Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good News!

Remember in this post where I said that Dave Ramsey said "Be faithful with the smaller things to be blessed with bigger things."..?

Well, my friends, my hard work has paid off! I received a job offer that would help me to become financially comfortable in a relatively short amount of time. After lots of discussion with Brett, and lots of prayer, I accepted, and I start a week from Monday! 

Even with a significant pay raise, it was still a hard decision to leave my current job, because I believe it is a great organization and I really really love my co-workers.

But I feel in my heart that this job is truly a blessing and a wonderful opportunity and I just couldn't pass it up!

I have had a wild need to be independent for as long as I can remember, even to a fault. So, the fact that I am 26, live with my parents, and don't have a car (remember what happened in this post?) absolutely kills me. And I am very excited to start gaining some independence back!

As far as the job, I am going to be an Assistant Legal Learning Specialist, which would be boring and dorky to A LOT of you, but it plays into my strengths and interests and I am just plain excited. (A little nervous, too.)

I can't wait to keep you all updated on the next part of my journey!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Long Overdue Update

I know.

I know i know i know. I haven't updated in WEEKS! And I do apologize. I woke up a couple of mornings and said "I am going to blog today!" and then something would happen that would make me very pissed off at money and money related things. So I thought it best not to blog on those days. :)

Today, a cool dude I know from all that Lindy Hopping I do found me on twitter and therefore found my blog. He's a fellow Dave Ramsey fan and I thought "hmm. maybe I should update this thing!" is my update.

And I am really, very truly proud of myself.

I went to all 9 classes, did my homework, and didn't hurt anything or anyone at all!!!

Seriously...I have been in school for a total of 17 years...and the 9 weeks I was in Financial Peace were quite possibly the most valuable weeks of learning I've ever had. 

I'm not saying I would have particularly adhered to all the steps/rules when I was in high school, or getting ready to go to college, but I believe I would have been in a better position than I am now, or even when I graduated college.

And even though I had some crazy things thrown at me, such as my car going to car heaven and insurance craziness, I still feel much better about my finances than I did when I first started the class.

The crazy part?

My income is still fairly the same when I started. I just know what to do with it now. And it's a great, great feeling.

I am no longer feeling hopeless or scared when it comes to my debt or income. I feel more patient with my debt. I know it will get paid off. And I know I'm doing everything I can to pay it off. And that will be enough to pay it off.

I want to encourage EVERYONE to go through Financial Peace. Whether you are 15 or 60, there is always time to improve your finances, or learn how to NOT screw it up. It's a 9 week class, and if you attend faithfully and do your homework and budgets faithfully, I promise good things will come out of it. Good things that will benefit you for the rest of your life...all from just 9 weeks. (that's not that long...)

If you truly care about getting your finances on the right track..TAKE THIS CLASS.

My favorite class was the last one. It was a lesson about giving. It just gives you a peek at what wonderful things you can do with money once you are debt free. I truly can't wait to get to that point. 

More than getting myself out of debt, I want to be able to give money to charities I believe in, or people that need it, without having to think twice. I want to be able to pay for my kids to go to whatever college they want. And I know that can happen! I know I've started early enough, and have the knowledge to be able to achieve those goals. And most importantly, I know I have someone (a very handsome someone) beside me to help me achieve my goals. (Who, I should go ahead and publicly thank for asking me to do this with him and for being so so supportive of me. Thanks, Brett. I love you.)

I really appreciate everyone's support and encouragement during FPU. So many times I received facebook messages or posts or just had random conversations with people who have done it before, and I really enjoy hearing their success stories. 

I am already enjoying sharing my experience with other people, and I really can't wait to share my progress and achievements with everyone! I hope you all have enjoyed reading about my progress through the class, and will continue to follow me until I reach debt freedom!

Feel free to contact me on here with any comments or questions or success stories! You can also follow me on twitter! :)

Oh, and one more thing...Happy Halloween! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 3! 33.3333% done!

Well, this is how I started out week 3:

Budgets. Scare. Me. I'm not good at them. (although it should be easy...i don't have a whole lotta numbers to be throwing around in there!)

When I took a first glance at the full budget worksheet, I felt like an extremely scared Nemo and Dory!

I mean seriously...there's so many categories and lines and adding and subtracting!!!! But, as always, after it was broken down, it didn't seem like such a giant shark.

