Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Okay, this time it's for real.

We've had several, fitful starts and stops getting started with Dave's program. I think the biggest problem was that my wife and I weren't both on the same page at the same time when trying to start the program in the past. This is absolutely vital to the success of the program. Last month we both decided it was time to make this work. We have our third child coming in April and we're not sure what her work situation will be when the new baby arrives. For at least a short time we will need to live off my income alone and long term it is very likely her income will be less than it is now.

We decided to setup a budget based on my income alone and use her paychecks to build up a savings account for when the baby comes. Not exactly the traditional plan according to Dave. I was struggling with this approach because I felt like we should follow the plan if we were going to commit to this. On the way home one night I was listening to Dave's radio show when a listener called in to ask if they should build up a larger emergency fund before beginning to pay down their debt. In her case told her no, but he said if you thought job loss was imminent or were going to be having a baby in a couple months, then yes, it's alright to shuffle the order a little. So that was it, we went forward with our plan.

It was tough putting together our first budget. We used the budget tool on the site. It was a huge help. I won't bore you with the details of our budget process but I did learn a couple interesting things as a result:
  1. We spend an obscene amount of money on childcare. For what we pay for 2 kids, 2 days per week we could buy a second home...
  2. Whatever you think you need for groceries in a month is too little.
  3. This was a biggie for both of us - While the budget did put limitations on what we were able to spend, this structure was actually helpful for two reasons. 1.) It put a limit on how long we had to wait for something, if the money was gone we knew we could get it next month. 2.) It took the guilt out of spending money. As long as we stayed within the guidelines of the budget we didn't have to feel bad about what we were spending because we knew it was properly accounted for.
For the first time in years we have a savings account built up and it's only been one month! I can't wait to see what we can do in the future.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man

I like when Dave gets political. He doesn't do it too often but lately on his radio show he's gone off a couple times regarding the current financial crisis. He makes good points. On his Friday show he read the following piece on personal accountability. It's very poignant and especially applicable today.


I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

By Dean Alfange


*Originally published in This Week Magazine.
Later printed in The Reader’s Digest, October 1952 and January 1954.

The Honorable Dean Alfange was an American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and attended Hamilton College, graduating in the class of 1922.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back on the wagon?

I started listening to Total Money Makeover again today. As you may have noticed, the market and the economy are struggling a bit right now so I thought it was a good time to get back on track with our financial makeover. To that end I've decided to try to spend cash rather than using our debit card. Hopefully that will help as I tend to spend quite a bit of money during the week on lunch, happy hour, coffee, whatever. By limiting myself to $xx.xx/week I'm hoping to help stop some of the hemorrhaging our bank account has been experiencing lately.

Friday, January 25, 2008

GR Dave

Dave was in Grand Rapids last night. Did anybody go? I'd be interested to hear how it was.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dave's Coming to GR

So Dave Ramsey is coming to the city where I live. Should we shell out the cash to go see him? I'm not exactly sure what goes on at these events. If it's just a big rally, wooo hooo let's save money, I'm not interested. However, if he gets up there and actually teaches his techniques, I'd go for that. Anybody out there who's been to one of his shows?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Off Topic

If you're interested in politics and the ongoing presidential race check out the Flex app that my buddy, Joe Johnston and I built. It uses the Digg API to track information on the 2008 candidates.

Digg Candidates Dashboard

Here's a few screen shots:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mint - Online Money Management

Mint is a new Web 2.0 finance management site. These sites are a dime a dozen but I saw this one on lifehacker a while back and they gave it a rave review so I decided to check it out. I have to say I was quite impressed. Setting up my account was very easy and within minutes they were showing me spending trends, total debt etc.... That said I stopped checking it for a while but I noticed their ad on my AdSense account so I logged back in and they've made significant updates in the past few weeks. One that particularly caught my eye was on the Spending Trends screen they not only show you what industry you spend most of your money at (ie. food) but they list the places out by name so I can see that in the last month I've spent almost $40 on coffee...

I'm going to check out their budgeting tool in the next couple of days. This could become the tool I've been needing to help get me on track and keep me there. Stay tuned...