Last year I wrote a blog post about my husband and I taking our first ever Financial Peace University class.
It was called “Why I Dislike Dave Ramsey“.
In it I had to admit that Dave was right and I ended up needing to eat a bit of crow.
Dave Ramsey, being a good sport, re-posted it and it went sorta viral, thanks to him. As Sue called it, it was “The Post Heard Round The World“. The DR team were kind enough to send us a Coordinator kit as well as a FPU kit. That was completely generous of them.
For me, it may have turned me into a Dave Ramsey mega-fan. Like, super mega-fan. My family may have even rolled their eyes at me from time to time. Or maybe rolled them a lot.
Almost a year to the day later, my husband and I nervously drove up to our little church to be the Coordinators for a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Class. One would think we would be awesome at this.
But we weren’t even prepared.
One could argue we weren’t prepared for a myriad of reasons (example: it being the middle of a football season for three of our four boys) but it really came down to this little fact…
Head knowledge without action does not amount to anything at all.
Even after the high of Dave promoting my blog post, we hadn’t had a single budget meeting since January. We were just over two thousand dollars in debt on a (groan, I know, I know) credit card. What was on that credit card? The boys back to school gear, and trailer we rented for vacation, a year of home-school curriculum and a new computer for our home-schooler.
I could just see Dave tapping his foot. I could see the raised eye brows over his glasses and hear his voice ask me, “And did we know the boys would be going back to school in September?”
Yes, yes we did, Mr. Ramsey. Yes, yes we know better.
We did know better, but we just weren’t acting on our knowledge. That reality made me feel low…and angry.
My husband, bless him, is one of Dave’s very best students. He has an app on his phone where he can listen to Dave’s Radio Show 24 hours a day. While Dave was not talking to us 24 hours a day, it was close. I sorta began to despise his voice. Who wants to be reminded how much we had messed up?
A dear friend of mine who taught Financial Peace with her husband for years was my biggest cheerleader. They had gone through an extremely difficult time when her self employed husband’s work dried up for a period of time. She patted my back as we walked the track in the morning when I was telling her how worried I was to “teach” this class.
“It’s going to be hell,” she encouraged, “But it will be good for you and make you better.”
That wasn’t really encouraging.
Throughout the weeks my friend gave me encouragement over and over. I know she was on her knees praying for us. Because it wasn’t easy.
At one point, the lowest point, when I had made a mistake in paying bills that I have never in 17 years of marriage made, we had 40 dollars for 10 days. 40 dollars to feed six of us.
I may have thrown a huge hissy fit over that. I may have done the grown up thing of stomping my feet on the floor and glaring at my husband to cry, “It’s not fair!”
That low point spurred us on like never before.
I had somehow missed hearing this the first time we went through FPU, I missed it every time I listened to the show, I was beating myself up over it and then I was watching the FPU video and heard Dave remind us all, “It takes five to seven years…”
I thought I had to have it all done in a year. Well, minus paying off the house. But I visibly relaxed hearing “five to seven years”.
Not giving up, just not drowning in getting the steps done.
We knew we were not going to get there if we didn’t start acting on the lessons we were learning and teaching others to use.
Jake and I had to take a step back, critically look at what we could be doing better and then DO IT. We had to realize we were not the enemy to each other and we got busy working hard together to get control of our finances again.
We have paid off the credit card, Christmas is paid for, there is no debt hanging over us right now at all (other than the house, and we have a plan for that too).
We may mess up again. Something may happen that hits us so hard we don’t know how we’ll get up from under it. I think a lot of you know what I mean…like this week when we dropped our main family vehicle off to have one thing fixed and there were five things that needed to be fixed.
Life happens. But we want to do what we can to be prepared for it.
Dave gives you the tools to do this in Financial Peace University. What you do with that knowledge is your choice. I know what we are choosing…not just because he is Dave Ramsey but because his plan works.
Well, it works if you actually do the work.
I was so relieved to be done with FPU, I am not going to lie. It was such an exhausting – although extremely productive – bank of weeks. Two days after after we had finished with the class, I received this email…
My wife and I just came across your blog, “Why I Dislike Dave Ramsey.” We are big fans of Dave’s so we were curious about what you had to say. Long story short, we were laughing out loud! And, what’s more, our pastor just asked us to help lead the next FPU class at our church.
We made this funny rap video as an “ode to Dave” and we thought you might get a laugh out of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84hwYiB-tmo. We had a laugh on you, now have a laugh on us! And please share it with anyone else who might enjoy it :-)
I am usually a little leery of emails like this, but this video was the absolute perfect end to those weeks teaching FPU.
I shared this video with my friend who has been there encouraging me every step of the way. It brought tears to her eyes.
Not tears because it is cute and funny (which it is), but because she told me this…
God is using this time in your life to change your future. Refining hurts. We didn’t get it over night. We did the class 4 times, plus 2 other financial ones. We still made mistakes.
And then she shared her verse with me that she recited in the tough times…
“I’ve learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am in. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I’ve learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry living in plenty or in want I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:11-13. “
So, Dave was right. It takes work. And when you do the work, his plan works.
January is the month of new beginnings. But you can’t have a new beginning if you don’t START. I encourage you to start taking back your finances. I encourage you to look at Dave Ramsey’s classes…or at least his website to get his budgeting forms…and just START. You may know you need to, but knowing and doing are two different things. DO IT.
My friend also wrote this to me…and I think she says it best.
The hard times will pass. Keep your eyes on the Lord. We often look at our circumstances (our feet) like Peter did with Jesus. He sank in the water when he took his eyes off the Lord. I know its easier said than done. I’m so proud of your for taking on this journey. Only the strong survive. God has written you a financial story all your own. I can’t wait to hear the ending!
If you are looking for someone to take this financial peace journey with, connect with the Dave Ramsey team. And you can talk to me about it, I’ll be brutally honest with you – and, yes, it’s worth it. Jake and Dani have also begun a blog, and they would be a good couple to follow along with since their blog, Penny Pinching Prose, is pretty much budget related.
So, yes, Dave Ramsey was right…again. And still.