Financial planning. Taxes. Emergency fund. Budgeting. Debt. No Financial Freedom.
Those words or anything dealing with money really used to stress me out.
I was a typical college student, and managed to get myself into credit card debt at a young age. Even though I KNEW better. But I was convinced that I NEEDED stuff (like new clothes and cute shoes and late night trips to Taco Bell). Unfortunately, those college years earned me a mountain of debt along with my Bachelor’s degree. So off into the corporate work world I went. I made enough to cover my bills and minimum payments but not enough to make any progress on that debt. Just basically living paycheck to paycheck. And that kind of uncertainty is a constant level of stress. Have you met Mr. Murphy Law? Yep…I try to avoid him…but he can always find me. For instance, my car would always break down when the bank account was looming near zero.
Fast forward several years and I was still basically living paycheck to paycheck. I tried to “get outta debt” and “get ahead” but always failed. I was tired of just spinning away on that hamster wheel, making more money each year, but not seeing any progress. As a result, my financial picture was not what I wanted it to be. There had to be a better way and clearly my way was NOT working. So maybe it was time to set aside “my way” and embrace some new concepts that maybe just maybe would work. That’s when I discovered Dave Ramsey.
“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey.
So the hubby and I started living like no one else. While our friends were buying new cars and houses, we were renting a tiny apartment and driving 15 year old cars. The A/C was broken in both cars. Yep…that’s for sure living like no one else!!! But ya know what? We started to change our financial picture. We started getting out of debt. We had money in our savings account. We were able to buy newer-ish used cars with working A/C.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge.
But this didn’t happen overnight. In addition to making sacrifices, getting out of debt also requires a lot of persistence and patience. My goal was to become debt free and have enough saved to cover living expenses for several months. It took us three years of living like no one else to accomplish this. And we’ve been living like no one else ever since.
So how did we achieve our goal? We applied the method of budgeting with cash in envelopes, debt snowball, and established an emergency fund. Then, we evaluated want vs. need spending and made sacrifices knowing that one day we would be living like no one else (but in a good way this time).
As a result of my experience, I’m posting my tips for creating your ideal financial picture to gain financial freedom:
Create a goal. Be patient. Become a financial expert. Be patient. Make a plan. Be patient. Trust the process. Be patient. Be persistent. Be patient.
Did I mention be patient?!?!