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Old 10-31-2006, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Has anyone used Dave Ramsey's plan & seen it work?

We are in debt over our heads. It is a strain on us & it causes our parents to want to know details, then have more "leverage" to criticize us. Our debt is not due to extravagant spending. It is due to less income that what we needed to cover our needs & starting over in life when I was 31 & dh was 39. What we thought was our life plan (being missionaries in Africa) turned out to be only a 1 year job. We'd sold everything & came back to nothing in the US, except I was pregnant so now there were 3 of us with no job. My dh has worked for peanuts & had some time he was unemployed. He is NOW at a good job, making good money (by our standards, at least!), so I feel that we can now tackle debt. I was all set to check out debt consolidation & then I was told about Dave Ramsey. It seems he has a very different approach & does not recommend consolidation.

So, I'm wondering if any of you have used this method & have seen, or are seeing results. Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:57 AM   #2
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Do Not do Debt Consolidation. Take it from someone who knows from experience. I have read Dave Ramsey's book & he does have some very good advice. I have not followed through with it like we should, I need to get it out & read it again.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:03 AM   #3
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I have not done the program, but I have read another one of his books, "More Than Enough" and I listen to his radio program when I catch it and many people do testify on how the program did work for them. I also have good things about Crown Financial Management, a program run through many churches. I hope other people on the board have better advice for you.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:10 AM   #4
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I have had several friends be totally saved from financial problems from both Crown Ministries and Financial Peace University. My husband and I have not taken either one of the classes, but have learned lots from hearing these friends tell us how they changes things. I would recommend looking for a church in your area that is offering one of the classes or if that's not an option, get the workbooks and do the study yourself.

I am so sorry about what's going on, and it happens to almost everyone at some point in life I think! Certainly it may not be that you can follow their plans to the "T", but I think their advice is very much sound and should get you headed in the right direction.

Friends can't say enough positve about it!
I know Crown's website is www.crown.org
not sure about FPU's, but I know they have a great site too.

Good luck!
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:15 AM   #5
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We are doing the Financial Peace right now. We weren't in super deep debt, but just wanted to learn to manage our money better. I really didn't want to go to the class, but after the first night I was hooked!! I am all for it now, and actually look forward to Sunday nights!

Don't do debt consolidation! Dave says it is a BIG NO! You will pay more over a longer period of time. I made a copy of the CDs for my Mom and she loves it.

I say go for it!
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:01 AM   #6
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My husband and I attended Financial Peace University early this year. It is a WONDERFUL program! Like AubrieB, we don't have debt issues but wanted to be better stewards of what we have. However, it's easy to see how this program is excellent for those with serious debt issues! We highly recommend it! Also, DO NOT miss the 13th (and final) session - it is THE ABSOLUTE BEST one!
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:43 AM   #7
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I don't know anyone personally who has used Dave Ramsey's plan, but I do listen to his radio show a lot. What he says makes great sense, and I think even if you followed a few of his suggestions, you'd make some headway into paying off your debt.

If you can listen to his radio show, especially on the days when people call in to say what they've paid, you'll be amazed at what people can accomplish when they set their mind to it. He'll have people call in saying they paid off an incredible amount of debt, and many times their income is really not that high.

The other thing is that you'll probably feel better about your own situation when you hear how bad off some people are

I would like to try to follow his plan, but I am not very disciplined and haven't made myself do it yet.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:48 AM   #8
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We are using Dave's plan right now. Since June we have our emergency fund and have paid off 1/4 of our debt! We love the plan! We have read and are following The Total Mney Makeover and I also listen to his radio show when I can. It all makes total sense to us, so we love it!
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:51 AM   #9
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I only know of one couple that went thru the Ramsey stuff......... doesn't appear to work for them, though (but it might not be the system, KWIM?).
What works for us is to simply make a budget and stick with it - my husband is a mind-boggling money manager. He got me out of debt before we were married by simply making a list of all my debts, all my living expenses and my income. He budgeted to pay off all my debt before we were married - each paycheck all the 'extra' that wasn't going towards NEEDS and DEBT was placed in an envelope (it wasn't much) and that was all I had until the next pay check. It worked!

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Old 11-01-2006, 09:52 AM   #10
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I haven't used Dave Ramsey's plan. I'm not really familiar with it but I do catch his show every now and then. They just started his program on the station I listen to.

