“Life was harder before I started!” I heard that quote the other day on a Dave Ramsey podcast. The speaker was someone there to do her debt free scream, and she was referencing her budget. Prior to following Dave’s Baby Steps and holding herself to financial accountability, her life was harder!
How could that be? Before she sat down and created her budget, her family just spent their paycheck. Like most Americans, I’m sure they thought they were fine as long as they could pay their mortgage, car payment, credit card minimums and still pay the power bill and put food on the table, but they found themselves in debt and stressed out; they were managing their lives around their debt payments.
That’s certainly how I felt before we went on the Dave Ramsey Baby Step program! The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize that I felt stressed out by our debt until I started to really make a plan to eliminate the debt! I realized that up until the Keller family implemented a budget, we were really being managed by our debt payments. I had no real idea where our money was going outside of those payments.
Every month, I would make our payments. I would then spend the rest of the month constantly calculating how much money was left. If it appeared that there would be a deficit, I would move money over from savings. I felt as though I was constantly calculating, adjusting, and transferring money. The budget stopped all of that. It really was easier! Now, I just update our Mint.com budget every couple of days and note how much wiggle room we still have in each category!
Now, we’re reached most of our goals and paid off everything except for the house! BUT, that doesn’t mean that the budget is thrown out the window! On the contrary, it’s just as important as ever. Now, rather than pouring money into paying off cars, student loans, and zero percent credit cards, we’re pouring money into retirement accounts, savings, and college savings plans. After sticking to the budget for a year, it’s natural for us to continue to stick to it! Holding ourselves financially accountable has truly made life easier!