Monday, September 5, 2011

Me & Dave Ramsey

Oh, Dave Ramsey.  Some people love him.  Some people hate him.  Some people love to hate him.  And yes, others hate to love him, but yet they do.  If, by chance, you've never heard of Dave Ramsey, here's what Wikipedia says about him.  I'm happy to tell you how I feel about him, but really, it's complicated.

Long before the likes of DR came into our life, Mr. Butler was a saver and I was more likely to enjoy life (today) with my money, rather than save if I could help it.  As you can imagine, there were many clashes of the titans on money issues.  We compromised a lot for each other at first.  I started planning menus, grocery shopping twice a month only, and I paid all the bills (b/c he stressed too much when he did it).  We bought some fun things and took some trips.  And then he was laid off for six months.

Fast forward a few years to today we rarely argue much about money anymore.  He found another job that he loves and I learned how to appreciate a steady income, making it do a lot for us.  My student loans (that started out more than just a little bit) will be paid off by the end of the year (Lord willing).  We have no car payment and just the mortgage on our house.  This is, essentially, the way Mr. Butler wanted things to be when we first got married.  The difference is that I hated the thought of budgets, wanted to 'buy' more fun and honestly thought all the fuss was silly.  Some days I still do.

But (and here's my point in telling you all of this) as much as I despise the self-control it takes to refrain when the budget says no, the freedom it gives  - well there's just nothing like it.  When you have debt or the "I know I spent too much" feeling hanging over your head, it changes you more than you realize.  With some people you feel shame, embarrassment or other time its just frustration that you can't pursue things important to you.  Needless to say, it's stressful and exhausting.

It's easy to believe that money is just like that and that's the way everyone lives.  And a few years ago, I probably would have agreed with you.  But, it's just not true. People are doing it everywhere and it's a marvelous blessing!  Don't get me wrong, though.  I hate it, still.   I haven't been on a vacation vacation since before my son was born.  I'm consumed weekly by the desire to just run in any direction and not stop till I see another state and a fabulous hotel waiting for me.  But Mr. Butler and I are at peace with our decisions, not to mention on the same page, and have much hope for the future.

So, I agree with a lot of what DR teaches, but I don't do envelopes and some days I just want to spend, spend, spend!!!!  It's complicated, see? :)  Still, debt free living and sticking to a budget is easier to do than I ever thought.  Take it from this free-spirit who has expensive taste, living within your means and honoring your debts is fantastic food for the soul.

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