Friday, May 23, 2008

The Great Dave Ramsey

I love this guy. Everything he teaches and talks about is purely common sense. This month's newsletter has him talking about how to pay for the gasoline that is so expensive.

Dave's Thoughts on Gas Prices (click here if you want to read his stuff online)

Gasoline has gone up 26% since this time last year. SHOCKER! Since most of us are used to daily commutes, running the kids here and there for their various activities, and visiting friends and family, this price increase is affecting us. The Consumer Price Index figures say this is the number one thing that's gone up in our household budgets this year — and it's only May!

"But there's nothing I can do," some say. I say, "Oh, yes there is!"

It's time to revisit the budget.

When I tell people this, some tell me they've crunched their budgets as much as they can. Then I ask, "How much is your car payment? ... How much is your monthly cable or satellite bill? ... Is the Starbucks drive-thru a regular stop on your morning commute?"

I hate to break it to you, but new cars, cable, and Starbucks are luxuries, NOT necessities! You can easily survive with a used (and paid-for!) car, no cable reality shows, and coffee made at home. Just think of all that money you could use to pay off debt and put toward your gasoline money for the month if you did just those 3 things!

Earlier this month, an algebra teacher in Michigan sent me a great email that I read on the radio show. She wrote:

Dave, I often give my math students this calculation to figure out. A typical latte costs $3.59 for 16 oz. That's 22 cents per ounce or $28.72 a gallon! Ask your listeners if they've drank a gallon of latte lately!

HOLY COW! If that doesn't put things into perspective, I don't know what will!

First Things First: You must remember there IS a difference between needs and wants in life. The first things at the top of your budget should be your needs: shelter, food, transportation, clothing, and utilities. If you currently go to the movie theatre every weekend or have a Hawaiian vacation at the top of your list when you struggle to pay the electric bill, your priorities are out of wack. Don't sacrifice your needs to finance your wants. If you do, it will catch up with you and you'll regret it.

Plan Ahead: You can also strategically plan ahead when running errands and commuting to work. If you go to the grocery store twice a week, reorganize your list so you only have to go once a week. If you have a lot of errands to run, plan your route ahead of time so you're not retracing your steps around town. You could also organize a carpool with some of your coworkers who live near you.

June will be here before you know it, so go have a Budget Committee Meeting right now to see where you can free up some more money — because every little bit adds up when gas is $4 a gallon!

I remember complaining when it cost me $16 to fill my little Honda Civic. I filled my Ford Focus up this morning for $43 and some change. ZOIKS.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is just to pass along Dave's common sense. He mentions eliminating vacations if money is too tight. I have a mini-vacation coming up in July. No, it's not necessary, but the opportunity is there and because I know about it ahead of time, I can save a little bit more on the day-to-day spending to enable me to do this trip, including eliminating unnecessary expenditures, which includes needing to drive everywhere. Gas is a killer!

I am as excited about the financial planning of the trip as I am actually taking it. It will probably be the first trip I take that will be paid with cash rather than credit. THAT'S what I'm excited about.

I've never been smart about money. I still struggle with it to this day, but I'm working on it and trying to be smart about it and I'm doing an okay job. Still not great, but oh so much better than when I started this blog back in October.


Bret said...

Tara you are awesome. I love the article by Dave Ramsey. Smart man. You're doing great- keep it up!

Jennifer said...

I love that guy. And I think he and I are going to get serious again. We were so good together before. :-)

Susan said...

I've considered making my mom PAY me to bring the kids and visit her. It seems that the roads between Queen Creek and Mesa only go one way. :)

S. W. said...

I just came across your blog and I am so impressed with your honesty and attitude of personal responsibility. You can do it! And reading those words "I've never been smart about money. I still struggle with it to this day..." Well you are being to hard on yourself, because you are being smart right now! There are many many people in your situation that never admit it, and they just hide under a rock until the world caves in on them. You are tackling this problem! Ad you should change the name of your blog to "The Freedom Chronicals" because you are little by little setting yourself free - and it puts an emphasis on the positive action that you are taking. Again good for you! Youare an inspiration for us all and you can do it!