Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reading The Total Money Makeover

My husband and I already knew our way of looking at things was broken.  We knew something had to give. We had been at this point many times when we tried to have an honest discussion about our debt in the past. In trying to decide what we needed to change my husband brought of the popular method of "cash and carry" that is recommended by Dave Ramsey. Although we didn't attach his name or anything else to it. Knowing that some of our friends have used this method to get out of debt and stay out of debt it had come up in our discussions many times- but honestly my husband didn't see it working for him so therefore it was off the table of options. Not to mentions my previous issues with cash (I worked as a teller through out college, cash is something I give away to other people, not use myself) therefore I wasn't going to push it. That being said, it came up this time and it was my husband talking about it. I suggested if we were going to be serious we read the book first that started most of my friends on that journey- just to make sure we really understood it and did it right. The book is "The Total Money Makeover". My husband downloaded it, read it, was totally on board. Then it was my turn to read it....
Thought One-
How could I have been so misled? How did I allow myself to be so misled? Didn't I know better? Didn't I question it at any time? How I could I miss lead others? I had been so worried about my credit score (my how-much-I-love-debt score). It went way out of my way to go into debt to built my credit, buying a car when I had the money in savings and making payments on it every month- how dumb and mislead was I? I talked people into taking more debt because it would only change their monthly payments for a few dollars. Reading him lay out all the lies I had told myself and others made me physically sick. I had made one mistake after mistake after mistake all because I had bought into all the lies. Up unto that point I had been proud of myself that my great 'how-much-I-love-debt-score' had made it possible for us to buy a house. That brings me to thought two.
Thought Two-
Besides the issues I have with our house- the roof needs an overhaul by honest roofers, I can't stand that people can see my dirty kitchen from the front door, and the awkwardness of the kitchen in general- we really love our house. We love the location. We love the size of it for our current family and as we've have grown or continue to grow. We looked at what we could afford and decided the top of our price range was worth having an actual possible forever home for our family. Then in reading, for the actual serious first time ever I started to question if this home had been our worst choice ever. Had all the lies we'd been told blind us to what we should have been looking for. It made me sick, more then with buying into the lies, because a home isn't the easiest thing to change. I started fretting over it. I started doing possible math scenarios in my head and on paper. "What if we rented our house for two years?" "What is our home worth now?" "In this market could we even sell our home?" "How could we give up this location?" I should have been focusing on the book and the overall message, not fretting about my house. In the end we did the recommended math for a home, yes it was a little on the higher end of the recommended range for our pay grade (and when we bought the house we were making a little more than we are now), and that was such a relief to know. That according to Mr Ramsey's guidelines on home purchasing we hadn't purchased out of our income.
my once a year haircut
Thought Three-
As I read about all the sacrifices that people had to start giving up it made me sick. Not because I didn't want to give up those things, but because I already had. You can't cut things out of your budget that aren't there. In the past, as we've tried to scale ourselves back we have looked at things that are not needs, and even things that are needs we've looked at and said is it as need as often as we use it? We gave up cable years ago. My husband was already going twice as long for each hair cut as he would like, and we had stripped my 4 times a year to once a year for my hair cuts (I cut it really short, then grow it out for the year and then cut it off again the next year.) And we both go to very reasonable in cost places. Additionally, I don't get manicures or pedicures (not that I wouldn't like to but they are not needs). We had started just doing "desserts" or "half price appetizers" for date nights to cut the cost of going out to dinner and we almost never go out to movies (about once a year). We both play World of Warcraft, but the game has started doing an in game token that you can buy game time with your in game gold. We have both started buying our game time this way, so we aren't paying $30 a month for our game play anymore. It made me feel so downtrodden. We had stripped ourselves of all these things, and we were still unable to make a dent. Besides our Netflix and our Costco membership the only thing left was our vacations. It was all our over spending on the little day to day things that were completely discretionary. But what was there left to sacrifice, what was there left to get a "snow-ball" going.
Disneyland is one of my favorite and repeated vacations
Thought Four-