This budget is a "zero-balance" budget, which means you give every dollar a name. This much goes in savings, this much to groceries, this much to clothing (, etc. So at the end, you have a big fat ZERO. That doesn't mean you don't have any just means you've told your money where to go. 

That kind of budget makes sense for me, and it fits with my personality. It's structured, and I love me some structure!! And without structure, I fail miserably, in nearly every aspect of my life.

For the past FOREVER i've been thinking "if i just had more money...." everything would be good, right? But then Dave brought up a good point. If you can't manage a small amount of money, how are you going to manage a lot of it? I wrote this down, because I think it's true, and I need to be more diligent about this, when it comes to finances:

I would love to have huge ginormous numbers to plug into my budget (NOT the debt part, of course)...but for right now, I need to manage my teeny weeny numbers, to get to the huge ginormous numbers. And one day, I'm going to look back at this blog, and laugh at the way I have described said numbers.

So, another reason I'm sweating, is that Brett, my boyfriend and new accountability partner, are having a budget committee meeting. Which means we write out our budgets, review them with each other and help each other out. For example, he might say "Rachel, I think you should concentrate more on groceries and less on clothes" (and in case you are reading this should follow that statement up with something like "because seriously, you can't get any cuter").

But not only are we reviewing our budgets, we are making each other stick to them. Which means no more big-ass diet cokes from Tigermarket or buying a cute dress because it was ONLY $10. Unless of course it comes out of my "blow" money.

Anyway, as nervous as I am, I am looking forward to inching my way to financial freedom!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Not Overwhelmed...I'm Not Overwhelmed...

I'm Not Overwhelmed...I'm Not Overwhelmed...I'm Not Overwhelmed...I'm Not Overwhelmed...

...No, really. I'm not. Week 2 of Financial Peace University was just as cool as Week 1.  This week he talked about teaming up with your spouse or partner and uniting to move forward financially. he also gave single people some practical tips on budgeting (one being having an accountability partner...I asked Brett to be mine, and he graciously accepted!)

My favorite part was taking a quiz to see if you're a "nerd" or a "free-spirit"...I went into this full on believing I was a free-spirit, because I hate everything to do with my bank account, budgeting, saving, blah blah blah, it makes me sick. 

However, after taking the quiz, I am EXACTLY half "nerd" and half "free spirit"...I am a "nerd" in all aspects of life except for finances (I'm on time, organized, always making lists, etc.) But I am a free-spirit in my finances for sure (i THINK i have enough for a couple of gas station hot dogs, if i only put $15 in my tank...)

This is cool, because I realize that I already have the tools it takes to be a healthy "nerd" when it comes to finances. And I also realized, that maybe...MAYBE...the reason I hate doing anything with money is because I never really have any :) I might enjoy it more when I can do a budget and say "what-oh-what shall I do with all of this extra money??"

He also made a good point when it came to single people and budgets. He said time poverty can lead to poor money management. Which is so extremely very true. With married couples, there are 2 people to share responsibilities...but with single people (read: me) there's no one to share that with. I do my laundry, prepare my food and run my errands all by my onesy (it's a phrase i got from one of the Pirates of the Caribbean makes me feel pirate-y. Don't ask why I want to feel pirate-y. I don't know.) Ok, anyway...I DO EVERYTHING ALL BY MYSELF, so often times it's a "I'm tired so I'll just drive through Burger King" or "I don't want to be by myself tonight so I'm going to go do something and probably end up spending money."

The point is, I learned a few of good tips (including teaching your kids how to manage money..but thats a ways away!) and I'm excited (kind of) on implementing them!  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 2 and I'm still alive!

Hey guess what?

I just wrote out my budget for September....and i didn't die! No!! Actually, I felt much better about where I stand financially. I figured out, I can pay off my non-student loan debts in a year and a half! That is so very totally achievable!

As far as student loans...that won't take as much time as I thought either! Right now, including student loans, my plan is to be out of debt in 7 years! I know life situations change- marriage, children, etc, but in 7 years, i'll be 33...and how many 33 year olds do you know that are debt free?? I. am. excited.

I'll write more on the lesson and what I got out of it a little later, but I just wanted to share my excitement!!!

Note: I don't know if my boyfriend ever thought I'd post anything like least this soon! And honestly, I didn't either. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Just Did My Homework...

I just completed Week 1's homework assignment: Completing a "quick-start budget" and adding up all non-mortgage debts.

