October 7th, 2014
Listen. I need to go ahead and apologize to anyone I talk to in the next two years or so, because pretty much the only words that are going to come out of my mouth between now and then are things like, "Dave Ramsey says; Financial Peace University; Cash, cash, cash - I'm paying for everything with cash; I can't buy that because Dave says no," etc, etc, etc.
Please, please don't smack me when this happens. Because I'll smack back.
Some of you may be wondering why I'm so hung up on this Dave guy and why these words are so frequently spilling out of my mouth. It's because that this Dave fella, that teaches these Financial Peace University classes, isn't just giving tips on clipping coupons or how to save a buck or two at the grocery store - he's teaching people how to change their lives.
Some of you may read these words, look at me and think, "get it together, Katie - this budgeting/saving/debt dumping stuff is common sense!" But what I have already learned, and what I am continuing to learn, is that this stuff isn't about common sense or being good at math (though these things help) - it's about changing your behavior. It's 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. EIGHTY-PERCENT BEHAVIOR. We all know what we're supposed to do with finances but we do what think we should do or what think we deserve. And that's how we end up with $25,000 in debt (not including student loan debt...but is including a car payment). Yep. I just went there with you. Ouch, right? Freaking ouch.
So please excuse my rantings and ravings and excitement and passion. I'm not trying to be a pain in your side or the reason you roll your eyes. I'm just trying to change my life.
I'm sitting down with someone every week, staring my budget and my money-spending habits in the face, constantly being reminded what ridiculous choices I've made. I'm working with an incredible accountability partner to completely reallocate my funds so that I can get out of debt as quickly as possible. What does this mean exactly? Well in this moment it means things like cutting off Netflix, kissing my Starbucks addiction good-bye (well minus the fact that I got $85 worth of Starbucks gift cards for my b-day, score!) and cutting up my Loft card (waaaaaaaaah). It means that every single dollar I earn has to be accounted for and cannot go to anything frivolous at this time. Now, no worries... I am allotted some spending money. This money has primarily been a product of selling things on Facebook yard sales (anyone need to read about the Ed Hardy shower gel again?); however, at this point I'm not even interested in spending that money. Or any money. Because when you witness a 68 year old woman cry in FPU class as she cuts up one of her credit cards because she realizes what a big debt hole she's in, spending money is the last thing on the planet you want to do. Instead you want to look inside yourself, face the mess you've made and fix it. Oh and cry with her.
I'm learning so many different things - the most strategic way to pay off debt, quick (safe and non-sketchy) ways to make some cash, that I won't die if I don't get my Zaxby's fix, the power of paying for things with cash (side note: did you know that paying for things with cash triggers pain sensors in your brain and paying for things with plastic triggers nothing - sit on that for a minute), etc. But most of all I am learning a ton about myself. A lifestyle change comes with an excruciating amount self-awareness, including the good, the bad and the ugly. It's exhausting. It's exciting.
So again, please forgive me in advance for being pretty tunnel-visioned. Just remember that I'm not just getting paper cuts from clipping coupons, but I'm also getting bruises from shoving around my money and putting it where it belongs. (Hint: sadly enough for my wardrobe it does not belong with Ann Taylor Loft...) I'm committed, folks.
I'm still working on my $1,000 emergency fund which I hope to have fully funded very soon. Then, my friends, we will attack that $25,000 of debt with "gazelle intensity." I can't wait to watch it disappear.