In this week’s Financial Peace University, we took our first step. Dave Ramsey says this is the easiest step—but warns it’s also the hardest. For most of us, saving $1 here and $20 there is not going to be difficult. Ramsey asks us to quickly find $1,000 for an emergency fund.
By doing this, though, my wife and I are making a commitment to this program, to change our lives. Whoa. This is it, isn’t it? It hits me that these 13 weeks are going to be HARD. Ramsey reminds us that this isn’t a get-rich-quick program, and I’m beginning to see why.
Along with the overview, we were given some teasers of lessons to come. We learned about the wonders of compounding interest, to illustrate how important it is to start saving early in our lives. Part of our homework was to lay out a basic budget. We don’t yet know why, but I suspect it’s to get us in the habit of financial discipline and to help us identify the areas where we can cut back to find savings. I’ve started ours. I’m quickly realizing how many fixed expenses we have! Some of it we can change, some we can’t. You can bet I’ll be calling the cable and cell-phone companies to re-evaluate my packages.
As I write this, my wife and I have identified all our expenses except food, clothing and entertainment. We need the first, obviously, but I’m amazed at how eager we are now to cut down on the second two, because those are the keys to our ability to save.
I’m also keenly aware of just how hard it’s going to be to change our old habits. Since the first session, we’ve purchased a sweet new laptop and spent $300 on pool repairs.
Oops. There goes that $1,000 emergency fund. Time to set aside another one.