An Introduction to Dave Ramsey

It amazes me how many people don’t know who Dave Ramsey is or what he’s really about. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard of him for awhile, but I thought he was kind of a no-brainer in terms of household name personalities.

Two years ago I started my  journey to get out of debt. I knew a few things about Dave Ramsey and his “methods,” but I wasn’t serious or committed to them. Then I discovered the Dave Ramsey Show podcast and started listening to it whenever I could. I’m definitely not a Dave Ramsey know-it-all, but I’ve gained a pretty good understanding of what he’s all about. Since realizing that not everyone knows about Uncle Dave (my new name for him), I figured I should share with you guys the information he’s handing out for free if you spend the hours listening to and reading his material.

an introduction to Dave Ramsey //

Dave Ramsey was a millionaire once, but it all hung on borrowed money. When his accounts got shifted to a new creditor who took a harder look at his borrowing habits, they gave him 90 days to pay $1.2 million worth of short term notes. He filed for bankruptcy. That’s when he began living what is now called the “Total Money Makeover.”

The Total Money Makeover is a 7-step process that harnesses the power of focus by giving you what they call Baby Steps. The idea is that most people have so many financial goals: they’re trying to pay off credit cards, cars, and student loans. They’re trying to save for big life events, they’re trying to buy a house and save for retirement. When you try to do 50 things at once, you do 50 things really poorly. Instead the baby steps force you to focus ALL of your energy at tackling one baby step at a  time.

The 7 baby steps to financial freedom (aka The Total Money Makeover) are as follows:

  1. Have $1,000 in a small emergency fund
    Not more, not less. A survey released last fall said that out of 7000 Americans polled, 69% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Do WHATEVER you can to get $1,000 fast. If you have more than $1,000 you’re going to drop that down (you’ll find out what to do with it in step 2). If you have less than $1,000 you need to work extra jobs, sell things, eat every can of food in your house before going to the grocery store. Get $1,000 FAST.
  2. Pay off all debt using the debt snowball
    List all of your debts based on balance from smallest to largest, with no concern of interest rates. You are going to pay the minimum payment on all of them except the one that’s on the top. Then you’re going to attack that one like it stole your puppy. Extra jobs, selling things, overtime, a scaled back lifestyle. Whatever you can to get extra money, you throw it at the smallest one. Once that one is paid off you take the minimum balance on that one PLUS all of that extra money you’re earning and add that to the second smallest. Get the snowball idea? My friend Brittany wrote a post about it, so you can read more about it here.
  3. Fully funded emergency fund
    Having only $1,000 between you and disaster should scare you into destroying your debt. Once you’ve paid off debt, it’s time to start throwing all of that money to a real emergency fund that has 3-6 months expenses.
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
    Dave says to PAUSE all of your retirement investing prior to this step. Some people will say you can get rich on $20 here or there, but your greatest wealth building tool is your income and you need to free it up to build wealth before you really can. Having $120,000 in retirement funds that you can’t touch without penalties does you no good when someone loses their job and it takes 2 months to find a new one. Your emergency fund is what will save you, not a huge nest egg.
  5. College funds for kids
    4, 5 and 6 happen all at once, because your income is yours, remember? You’re not sending someone else your money to take care of things you did before you could afford it. Start setting up college funds for your children.
  6. Pay off the home early
    Most people who commit to the Total Money Makeover pay off their house in SEVEN YEARS. We live in a society where debt is SO NORMAL and SO ACCEPTED that nobody even thinks of a mortgage as debt, but imagine if you have LITERALLY NO PAYMENTS. You don’t owe ANYTHING to ANYONE. That is the beginning of wealth, which is step 7.
  7. Become outrageously wealthy and generous
    The tagline of this whole thing is “live like no one else now so that later you can live – and give – like no one else.” The idea of the Total Money Makeover isn’t so you can sit and pat yourself on the back with how much money you have. When you have wealth, you are set up to give in ways that are unfathomable. You make sure your money is divided into three categories: enjoy, save and give. There’s really nothing else to do with money at this point. You’ve changed your family tree and can be a huge blessing to other people.

