The Financial Peace Project.

September 29, 2014

Alright my friends.  It's about to get really real in here.  I'm talking all of the realness that many (read: practically all) of us are afraid to talk about.  We're about to feel raw, vulnerable, uncomfortable, weirded out, etc, etc.  

We are about to talk about money.

And by we I, obviously, mean me.  You're about to know me way better than you already think you know me, and I'm really hoping you won't judge me too harshly, but hey, that's your right as a person with opinions.  Just know that if I find out how badly you're judging me you'll never get to see another George the Beagle selfie again.

And wouldn't that be the saddest?

And wouldn't that be the saddest?

So let's begin at the beginning.  I suck with money.  Ever since I started making money I've basically sucked with it.  I probably sucked with money before I was even big enough to know what money was.  I'm sure I took that quarter that I made when I tried to sell lemonade as a child and immediately bought candy instead of putting it in some kind of piggy bank because it was literally burning a hole in my pocket.

Now at 28, I constantly live paycheck-to-paycheck, hoping, wishing and praying for some magic/secret/hidden/forgotten-about deposit to be made into my account before the end of the month so I don't overdraft it.  Again.  Retail therapy is my bestie, but not necessarily in the form of clothing (although I do enjoy the sport of "Ann Taylor Loft Clothes-Rack Rummaging"), but a lot of times in the form of "I can count on one hand the amount of times I've walked out of a bookstore without buying something" or "I absolutely must have this coffee mug to add to the 25 others I own."  Newsflash: no one person needs TWENTY-FIVE COFFEE MUGS.  I've also got great stories about when I was 23, living in Peru, constantly running out of my monthly stipend money.  All of my friends knew I had run out of money because I would so very sweetly ask if any of them wanted to walk to work instead of taking a taxi or bus, you know...for the exercise.  We still laugh about that to this day...however, the not so funny part of it all is that my spending habits really haven't changed much from that time.

Fast forward to a little over a month ago.  The date was August 14th.  I had approximately $15 left of my monthly paycheck in my account (I know...I KNOW.  Credit cards and sporadic payments from teaching fitness classes have been my best friends).  To make this semi-long story short, you need to understand that this was all about being in the right place at the right time.  And if you know anything about me at all then you know I believe that being in the right place at the right time is God's timing.  I was volunteering for a day-long activity that I had just randomly agreed to help with the week before.  It was the very end of the day when a new friend made a comment about how she and her husband had gone through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes (this friend's name is Loni...everyone say "Hey Loni!").  Now being the broke girl that I am, of course I knew of Dave Ramsey.  I'd been sent his book Financial Peace by some loving friends (Hey Utterbacks!) and had heard about his life-changing program.  So I responded to Loni with a sincere, but not desperate, "oh you did?  I really need to do that, I am so broke."  

As we continued to talk, her passion and love for the way these classes had changed her life was evident and I was captivated.  I don't even remember what happened next except that we bonded over the fact that we are both ENFJ's and that a light bulb clicked on in her head. Suddenly she said, "you know what, there are some classes starting in September.  I'm going to sponsor you to go."  

Many of the other details of that time don't matter.  There were more conversations about the class, there were tears of sadness and joy cried as I came to the realization of what was happening and how badly I needed help, there were tears of joy and empathy from Loni as she remembered what it was like to stand in my shoes and to now know what life can look like. There was the moment that my newly engaged friend said she'd like to go through the class, too (FYI: Loni has sponsored her too because she's the greatest). A whirlwind of emotions had come in and wrecked my heart in a matter of minutes.  It was beautiful.

Now fast forward today.  I've decided to blog through this journey, to completely put myself out there and be as vulnerable and rel as possible.  It's going to be hard and messy and downright ugly, but in the end it will turn into something lovely.  I don't know how much you know about Dave Ramsey but he's a bit extreme (he's also quite funny) and many people do not agree with his ideas and strategies.  But there are millions of people out there that decided to follow his rules and who are debt free and whose lives are forever changed.  I personally know one of those people and have decided to completely trust her, fully knowing that this has been ordained by God.  I hope you'll join me in my journey (again...with as little judgment as possible), and support me along the way.  Who knows - maybe you'll get a little something out of it, too.

Later that night, on August 14th, I sent Loni a text message letting her know how grateful I was for her and for that day, reiterating my thanks.  She responded with this:

"Me too.  God keeps showing up.  I'm telling you, God gives these moments {to share this hope of financial freedom} to me more than for you.  God gave me you.  Thank you."

Cue the tears and here we go!  Stay tuned.

PS - this is just the intro.  I've just recently started my classes and already have lots of great stories.  One in particular about online yard sales and how low my self-esteem got when Ed Hardy shower gel was getting more interest than the clothing items I had posted...