The borrower is slave to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7
I’m a deplorable atheist, but truth is where you find it. After years of being a debt slave, I finally took charge and grabbed my (well, our, as my wife had a student loan) debt by the pussy and made it my bitch. Now I owe money to no one, so I am slave to no one.
I’d been into Dave Ramsey’s stuff for years. I sucked and did a lousy job of following a lot of his principles for probably four years. Part of that was a lack of self-discipline on my part, and part of it was an unwillingness to fully lead my household in financials. I eventually shaped up and now we’re debt-free.
Dave’s principles are sound. They’re basic and they don’t appeal to the “sophisticated” consumer who looks at minute differences in interest rates, plays the airline miles game, and counts credit card points. Dave’s principles are instead about behavior rather than analyzing cold mathematics. This will work for a lot of people like me, who don’t have the time, interest or mental energy to calculate all that. I understand that it works for some people, just not me.
Without giving away anything he doesn’t discuss on his radio show, here’s a thumbnail of what Dave tells you to do:
- Use the Baby Steps and the debt snowball to get out of debt.
- Make a zero-based budget every month and stick to it.
- Pay cash/debit for everything, including cars.
- Have an emergency fund.
- Don’t borrow money for anything except a mortgage.
- Invest in mutual funds.
- Save for your kid’s college and your dignified retirement.
- Give generously.
Basically, the point is to live debt-free in order to free up cash to pay for things and invest. Always pay with cash/debit, not credit cards. Boo hoo, you say? Boo hoo, you don’t have the cash for a new 4K TV or a vacation to wine country? Well, my fellow deplorable consumer, if you don’t have the cash money YOU CAN’T FUCKING AFFORD IT.
Dave has some pretty good online budgeting software at Everydollar.com. I use the free (duh) version, and it’s pretty convenient. My major criticism is that it doesn’t currently allow a bi-monthly breakdown, but most people get paid twice a month. Dave needs to get on that!
Dave Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, recently wrote a book called Love Your Life, Not Theirs. It’s a good concept, though her book is directed largely at women who obsess over what their status-signaling friends are posting on Facebook and Instagram. On the other hand, men often have a competitive mentality in terms of houses, home improvements, vehicles, tools, guns, “man caves” and whatever else. Avoiding that keep up with the Joneses mentality is really what being a deplorable consumer is all about.
I am a deplorable consumer. And no, Dave Ramsey did not sponsor this post.