Saturday, July 17, 2010

Financial Peace University

This past Tuesday night I attended the first class in the Financial Peace University series by Dave Ramsey. I had heard about this through handsome's uncle and didn't know the name of it. For months I was searching for it and we can never get a hold of his uncle so I just kept looking. I thought it was FPU but was not sure.

Just by luck we were in Dollar General getting something and there was his Aunt's sister. She was talking to us about family and about FPU, here she was going to lead a class in the next few months. Not thinking anything of it I went home and kept thinking about it. The class materials are just a bit on the pricey side, but supposedly ever so worth it. The kit includes the book, workbook, cds, envelopes for assigning your money to a task, and some other helpful items.

I finally decided why not, I kept thinking about signing up, it was now time to do it. I went online to Dave Ramsey and checked out the FPU website. Just for fun I decided to check out if there were any classes in any of the neighboring areas. Much to my surprise there was! AND it was in my town in a local church. I didn't know the lady's name, but figured if it's through a church it should be fairly legit. I signed up to receive more information. Here it turned out it was handsome's Aunt's sister leading it. See when I met her I wasn't really introduced, it was a casual talking meet.

The first class we watched dvd 1 in the series and then sat in a circle to get acquainted and discuss our goals and experiences. It's pretty neat. There were people that wanted to start saving for their kid's college education because the kids were already teens, others wanted to pay off debt, myself I want to get set for when I get married and have kids, one man has had a serious health issue that keeps him on disability instead of traveling the world like he used to, another wants to save up so that he can be a philanthropist.

We do not discuss our actual finances. We discuss how to use the 7 steps and processes to pay off debt, save an emergency fund, save several months of living expenses, and so forth. This week's homework is to make up your budget. There is a sample in the back of the book. You are to assign every last dollar of your income. We are to pay in cash or check for things and not rely on the credit card. So far it has been easy, I figured I'd have trouble. I actually accidentally misplaced mine in a different purse and have decided to use the rest of the money I took out from the last payday. I STILL have money leftover and I think it is because like Dave says, actual physical money makes it more painful to give it away. I have held on tight to the cash I have had. This is a first in a long time. We are also to start saving $1000 for our emergency fund. The idea of this is to have this for the inevitable rainy days that strike: car, health, etc. The TRUE emergencies. If you have this saved up it will at least help towards that unplanned event. You might say well when that is gone you do not have an emergency fund, that's right, you start a new one. The only thing that I am still confused about is you are supposed to pay the minimum on your bills (if you can) and then start your saving right away. I was always under the impression that you should pay off your bills in full, then use what you have left as you see fit. The idea is you want to have the emergency fund so that you do not think well my only option is to charge this emergency, then you are further in debt or will at least have a hard time paying it off and with interest accruing.

I highly recommend finding a group wherever you are. It's Christian based, but you do not have to be a Christian to attend one. Common sense put into action.

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