I value my vacations. I live life just to go on vacations, when I realized that the only thing I had left to sacrifice was my vacations I actually cried. I had hit my rock bottom. I was completely defeated. There was not getting up from that last blow. To really get a feel for how down and defeated I was, I don't really cry. With the exception of when I am pregnant- which I can say with 100% knowledge that I know I was/am not pregnant. I felt as though someone came in and started beating me up, I couldn't do anything to respond, and they kept beating me up until they left me for dead to cry on the ground. It hurt so much to think we were going to have a sacrifice our vacations. Now in the past we have taken some vacations that would have been seen as extravagant. They may have appeared unwise, and many of the choices we made may not have been the most wise choices at the time. But we paid for most of them the way we should have, by saving for them. Granted to be honest we should have been doing the snow ball method sooner, and applying that money to our debt not putting it in a savings account for vacations. But I had the right idea, real problem was though that we continued to spend on other things that went to the debt. So going back to giving up our upcoming vacations- this summer we had a cheap vacation lined up. It wasn't a cruise or Disneyland (my two favorite vacations) it was going camping in Colorado with my extended family. But even that was going to cost money- there is no such thing as a completely free vacation. Not to mention, we needed to be sacrificing something what else was left if not this. Then I went to a really dark place a despair- how long would it honestly be before we could take any vacation at all? It wasn't giving up just this summer's trip, but it would be giving up a few summers to come. Now when my husband married me, I made sure he understood that vacations were my life. That I need vacations to look forward to, to keep me going from day to day. I can be prone to depression, and I can do little things to help me get through a day or two, but the only thing that has ever actually pulled me out of a depression funk is looking forward to a vacation. Planing it, learning about the place's history, the options we'd have. If I have a vacation to direct my mind to I can overcome that funk in no time. But the thought of no vacations with no vacations at the end of the tunnel was devastating to me. It sucked all happiness and sunshine from my life for days. All my creativity- I graphic design digital scrapbooking kits, I couldn't work/create for days. It was seriously as though my world had ended. Now this book isn't the step by step how to that I get the impression some other things of Mr. Ramsey are. This book is a~ slap to the side of the head wake up call that you are going about this all wrong-You already know how, is the reminder, now do it right~ book. So the only glimmer of hope I had was asking myself "at what point can you say, we've been good, we are doing good, we need to reward ourselves with a vacation"? I am still not sure at what point until we are just on the saving steps with lots and lots of savings can you justify large spending like that. Maybe if I listened to his show, podcast, attended a conference, or read another one of his books I could better answer this but I don't have the answer now. I got stuck on this thought. I forced myself through the rest of the book. I was still on board- heck we didn't know where else to go to change our future. But it looks like the most depressing future that I could imagine until we were totally and completely out of debt. I am still depressed about it, even with a month into it. Ask me again in 6 months when I hopefully see that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now my husband did come up with dim light at the end of a far away tunnel. He did some math to see where having a 6 month emergency after all the debt is gone and then saving for a LARGE trip would land us. About 5 years away. He said I could dream up the most amazing vacation I wanted and we'd made that our goal. I said I want to backpack around mainland Europe with our kids, stay in family hostiles and then take a cruise. My husband says that if that is what I want we can shoot for that, my parents think I am crazy and should plan to leave the kids home. We'll see. In the meantime it is super depressing that it is 5 years away, but at least it is something to dream about.
Lastly Thought Five-
When is this book going to end? I am already on board. I agree, this is what I need to do. Hearing everyone's stories aren't inspiring me anymore I'm just depressed, I need this book to be over- but no. It keeps going and going and going and it is taking so long that I am stating to wish my head would explode and then my husband could collect the life insurance and be out of debt (but would he learn the lessons we need to learn if it happened that easy), then again the pain of my head exploding would be better then this depression and trying to finish this book. All the stories talk about how "fired" up they were when finishing the book, but I am so depressed. What is wrong with me? Am I the only one who feels/felt that way? I just needed it to end so I could start moving on with life.
I love to take Cruises to places I've never been (was almost 20 weeks pregnant here)

If you're still hanging in here- Thank-you. I needed an outlet to let out these thoughts. I also wanted to show that I am not in love with Dave Ramsey's stuff. I quote it, I am using it, and linking it. But it is not because it is totally awesome I love everything about it- it is because he speaks hard truths and when things are hard like that and true you know you are in the wrong- "the guilty taketh the truth to be hard"- 1 Nephi 16:2. 

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