We did the Crown Financial study last year in a small group and I thought it was really good. It helped us create a budget and stick to it. If you have the opportunity to do this study, do it!

Another study that our church has done is Conquering Debt God's Way. Bruce Ammons is the creator of that study and it has helped DH and I a lot! Some of what he says is like what Dave Ramsey has to say. The envelope system, paying cash for everything, etc. Bruce Ammons is from Texas so most of his seminars are in churches in Texas or surrounding states.

You don't have to have a lot of money to get out of debt. You just have to be very disciplined at managing what you have.
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:27 PM   #11
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Ladies, thank you SO much. I have gone to his site. I will see if the Library has his book, or better yet, his book on CD (if it's available) so dh can listen when he drives. If it's not online, he doesn't read it. He just doesn't pick up books anymore & he used to be an avid reader. He will still browse magazines. Hmm, wonder if Dave Ramsey has anything in a short magazine format.

Anyway, I finally had a chance today to sit down and create an excel sheet with all of our monthly bills, including credit card payments, listed by date due, with a spot to put date paid. I'm not super proficient at excel, but can do the basic stuff. This is a step towards me getting the big picture. The next thing I want to is list all cc's w/ total amount due, percent, etc. Then I can stab at one or 2 of them to get rid of them first, while doing what I have to on the others, and keep going. It's been so hard with dh's minimal salary, and yet I KNOW I need to be home with the kids, homeschooling them, which is why I'm doing my Pampered Chef Business (to add some income---mine was initially to pay off debt then our debt snowballed). It helps a lot, but I'm not able to put in the excess time to do 6 to 8 shows a month.

Since dh is working overtime right now, I put $200 in savings with the last paycheck & $100 this time. We've never been able to keep a savings account full of money. So, I'm taking that first baby step!

You've really encouraged me. It's one thing to hear someone on the radio, or to read on a website how great someone's program is, but to read about real people who aren't paid to say this stuff (ha, ha), it makes me feel good about it. And, my dad, who is harping on us & when he asked for the "big picture" on our debt recently & I told him, said, "You'll never pay that off!" THen, when I mentioned DR, he said, "OH, he has great advice." Dad wanted me to sit down with him & lay out all our bills. I DO NOT want him involved in it for multiple reasons. I told him I WOULD like advice he has. That tickled him & he sent me some info that is helpful. My mom has always been VERY good with their finances. The woman could have been a CPA, or a great teacher, or a lot of things--she is so smart--but she chose to raise us, help my dad go through college (back then they had college classes on TV with no VCR's to record it, so she watched & took notes!), and later worked in accounting type jobs to put me through college. Anyway, my dad always made a good salary & retired with money to invest. I don't think he's really figured out that on less than $30,000 a year with lots of bills to pay, it's hard to "do it all". Now that dh is making more, I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:28 PM   #12
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One more question. In any of DR's stuff, does he tell you how to call your CC companies & ask for them to reduce your interest rate/monthly payment? Is that in his book? Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:36 PM   #13
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I haven't heard of Dave Ramsey, but I too like the Crown Financial ministries approach. You seem enthusiastic about having a plan to follow, but it might be worth your while to check out a few other programs. JMHO. I have followed the principle of paying off the smallest debt first, then applying that amount to the next larger and so on. Gives you a sense of accomplishment.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Mama
One more question. In any of DR's stuff, does he tell you how to call your CC companies & ask for them to reduce your interest rate/monthly payment? Is that in his book? Thanks!
Oh, Hon, you don't need a script, just call and ask! You don't need to give them any info other than asking them what the lowest interest rate they can offer you is. I've done it and never been told no!

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Old 11-06-2006, 06:15 AM   #15
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If you can listen to Ramsey's show, think of a question regarding your financial situation (such as which cc's to tackle first or whatever), he'll ask about your big picture and MAY offer to send you his book for free, or free passes to one of his seminars if he'll be in your area! He does it a lot! Especially as your problems arose after your mission trip, he might sympathize with that

It's my understanding that the Crown system is a bit more of a spiritual makeover - pray about your finances, what does the bible say about finances. Ramsey is a Christian and does take into account tithing, for instance, also is very heavy on personal responsibilities; but it is a very specific plan - do this, then this, then this.....it is very much designed to get people out of debt.