This is the foundation of all of Dave’s advice he gives on The Dave Ramsey Show and it’s a quick glance at what he writes in depth about in The Total Money Makeover. If you’re interested in the idea but think it might be a boring read, check out his daughter Rachel Cruze’s book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, which is a different spin on the Total Money Makeover.

PHEW! If you’ve made it to the end, I congratulate you! AND I want to know what your story is! Where are you at with your finances? I’m no Dave Ramsey, but do you have any questions?

ps never forget:

Me and Dave Ramsey //


February 20, 2017

Things that feel really good.

Here are a list of things that feel really good:

  • the cool side of the pillow
  • holding a fresh cup of coffee
  • when a baby hugs you
  • cozy socks on cold toes
  • getting real mail in the mail box

oh and

how about




It has been such a long battle.

and it’s not over, y’all. I still have my beast of a car note. but paying off this credit card has been something I’ve had to FIGHT for. A few months ago I gave Justen my credit card so I wouldn’t have it in my wallet, and that’s helped, but it’s still been hard to shake.

I’ll write about this more in depth when it’s time for my monthly debt repayment recap, but this small-ish victory is HUGE for me in so many ways. I can’t wait to share with y’all where I’m going from here and how that’s going to affect my journey to get out of debt.

Anyway that feels freaking good.

I dare you.

Right now.


Find your lowest balance credit card/loan/etc and attack it with all the fire you have within you. Even if it’s “just” $400, or something with a really low interest rate. Just get it OUT. and then let me know how you feel. because I seriously feel like I gave myself a raise. The money in my bank account looks different. I’m not completely debt free, but this little warm up jog has got me fired up for the marathon of my car. But. More on that soon 😀

February 16, 2017

January 2017 Debt Repayment Recap

Happy first DRR of 2017! I was kinda sad about this month, because I’d been all fired up about paying off everything in the world, but then life happened. Life I probably should have prepared for last month instead of throwing my entire accident settlement at my debt, but whatever. Here’s something interesting. I compared these numbers to my January 2016 debt repayment recap, and I’ve dropped my car loan by 4.21%, my credit card by 60.67% and my overall debt by 9.38%. The general trend is down.

December 30, 2016
Car Loan: $17,205.22
Credit Card Debt: $320.64
Total: $17,525.86

January 30, 2017
Car Loan: $16,894.50 (-1.8%)
Credit Card Debt: $699.16(+118.05%)
Total: 17,593.66 (+.38%)

My credit card debt went up, and here’s why. Just like last year, when my credit card debt mysteriously shot up in the month of January, I made an impulsive decision to visit Nashville. I’d assumed I’d be able to pay it off quickly, but then we had an unexpected winter storm and I was snowed in, unable to work, for a week. It hurt me, bad.

Unlike last year, though, I’m not going to let this deter me in the long run. Last year I got discouraged by the detour and kind of threw in the towel on the whole thing. Not this year.

You know what was cool, while I was in Nashville, Ernie took me to THE DAVE RAMSEY SHOW. and GUESS WHO I MET!!!!

Me and Dave Ramsey //

Y’all, it was SO COOL. They have a cafe where they GIVE AWAY FREE MOCHAS. and COOKIES! It was awesome. This is the show we were there for:

I did feel ULTRA guilty that I was there because of a credit card, though. Next time that won’t be the case… and maybe the time after that, I can do a debt free scream 😀

For February I’m doing the cash-only system, so I’m hoping that’s going to help free up a bunch of money to get that credit card problem taken care of!

How did y’all do with your financial goals during January?

February 6, 2017

Currently // February

I could probably start EVERY SINGLE ONE of my posts with “HOW IS IT ALREADY TIME FOR THIS AGAIN,” but I’m going to not and then you can all just pretend I’m saying that, okay?

Here’s what’s happening on this side of the computer! I am currently…

packing //
Well, I’ve actually just started unpacking from Nashville BUT at the beginning of March I’m flying down to San Francisco for my day off (THANK YOU SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS POINTS) so I’ll be packing for that later this month 🙂

Golden Gate Bridge //

jonesing //
for a change. I think I’ve figured it out. I just have to be brave. Insert the strong arm emoji right here.

strong arm emoji //

texting //
The Halters. I’ve been texting both of them a lot, about a variety of things. I miss them already.

reading //
On my goals for the month is to read Harry Potter + the Prisoner of Azkaban and two others. Reading Penguins & Golden Calves and I’m trying to figure out what my other book will be. I was going to ask for recommendations, but I have SO MANY BOOKS in my room. I’m thinking Boundaries – have any of you read it? I have a copy somewhere.

