Day”.

Here are some of the things to take into consideration when you are picking your No-Spending Day…

  • Do you have gas in your car? Fill up the day BEFORE.
  • Do you have all the food in the house you need to prep your meals you planned for your No-Spending Day?
  • Are your kids all caught up on fees, etc. for their sports, activities, hobbies, fund raisers, camps, and school? It would be a shame if you went ALL day spending no money and then that night you pick up your son from Baseball and you forgot you owe $20 for the coach gift.
  • Are you all paid up on bills, utilities, credit cards, debts, bank fees, etc?
  • Check your schedule for that day to make sure you aren’t running any errands that cost money like Post Office, ATM, parking, tipping, laundry mat, Dr. appt, etc.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your prescriptions.
  • Check your calendar and make sure you don’t have to buy anything that day like plane tickets concert or show tickets, etc.
  • Make sure there is nothing you need repaired IMMEDIATELY…that you know about…of course emergencies do come up!!

OK! Now you are ready to pick your day (and a back-up day or two) and DO IT!! Don’t wait too long. It’s better to pick something within a week and just GET CREATIVE if you have to? When was the last time you BORROWED something you needed from a neighbor or friend instead of bought it? It’s fun…try it!

I would LOVE to hear about your No-Spending Day experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Especially advice you have for others. Can you do more than one a month? A week? Two in a row? Now we’re getting a bit crazy but I love it. I love delaying gratification. I think it is a sign of greatness and a characteristic of a successful life.

I am working toward being DEBT-FREE by June 2015 and this is just one challenge to help get me there.

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