I enjoy listening to his show, even though we have been fortunate not to have debt (other than mortgage), have retirement savings etc. But I often think, we could be saving, or donating!, even more if I were a better budgeter.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Mama
Anyway, I finally had a chance today to sit down and create an excel sheet with all of our monthly bills, including credit card payments, listed by date due, with a spot to put date paid. I'm not super proficient at excel, but can do the basic stuff. This is a step towards me getting the big picture. The next thing I want to is list all cc's w/ total amount due, percent, etc.
One thing Dave's plan teaches is to list your debts from smallest to largest (dollar amount), which he calls the "debt snowball." You then "attack" the smallest debt first and get it paid of as quickly as possible. Then you take what you were paying on that and move on to the next one, and so on and so on. He teaches to not worry about the payment amount, interest rate, etc. If you can pay off some of your smaller debts first, you will feel like you are making progress and that always helps with motivation.

Good luck
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Old 11-06-2006, 11:54 AM   #17
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This is a great forum. Thank you Lori for being so bold an open about your finances. I will be looking for DR books.

From personal experience - try and handle your finances without your family. We went to family when we were really in a bind and they lent us some money and we have been paying it off plus saying don't buy us B-day gifts, Christmas gifts,etc.... They still buy us gifts but they have to announce to the rest of the family what good parents they are that they still buy us gifts when we owe them money. It is my DH family and it really hurts him and makes him feel horrible. He is a wonderful provider and works very hard to support us. What makes me angry is that I was pregnant with their grandchild and had some major complications and had to quit working and the medical bills - all these things we were not prepared for is what we needed the money for. Good luck to you and your family.
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:03 PM   #18
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I've heard of Dave Ramesey and it's all been good things. My church is offering FPU right now, but it was a night we couldn't go. We are looking to join up for the 'spring semester'. Everyone in it has gotten a lot out of it.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:46 PM   #19
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Dave Ramsey has been a huge help to me! I haven't followed his steps in the exact order he suggests, but I have still made a lot of progress. I used to be able to hear him on the radio on my way home from work, but he's not on at the same time anymore.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:30 PM   #20
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I am not familiar with Dave Ramsey, but I know you can also Check your yellow pages for "Consumer Credit Counseling".
They can help you manage your debt and negotiate with creditors on your behalf. There should be NO fee for this service.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadgeRPh
I am not familiar with Dave Ramsey, but I know you can also Check your yellow pages for "Consumer Credit Counseling".
They can help you manage your debt and negotiate with creditors on your behalf. There should be NO fee for this service.
The problem with CCCS and others, is that it is reported to your credit bureau that you are using their service and it looks just as bad as a bankruptcy to creditors.

Also, not all creditors will work with CCCS. Especially if you have secured debt. Perhaps a part time job would help you get out of debt quicker.
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:00 PM   #22
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Yes we've used it, and yes, it works. You have to be committed and willing to go thru the *pain* of changing some habits. It is hard, but in the long run, the benefits hugely outweigh the process. God bless you and give you the strength you need to take control of your finances

ps. I think we had the same parents...my mother could stretch a penny farther than anyone and she has NEVER paid a cent in credit card interest. My dad never made much and they raised four kids, put a couple of us through college, and now that they are retired, they live VERY well. All because of frugality, saving, paying cash, and paying off credit every month. Oh that I could have inherited those genes.
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:34 PM   #23
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We are currently attending FPU as we speak. I think it is amazing. Another SCS is in the group with us. We are still working on our Emergency Fund (as we had an unexpected emergency and had to use it, BUT it was truly an emergency ) Anyway, according to our calculations, we'll be out of debt in 2 years!
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:51 PM   #24
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I have friends that really like Dave Ramsey. I have read some of his books as well for ideas as we don't have much debt but I'm always looking for ideas on spending less and saving more. The excel spreadsheet is exactly what I do to get an idea of what I should work on first. Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2006, 07:32 PM   #25
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My husband loves this program and it's helped us quite a bit.
We went to Tenn a few years ago to meet him.
Look into some local churches. They are always running his program.
Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:43 AM   #26
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Dave Ramsey's plan is wonderful. I look at it much like a diet....

