In 2013, we purchased this as our family Christmas gift.
I had been listening to Dave Ramsey off and on for years, and his ideas made sense to me. We wanted to hit our debts hard in 2014, knocking off as many as possible. Moving twice in a year and a half had not been good for our bank account, and the school debt…let’s not even talk about that. We had four kids before we left dental school, and the pile of debt to prove it. We were SO TIRED of paying so much of our income to debts, and wanted them to go away more than anything. We also wanted our kids to learn the financial principles that Dave taught, so we decided to have a financial family night one night each week until we finished all of the lessons in FPU. We were pumped up and excited the first week. We sat all of the kids down and turned on the DVD with workbook in hand, determined to learn something that would make a difference in our financial family tree.
Within 15 minutes, all of the kids except Jordan and Andrew were asleep. So much for making it a family affair. We quickly gave up on that idea, but I was still set on making it through Financial Peace University as a couple. For a few weeks we were diligent learners. We watched the DVDs after the kids went to bed each week, completed the workbook pages, talked about ways in which we could improve, and did our best to follow through with those things. Dave’s ideas were not new to us, but we had fallen off the bandwagon and needed a reminder and a little more motivation, and those lessons provided that.
Things were going pretty well…until February came, bringing lots of rain to the parched desert where we live. During one storm, we turned on a ceiling fan and got a shower from the water that had collected on the blades. Upon further investigation, we discovered that our roof was leaking. We had lived in our home for less that one year at that point, and the home inspection that we had prior to purchasing the house did not say anything about the roof needing attention. Of course. When a roofer came to inspect the damage, he told us that the entire roof needed to be replaced because the felt underneath the tile was completely worn out…for only $20,000. Pocket change, right? We didn’t exactly have that kind of money laying around…our $1000 emergency fund was not quite enough…but we also could not afford to let the roof keep leaking and causing more interior damage.
So much for the Ramsey plan to never borrow money again.
That kind of threw us off the course that we had set out to follow, and things just went downhill from there. A few months later, after several septic system back ups…which are not pretty, by the way…we had to get a new dry well to stop that from happening…for another $6000. There is something about needing to flush the toilet, take a shower, and do the laundry that necessitates having a working septic system.
Right after we fixed that, historic rainfall in Phoenix did a number on our yard:
Carson’s bedroom flooded, resulting in some necessary repairs and new carpet, and the cost to fix the drainage problems in our yard to keep this from happening again was over $15,000. I could not sleep well at night until those repairs were done. Every time we saw a cloud in the sky I would get nervous, wondering if our house would flood again. It may never rain like that in Phoenix again, but knowing how vulnerable we were did not sit well with me. Honestly, I wanted to jump ship and sell the house, but I knew that we would not be able to do that unless we fixed the problem. One way or another, it had to be done.
Let’s just say that 2014 did not exactly turn out how we hoped it would in the financial department. We never finished Financial Peace University, and it has been collecting dust for the past year.
I stopped listening to Dave’s radio show, and tried to put this whole plan out of my mind because it made me so frustrated every time that I thought about it. I could hear his voice in my head, telling me about all of our stupid financial decisions. I could hear him telling me that we never should have taken out student loans…even though we never would have finished dental school without them. I could hear him telling me that we never should have moved in the first place, let alone twice within a year and a half…but we really felt like we were doing what was best for our family, which may be difficult to understand for somebody who did not feel the turmoil that we felt, and the peace that came only after we decided to move. I wanted nothing more than to have these debts go away…and for my house to stop needing huge repairs…but those two things were both out of my reach last year.
Now it is a new year, and you’ll never guess what my financial goal is…again…
It is time to recommit.
We still have a huge mountain to climb, but we are going to work on it one step at a time. We are going to hope that our house will hold up without needing any major repairs this year. That would sure help. We are going to hope that it is a good year for the dental practice. We are going to try to be wise with the resources that we have, knowing that this is going to take some time, and being patient with that process. Fingers crossed that all goes as planned, and that we will be able to knock off all of our debts except the student loans this year. Those student loans, well…we will get to them…eventually. I know, I know, all of you Dave Ramsey fans…they just might feel like a pet by the time we are done…a very expensive pet…
What are your tips for getting out of debt? If you have any wisdom to share, please do so.