Money Advice from an Expert (Not me)

We call him Dave

“Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge. What to do isn’t the problem; doing it is. Most of us know what to do, but we just don’t do it.”

Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

This is such a powerful statement. There are so many of us who feel that our real problem is not having enough money. My husband and I have found, though lots of effort, that knowing what to do and doing it, are, as Ramsey says, essential.

My husband is an avid Dave Ramsey follower; he listens to his podcast, and has read all of his books. When he comes home with new financial AHA’s, I usually ask if “Dave” talked about this on the radio. I like to call him Dave because it seems every other day he is the topic of our dinner conversation. He is almost the third member of my family. Good Ol’ Dave!

It is these powerful short bits of advice that make Dave a great motivator. I love this quote about just doing it because that is how my husband and I live. We are always on the move, always starting new projects, and always striving to improve our finances.

Especially this year as we transition from my teaching salary of $40,000 a year to my para hourly rate of $15.23, we have had to buckle down and look at what really matters. I have been teaching for four years, so paring down the budget was really difficult. We had gotten used to having a bit to play with, and now most of that fun money, “blow” money as Dave calls it, was no longer there.

We aren’t new to saving, but it has been a while. The year before we got married I paid off $10,000 of student loans on a $32,000 salary, before taxes. It was tough and we looked for free festivals and restaurant coupons all of the time, but it paid off! When we got married, the only debt between us was the mortgage on a house my husband owned!

It is my goal this year to chronicle some of the things we do to save money. I want to be more aware of the little things we DO that have helped us to stay on top of our finances.

Now, as I pay for graduate courses on my new hourly rate, it is time to save again. Saving was part of my motivation for canning as many grapes as I did! (See Am I Losing my Marbles…Grapes to learn how many pounds). This also impacted our decision to paint the barn ourselves. (See This is How We do it!). These things were all about DOING.

To save money you have to DO it. It is easy to say we will limit eating out, but then when work is over and you are tired it takes effort to hold to that. We set an exact budget, based on Dave’s suggestions, for how much we should spend in each area groceries, entertainment, eating out, etc. It helps that we sit down and talk about it together, so we can help each other be strong and save money!

We love DOING it! We DIY home projects, I cook most nights, and we talk about the budget all of the time! Thanks to Dave, we are DOING it, and loving life.

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