Before you come at me for talking about the Baby Steps, here me out. I followed many Dave Ramsey blogs and Dave Ramsey followers’ on Instagram. I have read The Total Money Makeover, Retire Inspired, and Love Your Life Not Theirs. I wanted to explain why I personally don’t follow Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. If the baby steps aren’t working for you, you’re not alone. MANY of my students have tried them and it just truly isn’t sustainable long term. If it worked for you, great…but if not, you might like this post.
1. I Use Credit Cards For Almost Everything
Getting rid of your credit cards is one of Dave’s major tips. I cannot claim to follow him and still use my credit cards for almost everything. I learned how to responsibly use a credit card in college. Of course, credit cards aren’t for everyone. I personally use my credit cards (I have 3) for all of my expenses. I rarely have cash. For me, this works. I have never had credit card debt and I’ve never had a late payment. For the most part, I stick to my budget and put most of my expenses on my credit cards. I just got back from Vegas with my husband and the trip was FREE because of travel reward points. You can use credit cards responsibly. Need help tracking your debt payoff? Download my free debt tracker.
2. I Care About My Credit Score
In my post, Why You Should Care About Your Credit Score, I explain a little more but I have always cared about my credit score. I have a really good score and I don’t have debt so I personally think you can have a good score without debt. The only reason we could afford our forever home (a 25 acre farm) is because of my credit score. Your credit score 100% matters and you definitely should care about it. If you need help with understanding your credit score (and increasing it), check out my course Master Your Credit.
3. I Saved for Retirement While Paying Off Debt
My company matched 100% for the first 3% and 50% for the next 3% (so 4.5% total if I put in 6%). I started working there after college and I have always put in 6% to get the match. It’s free money! Last year I increased it to 7% when I became debt free. I hit six-figures in my 401k by the time I was 29 and that would NOT have happened if I waited to invest until I was debt free. I highly recommend contributing at least to your company match while paying off debt.
4. I Don’t Follow One Specific Plan
I don’t think a deprivation based approach works. You NEED to have spending money in your budget always. Even $20. Also, your plan and goals will change. I personally love budgeting per paycheck but I also make sure I always have spending money (even when we were paying off $154k of debt). Need help creating your realistic financial plan? Check out my completely free foundations course. If a person (or a plan) makes you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your situation…you need to try something else. Your debt doesn’t define you. You CAN become debt free without giving up everything you love. If I can do it, and the hundreds of people I’ve helped, you can do it too!
5. My Financial Situation Is Constantly Changing
Like I stated above, my financial situation will be changing. I went from having debt since 2013 to becoming debt free in 2017. Then I married into $154k of debt and we worked SO hard to become debt free again. Now we have 2 kids and live on a 25 acre farm. Life is constantly changing and you need a plan that YOU know how to adjust and change too. I just assumed I would work until I was 65 and then retire. Now I am trying to retire much earlier. My financial interests continue to change and evolve. As they evolve, my strategy changes. Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy.
My recommendation is to soak up as much knowledge as possible and pick pieces of advice that work for you. Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to lose friends or followers. You don’t need to follow any program exactly. Don’t be embarrassed about where you are currently. If someone gets mad at you because you are doing things differently, who cares. It is YOUR journey. Life is too short to worry about what others think about how you handle your finances. Let’s encourage each other even if our opinions differ. Let’s help each other reach our financial goals even if we go about it differently.
If you ever need someone to hold you accountable or you want someone to listen to you rant about your financial frustrations, your opinions, etc. just email me. I am always here to help or listen.