I want to crawl in a big. dark. hole.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Boy, Have I Got A Post For You

Before the financial peace class began on Monday, the young adult minister at the church where the class is held got up to speak for a minute.  He said "As soon as you start trying to start saving, something is going to happen to try and prevent you from getting here. From succeeding."

Well friends, that thing happened to me the very next day. It happened to me hard.

Here I am, driving down I-40 in my super fly 1999 white Ford Taurus I bought 2 months ago. See, I sold my super cute 2010 Corolla (sport edition!!) in an effort to...(drum roll)...SAVE MONEY! And with the leftover money, I bought said Taurus.

So I'm driving, rocking out to some crappy pop song, when I decide I need to pass the grandma in front of me. I signal, move over, and I press on that gas. I keep pressing the gas. I'm pressing the gas. HELLO? GAS PEDAL? WHY AREN'T YOU WORKING? I glance down. The little RPM thingy (I know SO MUCH about cars!!) is like on 4, even though I'm not going faster. The little dial is all the way to "H" instead of a comfortable "slightly above C". 

So I'm all "ok, this can't be good." I'm just a couple of miles from my exit so my plan is to just make it and pull into a gas station. 

I start smelling something funny (literally, it stinks.) My NEW plan is to get off at the exit before mine and make it to a gas station. So I pull off the exit and my power steering goes out, 2 lights on my dash come on and smoke starts coming out from under my hood. So my NEW NEW plan is to pull over on the side of the ramp, turn off the car....and cry.

Yes my friends, (or enemies, i might have an enemy or two reading) this happened the day after I get pretty enthused about saving money and getting on the road to financial freedom!!

So, anyway, the conclusion is this: My engine shut down and it would cost as much as I paid for the car to fix it. So, it has been sold for parts, and tomorrow I will bid farewell to my piece of crap hunk of metal car.

Needless to say, the past few days I've been pissed off and frustrated. And less than enthused about this whole process of saving money. But, I know I can't let it run me over like a Mack truck. I know it will all work out, and I know I have a wonderful support system around me.

I have a plan to raise/save money for a down payment on a less crappy car, and I think it's fairly achievable.

With that said, Who wants to buy a Canon EOS Rebel XSi? It's a beautiful piece of photography machinery :-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Financial peace University: Lesson 1

A few weeks ago, my incredibly handsome, funny and financially savvy boyfriend, Brett, asked if I'd like to take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

Now, I knew that eventually we'd be going through this class together because we had talked about it before. But my BFFOMG and his BFFOMG (who happened to have just gotten hitched) decided to go ahead and register for an upcoming session, and the dudes thought it would be "fun" to take it together.

Brett, the great love of my life, is very smart and disciplined when it comes to finances. I, on the other hand, am not. Am absolutely not. So "fun" isn't really a word that came to mind when I agreed to take it. More like "intimidating", "frightening", and "hell". 

NONETHELESS. I agreed. Because I know I need to manage my debts and income better (i just need to manage them period). And I really care about a future with this Brett guy, so I said "Sure, Honey!"

So since I'm coming face to face with finances, I thought, why not get everyone in the blogosphere involved? So I will be keeping up with this blog and posting about our sessions, my goals and my progress. If you want to read on my progress, cool. I'll welcome any encouragement! But keep your criticism to yourself! Just kidding............but seriously.

Tonight was our first of nine sessions. We have a fancy workbook, pencil, eraser and EVERYTHING! So already, he is appealing to my dorky, i-love-school-and-taking-notes side. And the session wasn't bad at all. He talked about saving up an emergency fund and doing it quickly so you can have a cushion (and a peace of mind) while you're paying off debt. 

So my first goal is to save $500.

I feel this is very achievable, and I'm excited to cross off "Baby Step 1." Actually, this whole process does not seem as intimidating as I had originally thought. (We'll see how I feel after I add up my total debts. yeesh.) But, aside from a slight freak out moment about adding up said debts, I walked out of the session feeling like I'm taking solid steps to financial freedom. My head was not spinning, my ears were not bleeding, and I didn't stab anyone with my freshly sharpened pencil, like I pictured myself doing, so, I think I'm doing significantly better than I thought I would.

I am lucky to have the support and encouragement of my boyfriend, and our dear, sweet married couple friends.

We have a couple of homework assignments to complete before Monday. I am nervous about them, but excited. Each step is one step closer to getting to financial peace!