Currently reading //


hearting //
The other night Justen and I went to see Hidden Figures as part of my goal to watch all the Best Pic movies before the Oscars… oh my word you guys. I LOVE that movie SO VERY MUCH. I just bought the soundtrack because I felt like the whole time I was watching the movie I was bobbing my head and saying “this song is so good!” So that movie + soundtrack.

I’m also hearting the idea of SUNSHINE. I’m so over this cold, y’all!

Justen and I both started using the envelope/cash only system this month, and I am LOVING that. It’s so freeing knowing that I’ve set aside money to spend on things that are important, and I can use what is left to really work on paying off my credit card, which is a huge priority for me this month.

One other thing I’m hearting? The idea of getting rid of stuff. I know that previously I’ve focused on de-cluttering (I have another post to share soon!) but I feel like every time I look at stuff I’ve de-cluttered, there’s more clutter on it. Last night I said to Justen, “I feel like I don’t have a lot of stuff, but there’s just SO MUCH STUFF.” I once read that if you’re focused on how to organize, you might be missing the point. Organizing clutter isn’t as important as completely getting rid of clutter, you know?! Help me out y’all – any of you feel overwhelmed with stuff a lot?!


Linking up with Anne and Erin 🙂

February 3, 2017

February Goals

IT BEING MY MOST FAVORITE MONTH OF THE YEAR. It’s quite unfortunate that it comes so quickly once the year has started, because then it feels like it’s over so quickly.

Before we get going on February’s goals, let’s look back at January’s Goals!

January 2017 Goals

01. Complete Whole 30
02. Pay off Credit Card
03. Finish Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets + 2 other books {Total Money Makeover & Love Your Life, Not Theirs}
04. Document an ordinary day in pictures {1.31.17}
05. Add 50 things to my gratitude journal (let’s try this again!)
06. Lose 5 lbs 
07. Get my inbox to 0 {1.24.17}
08. De-clutter something {1.31.17}
09. Try 2 new recipes {Whole 30 mango chicken + bacon quiche}
10. Send 5 letters

80%! And the first two didn’t get crossed off because of the same reason: Nashville!! and for that, I have 0 regrets 😀

You’ll see some posts about things I’ve crossed off in the next few weeks, but until then…. FEBRUARY GOALS!

February Goals //

February 2017 Goals

01. Read Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban + 2 other books
02. Watch all of the Oscar best picture nominees before the Oscars.

  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Moonlight
  • Hell or High Water
  • LaLa Land
  • Hidden Figures
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Fences

03. Send 30 Valentine’s
(e-mail me your address and I’ll send you one!)

04. Exercise 30 minutes a day, 3xs a week
So last month I lost 5 lbs. Then I stepped on the scale yesterday, the last day of the month, and realized I’d gained back 3 of those pounds. Guess I didn’t lose them well enough and they found me again. By “exercise,” I even mean going for a walk. Just doing SOMETHING, because I think my lack of exercise is going to be a really terrible rut to stay in for much longer.

05. Complete a project from Pinterest
Here’s where y’all come in with this one. I am literally the most indecisive person in the world. So having Pinterest as a source of inspiration is kind of stupid and really crippling. Analysis paralysis, if you will. Here are my beauty diy & regular diy boards (follow me!)… any suggestions on things I should make? Bonus if the total cost of the project is under $15 haha.

06. Go on a hike
It’s been a REALLY LONG TIME since I’ve gone hiking on the regular. Not only will it count as part of my exercising, but all of that fresh air is really good for me 😀

07. Clean my room before bed every night for 2 weeks 
08. Document an ordinary day in pictures
09. Drink enough water 50% of the month
10. Drop my credit card debt by 60% (the magic number would be $279.66)

February 1, 2017