New to Us: Paid in Full CASH

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tony and I are Dave Ramsey subscribers. I chose subscriber, because there are so many other options that come close, but most have a cultish feel. And while from the outside looking in the Dave Ramsey mindset may tread upon brainwashed behavior, it's far from it.

If you've never stumbled across his books or radio programs before, Dave Ramsey created and endorses a financial management plan that is completely in line with Biblical principles. The goal is not financial independence, as so many other programs focus, but financial peace. It is certainly not to build wealth to be hoarded either, it is a realignment of money principles not as the world screams, but as God desires.

Like many such programs, there are multiple baby steps. The first three being:

1. Build an emergency fund of $1,000.

2. Eliminate all debt, minus mortgage.

3. Additional emergency fund of 3-6 months.

We are on baby step #2. When all of Dave's principles are employed, the average American eliminates all their debt, save mortgage, in 18-24 months. At this time Tony and I have 3 student loans [one for me, two for Tony] and the Grand Prix to work on. We are hopeful to pay off the Grand Prix by the end of the summer, followed quickly by Tony's lowest student loan payment. After that though, Tony's next student loan and mine will take some time.

Key to this process is clearly the elephant in the room, avoiding any additional debt. We have some friends and family who honestly can not understand why we are even attempting to pay off our debt. And that's where the true brainwashing terms are able to be applied, because Americans need stuff. I need stuff and you need stuff and for some there is an actual addiction to the accumulation of the stuff, so it is a need and not a want.

It's mental discipline that combats this mindset and discipline is not given, it is earned. So, we're earning it. The hard way. But as Tony said to me yesterday, he'd much rather we make these changes now with the mistakes we have made than to learn the much harder way 10 years down the road. We know there will be sacrifices and yet, we also know it's part of God's plan for our family.

I haven't written much about Dave Ramsey's influence in our house much in the past, because to be honest we weren't committed. Tony scoured youtube for clips and has actively listened to Dave's radio shows. I applied as best I could the principles I picked up from Dave, in addition to what I saw my Mom do growing up, and some days worked, others didn't. In the end it took 3 attempts to complete Financial Peace University. We first started in 2008, but didn't get far. Next we started with our friends, the Forrests, but stalled out when hockey season was in high gear. We finally plugged in for 30 days to knock out the remaining lessons on our very last day of membership. Tony was definitely the driving force in completely the lessons and it was so worth it. We were both tearing up watching the final lesson and it was no hollow victory to see the congratulations at the end.

We are going to change our family tree, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

All of that backstory to lead up to our activities these past few weeks. Car shopping. Not only car shopping, but used car shopping. With cash. Some how, it was only that final few words that seemed to cause the most stress. Nothing was good enough, because those dollars represented our time spent away from home, either skating or shooting. They were hard earned dollars and we wanted the most for our money.

Essentially anything would be an upgrade compared to the '99 Silverado I've been driving for the past year. Especially when considering the windshield washer fluid line was cracked, the horn was inoperable, the seat is so broken down you have to sit on an additional patio furniture seat and to top it all off the passenger side door handle was broken for the past few months, meaning this pregnant belly had to reach across the cab and prop the door open in order to get Isaac in and out of the car. Don't even get me started on the safety issue of that, my only condolence was that I've seen jaws of life in action . . . Many of the above are now past tense because Tony and his Dad fixed them last weekend. I was just as happy as I was annoyed that they didn't fix everything months ago! Let's not forget that the truck has nearly 350,000 miles on it and that it's side panels are covered in camouflage.

All this said, the above truck was an enormous blessing to us. By my Dad borrowing us his truck we were able to save money, instead of being rushed back into debt in purchasing a 2nd vehicle that we certainly could not afford. We never would have been able to see this: Paid in Full CASH.

And that new to us vehicle is . . . a '96 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
[Yes, this picture was taken last night, so for all of you Southern dwellers that does mean we still have snow.]

It is a fully loaded Limited something or the other. All I know is that the interior and exteriors are both spotless, which means that either the vehicle wasn't driven much or that the previous owner hopefully was as meticulousness in their upkeeping the leather seats as the maintenance of the vehicle. Tony brought it to a trusted friend of 20 years and mechanic and it received a clean bill of health, giving us the green light for purchase.