1) it must be a life change if it is going to work.

2) you must be comitted.

Another thing that is important is that both you and your spouse have to be on board if it is going to work for you.

Good luck! My dh and I are debt free except the house, making it on just $39,000 a year, 3 kids and live in a house we love.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:39 AM   #27
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Me and my husband are doing Dave's plan (although not as we should lately)
In the last 2 years, we have paid off over 20,000 in debt which included both of our cars.
It works if you use it. I like it because it's an extrememly simple approach.
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Old 11-25-2006, 07:27 PM   #28
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When DH and I are committed to Dave Ramsey, it's AWESOME!!! It really works. One thing that you can start doing is pay cash for as much as possible--groceries, is a big one. Set a budget and stick to it. I would highly encourage you to take his course. Once you've gone through it once, you're a "member" and can go through it as many times as you need. Plus, you get the cds to listen to his lectures if you need to hear them again. We'll be starting up again in January, once the holidays are over and we can focus our energies to going debt-free again Good Luck!
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:13 PM   #29
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I'll ditto everything everyone said about Dave.
It really works - when DH and I first got engaged - he handed me Financial Peace (now revised to the Total Money Makeover book) and said "read this - this is how I handle money. I didn't like it at first. But I'm telling you it works!!

Get the book - do a budget (the dreaded B word as Dave says) and do the envelope system. It will change your life.

Keep the important stuff currently - food, house, utilities, car.
It's tough - especially if you have kids and you realize the $70 a month cable bill doesn't fit in the plan.

Start now - don't wait until after Christmas - do a cash only Christmas.
You'll find you spend less on Christmas.

And I agree - DO NOT USE a CCC organization - they are a crutch - you can do it yourself -

Thanks for being open - hope I didn't sound preachy - but it really does work.

My sisters both laughed at me for years - teased me (do you have an envelope for that??). But now they are both on it - one is single and the other is married with three kids - they are both paying off huge amounts of debt.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:44 PM   #30
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Oh, yeah, that's a good point AuburnTigerTN....cash only Christmas! We've done that for the most part...or instead of using a credit card for internet orders, we've used our debit/credit #. It makes a HUGE difference when you know that your resources are really limited.
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Old 11-27-2006, 05:44 PM   #31
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I agree that Crown Financial Management is a great program and it helped us many years ago. After following Crown we still felt that we needed additional help and after a hard decision we chose to CCCS. CCCS temporarily impacts your credit report, but it is temporary. It was not an easy decision. In the long rung it did not hurt our credit rating at all. We are and still considered Cream Puffs in finance world. Once you complete CCCS a report is sent to the reporting agencies and you are given a card to carry with you indicating that you have successfully completed the program.

I hope the best for you and your family, financial problems are so overwhelming.
 
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:00 AM   #32
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I am probably about your parents' age or maybe older and I'm here to tell you don't let them get involved in your business. Work it out on your own and tell them thanks but no thanks. You will appreciate it more in the long run and won't have to listen to Dad's advice all the time which can really cause hard feelings. I find it presumptuous that they would even ask questions about your finances; I would never do that to my kids. They know if there is an emergency they can ask us for help but for me to tell them how to run their money that they work for is simply out of the question. It's none of my business. If you want advice seek advice from someone outside the family; the less know by the family, the better. I am not familiar with the programs mentioned here but they seem to work according to what others are saying. Just work hard together and keep plugging away at the debts. Once you have some savings built up, put everything extra you can on those debts. If one of you can work a PT job to bring in a little more money that may help too. We struggled when we were first married but now after 42+ years things are easier but we still don't splurge on fancy things. Wal-mart is still my favorite store; we don't try to keep up with the Joneses. Good luck to you and your family.
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:44 PM   #33
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Thank you everyone! I have been doing baby steps. I am working on #1, put $1000 into savings. I had up to $300, but I just balanced my checkbook & had -1.70! Online it looks like more since some stuff hasn't cleared. We have a decent health insurance plan, once you meet your deductible. I've received several bills & will pull money from the savings to start paying that off. I have been able to actually pay my credit card bills & not use any balance transfer checks at all. I still need to call all of them (though I know DH is primary holder on some so they won't talk to me if I'm not on them, or sometimes if I'm not primary) & see about lowering the interest. I also need to call back a finance person to find out what we need to do to buy a house vs. renting.

