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Monday, December 19, 2016

Our Dave Ramsey update

*Just like the first post I did about Dave Ramsey, this topic is a super weird one to "discuss" - I mean, personal finances isn't exactly polite to chat about, ya know? But truly, this whole Dave thing has been such a large piece of our lives, it's weird NOT to record it up in here. So I'm just going to get up and over feeling weird about it and will begin writing! After all, if there are humans who read this who have never heard of this dang process, then maybe this will help them out. Ya never know!
Well gosh be-darn, it's been over TWO YEARS since my last update, which came around the ONE YEAR anniversary of our first date with the Rams. PEOPLE. I am sick of Dave. He can go kick rocks. I'm so sick of him, but I love him - ya know? Without him, we'd still be stewing around in a wasteland of dumbness. So all in all, to keep it straight, we've been hanging out with the Rams for THREE WHOLE YEARS NOW - THREE! Not three weeks, not three months, THREE YEARS. (Which I'm kind of proud of, kind of sickened by baha! But for real, I'm proud of us for sticking with him for so long.)

Okay so quick recap:

1. That first post outlined a successful year undoing a large chunk of weirdo decisions made in the past. It was so cool! What a blast that was.

2. Then, since that post, things kept changing - we moved from Lake Forest to Ladera Ranch where our rent changed slightly. Car decisions were made (one of which wasn't the best - damn lease) which changed payment situations. We moved to Corona where our new mortgage was drastically different from renting. Rates dropped, so mortgage payment changed again. Car decisions were made... better than leases though, but of course payments changed (we know the Rams encourages buying cars in cash instead of financing, but hey sista we NEEDED cars right away, payments were our only option). What else, what else - I know there were more. These facts weren't necessarily a bad thing, just a bunch of shifting around. I was proud of us though, even though these changes definitely meant constantly switching up the "Dave Ramsey'ing" of our lives. At least with each of these changes, we had our heads screwed on straight as opposed to the early-20's version of ourselves. So that fact right there meant Dave had continued to earn his spot as the third member to the ol' Cisneros marriage bahaha! But with all of these changes, nothing really changed from that first year of working our butts off to get things under control. In fact, with the cars, it actually got a tad bit more intense. Tons of people told us to not be so hard on ourselves - after all, we were mainly focusing on car debt and student loans, two things that at least weren't the scum of the earth, like credit card payments (little did they know that we were working those too! Bahahaha it's all so horrid!). What they meant by trying to convince us to not be so hard on ourselves was at least cars were a necessity, not some luxury, and at least student loans were a "nobler" type of debt. Nice thoughts, but Dave's influence was too deep to "be cool" with even those payments.

3. Then a few months ago (September, to be exact!), big mama over here wanted to try her hand at bill-paying. We got to a point where I realized that all of the shifting had stopped for the foreseeable future - we both have reliable cars, mortgage payment is constant obviously, those type things - and as mentioned, I had never EVER done this before in my adult life, so I thought it would be prudent of me to give it a shot. Well tally-ho I ain't ever going back to not paying the bills! I looooooooove it. And that's where I shall pick up this post!...
Clearly we are still in the "debt snowball" area, just like gooooood ollllllllll' 2013. That's okay though, honestly. Before I was paying the beels, I felt desperately lame about how we were STILL in that arena. But now that I know what's up and am fully comfortable with how strict I am with the way we choose to spend, I'm actually quite thankful. Between Chad and I, I'm definitely the one who cares more about this whole "endeavor" than he does, so I just do my thing and KNOW that we are getting somewhere, unlike my total blindness to things beforehand.

I can't wait for September of 2017 to see how my "methods" have "performed." As more and more of my friends and acquaintances get to know Dave and his strict freakin' ways, my biggest piece of advice to them is to have the person who a) CARES MORE and b) IS MORE ORGANIZED to be the one "in charge." It will be an awesome day when we graduate to Baby Step #3, but in the meantime I feel calm about the process. This is part of our journey and I'm truly thankful to be doing it with Chad, the most fun guy on the planet, even if that meant that for a good 2 years we kind of just.... sat there. At least during those stagnant years we weren't going deeper into pointless debt (if you don't count the cars), meaning our habits had changed dramatically - truly the most important part of the whole "process." So it was all good in the hood!
So this post compared to the last post, I would say, is a kind of coming of age story in which I graduated from a manic human desperate to rid myself of the disgustingness that was a few weirdo decisions (LET'S TAKE OUT ALL THE STUDENT LOANS! AREN'T THESE GOVERNMENT DOLLARS FUN?!?!?! - naivete is a weird thing), into a butterfly of calmness. A few ways this calmness has been achieved... (if you're someone who's starting off with Dave and want some tips from an ol' Baby Step #2 veteran)...:

1. Utilizing the Rams' envelope concept really helped me realize that we could totally live a great life while STILL paying things off. Before using envelopes to save for things we wanted to do in life, I felt super sad about how we wouldn't go on a cool vacation with the kids for many years because we were down in the depths (Dave would say to shuttle every single dollar toward the payments, not toward something frivolous like vacations, which is great of course, but we have a family here! We want to do cool stuff with them and show them awesome things!). Using his envelope idea we've saved for a super awesome vacation coming up here in a couple of months, have had a completely stress free Christmas shopping experience these last few years, have planned great birthday outings for each of the older kids, and have had a super awesome "date night" life - all sans guilt! These cool envelopes coincided with payment pay offs - they're compartmentalized now. It's great!

2. This one is more mental than anything else, but I just had to STOP with the GUILT. The beating myself up? It needed to stop. Once I stopped stressing over the state of affairs, all went better. Our financial talks became way less tense and everything just flowed better. Yes it's not a great feeling to take a look at your finances and be like "WAY TO GO, YA EFFING IDIOT," but you are certainly not alone. It's tough to ease up on yourself, but dollars and cents are not worthy of my mental capacity to the extent I was letting it all get to me. Feeling fortunate for the dollars and cents available to make it all better? Now that is a great way to think!

Okay this post is getting SUPER long...
All of this "calmness" has not come without a fight or two (or a million tense conversations...) between Chadly and I, but again, it's part of our journey! It truly makes ya stronger, chap. So all in all, envelopes have done us well and we are calmer humans than when we started this whole thing. Peace of mind is what it's all about, and even with disturbing, constant payments, that can be achieved as long as you stick to your guns.

Again, I can't wait until next year's Dave Ramsey update post! I won't go 2 years in between again. It's going to be awesome. AWESOME!

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