It has just under 130,000 miles on it, which was lowest we found, even for newer vehicles. Additionally, it has heated leather seats! Tony's work truck a few years back had this feature and I forgot how much I like it! Regardless of how cold the truck is, those babies fire up quickly and the cold is so much more tolerable!

To top it all off, Isaac loves it. He's still rear facing, love the AAP's new recommendation, but never knew what he was missing out on in the truck and the car. With the Jeep he has a clear view out the back window and is absolutely captivated by everything he sees. Man, if we thought he was a chatterbox in the car before . . . The first thing he says upon entry is always "New car!"

We're just as excited as he is. And, because I hate posting without a picture, here's Isaac with his Uncle Levi [which sounds decidedly less like Unca Wee Wee everyday]. Jenifer, this is also for you. ;)


Lindsay said...

WE love Dave Ramsey! It totally changed our view of money. We are revisiting baby step three ( to recover from replacing two HVAC systems this year, but we were so thankful we had the emergency fund there to use!

We paid cash for a used minivan in October and it was kind of surreal!

Congrats on your cash car purchase!!!!!

Jenifer said...

Love the car and the photo! :)

SJ said...

I love Jeeps! My very first car was exactly like that, except black exterior. They're great cars. I miss mine now that I drive my little van.

Emily said...

Good for you! I'm new to your blog, but I'm a big Dave Ramsey fan too! My husband and I took the FPU class last spring, and just completed step 2 last week! :) It's tough, and there will be some bad months where you fall off the wagon. But just remember that doing your best is better than how you were handling your money before! Keep your eye on the prize - it's so worth it!! xoxo

Emily said...

We're totally Dave Ramsey followers (but not champions), too. In fact, you linked to his drive free cars video a couple years ago (we were already following his budget) and we put it into place so that I could trade my VW beetle in for a bigger safer car when Thomas was born.

So congrats to you on this huge step! This post made me miss my old Jeep! Enjoy it!

Unknown said...

Nice job Leah and fam!! I despise debt which is why we worked so hard to pay off my student loan asap! I completely understand your sentiment and fully support your desire to stay debt free. Look at the pay off already....a vehicle paid for in cash :) We just bought my Ford fusion with money on hand and while I hated spending so much dough, it was good to know monthly payments weren't in our future.

Jeannie said...

Congratulations!! She is a beauty!!

Katie said...

Great job! Congrats!!

Newlywed Next Door said...

Love the new car (but not the snow!)
We're trying to do Dave and save money to buy a new car with cash. We've paid down our student loans quite a bit this year, which is awesome. But we still have a bit to go.

Julia Goolia said...

great work you guys!! Yay for a new car and no payments!!

Mrs. Lukie said...

We are DR followers, too. Cultish or not, his plan works--we are now on Baby Step 4, and will be starting Baby Step 5 here very soon ;) It's so worth it; the peace of mind is indescribable.

So excited for you, Tony, Isaac & Baby Love, and what a fabulous example you & Tony are setting for your littles :)

Megan said...

So awesome. We've never done a Dave study, but I'd really like to. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I am a Dave fan as well. I think his way makes the most sense (no pun intended). Cash only is our motto. We do not buy anything on credit.

d.a.r. said...

Way to go!! We are big believers in Dave's principles, too. What a great example you two will be as parents!

Erin said...

We are Dave Ramsey fans, too! It felt amazing to write the check for our new to us vehicle, knowing that it is 100% ours. We are working on my husband's student loans right now.

Jenifer said...

So Im telling my Husband about the cutie photo of your brother and I just now realized the Levi connection. Is that where Isaac got his middle name...I highly approve.

Molly said...

Awesome news!

I did the debt snowball long ago and then wracked it all up again. We'll definitely be cracking down after our big move! I love not having a car payment though =) Congrats!

p.s. my husband is obsessed with jeeps. Did you know Jeep drivers wave to one another on the road? Even though they don't know each other? Strange!

Sarah Louise said...

I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey as well. We have done the Financial Peace University, but are planning to when Jared is done with school/back in town. Love the car! It looks like it is in great condition...and it is so awesome you guys paid for it in full cash!

Anonymous said...

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