Dh was able to work a LOT of overtime, so we had more money coming in. The big job is slowing down, so we won't have that. My business has stayed steady, which helps. I need to pick up some more business for January, but I homeschool special needs kids, so have limited time for doing "it all". Dh does computer repair work on the side, but it hasn't taken off yet. He's dabbled in several little ventures but has yet to really dive into any of them.

MIL has put a chunk of money into a CD that would work as a downpayment & closing costs, we think (and that was her intent). She also put some money in a bond & said we'd be getting money from it every few months. Turns out they just roll stuff over, and you really don't see any of the money.

Anyway, I appreciate all of the input & really want to work towards getting debt free.
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Old 12-01-2006, 09:05 AM   #34
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I have a question for you ladies. What do you do when you really CAN'T pay the minimum amount on a CC? In the past we couldn't pay much of anything, so I did balance transfer checks. I have been able to pay out of our checking account for the past couple of months b/c dh was working overtime & making enough extra money for us to pay out of our own money. I know when Larry Burkett of Crown Ministries was alive, he said that transferring down to a lower rate card was good---but that was assuming you were paying your bill, not just robbing peter to pay paul. I know the first answer is PRAY!!! But, what do you think the best approach is to this? I know just 'not paying" isn't good.

I've found more little "fine print" info on our bills, like a payment protector plan for outrageous costs each month. Gotta do some calling!

Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2006, 08:23 PM   #35
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Lori -
If you can't pay the minimums on your regular income then your standard of living is too high. Are you able to cook from scratch more? Perhaps cancel cable tv? Cut back on internet service? Scale back where ever possible and yes its going to hurt at first, but you will be so much better for it in the long run. If you have ever listened to Dave Ramsey you've heard him say something ot the effect of Live like no one else so later on you can live like no one else.

Yes people will give you funny looks when you tell them you don't have cable, don't have cell phone, don't eat out or whatever, but you will be getting a handle on your financial situation.

And if you are a Christian its important to be a good steward (as I'm sure you know), a good example and get yourself in a place where you can help others financially if need be.

Also, my dh and i did a plan that was the same as Dave's plan but that was before we had ever heard of him. (2001) We paid off over $30,000 in a year on a $39,000 salary. All the student loans were gone, car payments, etc. We didn't have a cc payment and still don't. We were able to save a fair amount of cash and that has helped us for years...ie we were able to pay cash for a new furnace that was replaced in emergency instead of putting it ona cc. now we can pay ourselves back to replace the savings we spent.

We also pay car payments to ourselves each month in the hopes that when we need a new we will have enough to pay cash.
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Old 12-01-2006, 08:25 PM   #36
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oh and if you can't pay your minimums, then don't. i don't know if i would ask my church family for help in that or not. But definately start looking for ways to cut back your regular monthly bills.
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Old 12-02-2006, 05:59 PM   #37
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You should really find the book. If I knew your address I would send you a copy of the book.

The last thing you should do is buy a house. If you can't meet your monthly minimums you shouldn't be buying a house ! I don't say this to be mean.

I know it's easy to say why should I just be throwing money away when renting instead of buying. Remember there are alot more costs to owning a house then renting.

PM me your address and I will get a book to you if you like
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:27 AM   #38
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Also, my dh and i did a plan that was the same as Dave's plan but that was before we had ever heard of him. (2001) We paid off over $30,000 in a year on a $39,000 salary. All the student loans were gone, car payments, etc. We didn't have a cc payment and still don't. We were able to save a fair amount of cash and that has helped us for years...ie we were able to pay cash for a new furnace that was replaced in emergency instead of putting it ona cc. now we can pay ourselves back to replace the savings we spent.

That's great paying off all that debt, can you share your secerts??

Thanks
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:29 AM   #39
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Sorry I messed that up was trying to Quote Lavafrogg
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:10 PM   #40
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Well, we really stuck to the basics. We did the things you hear about all the time:
-cook from scratch
-no eating out
-keep lights turned off when you aren't using them
-make sure your faucets don't leak and toilet doesn't run
-make sure you check your insurance rates yearly

I'll add more later.
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