Financial Peace Baby Step #1

So, my fabulous fiance and I are spending Tuesday nights this summer in a class called Financial Peace University.  It’s a 13 week long class that my company is sponsoring -and paying for- for the employees (I told you we had awesome benefits at ACS!).

So far, the class is based around 7 Baby Steps to Financial Peace.

Last week, I completed Baby Step #1: Starting an Emergency Fund of at least $1,000.  I went to my bank, opened a Money Market Account (as Dave suggested), and transferred money from another account into it.

With a Money Market Account, my emergency fund can earn interest.  The interest isn’t high, but it’s something.  I’m allowed 3 free withdrawals per month (Let’s hope I don’t have more than three emergencies in one month~ that would be a whole ‘nother blog!).   Before the class, I’d never even HEARD of a money market account- just a regular savings and checking account, so I’m already learning a lot.

Another great thing is that Clay is learning it with me.  Last week, we learned that money issues can really make or break a marriage.

Just think about it- let’s say we have a financial emergency in our future marriage, like my car dies (Clay’s car is newer, so we’ll say it was mine *knocks on wood*).  Obviously, being a one-car family is pretty stressful, especially with Clay working nights and going to college and me working day shift.  He’d basically have to chauffeur me around.  We’d have to work with the auto repair people to get the car fixed.  Or, depending on the cost of the repairs, and the face that my car is a 2001 model, trade the car in for a newer used car (NOT a brand new car- no financing!).

BUT… having an emergency fund in place, we would be able to take the stress of finding the money to pay for that car repair out of the equation.  I wouldn’t have to get a loan and go into debt to pay for the repairs- that’s what the emergency fund is for.  I wouldn’t have to pester my parents (or his parents) for the money- that’s what the emergency fund is for.  Having a car to drive is a great thing, and parting with that money stinks- but that’s what the emergency fund is for.

I heard about Financial Peace when I went to a Dave Ramsey seminar at a local church last summer, and it seemed like he made sense.  At the seminar, I actually won his book, Financial Peace Revisited, as a door prize, and I read many chapters of it that summer laying out at the pool and river.  I didn’t finish the book, but it was a pretty good read, and I’m rereading it in the class.

I’ve never been BAD with money.  I started working and saving at a young age.  I bought myself a laptop at 16 with several months worth of earnings from my job working at a grocery store (and a bit supplemented from my parents).   It was my first major purchase, and while $1,000 doesn’t seem as much now that I’m 24, that’s like a fortune when you’re 16 and making minimum wage.  I opened a bank account and continued saving.  You know, since I had no life in high school besides working at the grocery store, going to church, hanging with my other nerdy/band geek friends, and being on the computer.

Even in college, I never took out the credit card offers that came in my mailbox.  I guess I could’ve done that and bought some cool new clothes or gone out to eat instead of eating in the FMU Dining Hall all the time… but I really didn’t want that.  I liked hanging out on campus with my friends and being involved in 563738 campus activities, all of which gave me free t-shirts, so I didn’t really need to buy clothes.  I worked for the college newspaper and happily covered many campus events- most of which gave me free food.

Hey- I was a college student.  I could easily double my wardrobe by turning clothes inside out, and I could live off of free pizza (Even if I was paying, I would’ve eaten pizza and takeout anyway, lol).

Today… I still live pretty simply.  I like shopping, and I do have a weakness for Vera Bradley and cruising.

In all honestly, I’m probably happiest when I walk into my apartment all sweaty and wiped out from a 4-5 mile run outside, which is completely free and relieves stress.  Unlike shopping a bunch, and spending too much, and getting into debt- which causes MORE stress.  Who needs more stress?

So, to avoid future stresses- I’m pretty proud that I had the money and started the account.  It really feels good to get started on the right foot (pun intended) with the Financial Peace Baby Steps, and of course, I’ll let everyone know how the rest of the class goes.

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2 Responses to Financial Peace Baby Step #1

  1. peter says:

    Congrats on getting started off on the right foot! I think you’ll be glad you took the class together before you get married -for us one of the biggest benefits of the class was that it got my wife and I talking together and actually thinking about our money and communicating on a regular basis about it.. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the class as much as we did!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Congrats! It is always great to see others taking responsibility for their financial actions unlike wall street. Even if you are already good with money, some of dave’s stuff still helps remind you to stay on track. Some of his stuff is a little extreme in my opinion but overall, I like him. Hope it goes well!

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