Sunday, April 19, 2009

FPU Endorsement

Debbie and I began Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey) back in January. We just finished the last of the thirteen weeks today. There was a time in my life when I would not have been in the state of mind to embrace something like FPU. Ramsey is great at what he does, but he's not exactly my preferred style of teacher. I'm also hardwired to react negatively to any "system" that claims to change your life. No system works all the time and sometimes systems used improperly can cause more hard than good. To top it off, I have a hunch that Dave Ramsey and myself may have different political and theological positions on more than a few issues.

That said, I was ready to submit to someone - anyone - who could take some of the fear, frustration and guess work out of my personal finances. After five years of freelance income, three major relocations and more than our share of financial instability, we knew it was time to get back on track. I decided to go into Ramsey's classes with a posture of submission. I would do whatever he told me, even if I disagreed with it, for thirteen weeks. I could do anything for three months. And today is the day I am allowed to stop submitting to him. But I won't. Submitting to his common sense financial worldview has already changed our lives and improved our marriage. Over the last 13 weeks we have reduced our consumer debt, including our car loans, by more than 20%. We've established an emergency savings account, pre-paid for this summer's vacation, and reduced our monthly utility and grocery bills by almost 50%. The amazing thing is that I already knew how to do all of those things. Submitting to this process was the key. I learned a lot for sure, but I knew how to do the basics - budget, save, plan. I just wasn't really doing what I already knew how to do.

It's made me realize that I have spent most of my adult life not committing to systems because I see the flaws in them. That generally doesn't really work for me. I end up alone and frustrated. When it comes to being more disciplined it probably starts with submission. Seems like you can't be a disciple until you submit. That's what I really learned in FPU...

12 comments:

Annie Michael Murphy said...

Did you love your table leader? Say yes.

Helen Ann said...

I also took FPU at Vineyard Westside recently. This is our last week...I was given a free ride and so I felt that I should go - even though i really just wanted help saving and investing since debt isnt realy an issue. I went in with some of the same hesitations as you (submitting to a system - shudder...And wasn't really looking for someone to mess with how I work my money each month), I was defensive and fearful.

Today I am completely 180. I proudly tote my FPU envelope system wallet with me wherever I go. I actually enjoy sitting down at the beginning of the month and setting up my 0 balance budget...I have also taken to competing with myself on how much I can save at the grocery...because leftovers in that envelope I can put toward my baby steps! :) :)

Glad you enjoyed it too!

Go Dave!

Steve Fuller said...

Wouldn't it be more interesting to visit 52 different financial planners in 52 weeks?

Yeah, it would.

Julee... said...

Can you just tell me how you reduced your utilities (please), or do I have to take the whole class?

And Annie, I love you, but that picture with your comment - ???

sarah said...

Your words, especially that last paragraph, perfectly articulate what I've been struggling with lately. Thanks for sharing--- your thoughts are convicting and can apply to so many other areas in our lives...

Joe said...

Julee-

The big thing was budgeting for groceries and using cash instead of the atm card there. We saved hundreds per month by limiting what we spend in grocery and dept stores. Then we got rid of what we could live with for now - i cancelled the gym and started running outside, called the cell phone and cable and asked for better deals, did all the green stuff at the house, etc.

random blogger said...

april will mark the 7th balanced budget in a row since the completion of FPU. during my experience, i struggled with the whole gaining wealth stuff but the generational blessing thing resonated. the big things i received was remembering responsibility and generosity. tend to forget about these in the context of dollars and cents.

VCCFPU said...

Way to go, Joe! Thanks for your openness and honesty but most of all, we are so happy to hear how God used FPU to teach you about more than just money! Our motto is "it's not about the money..."!

workinprogress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julee... said...

Thanks, Joe! We have already cut the grocery bills in half (and are eating at home more - go figure), so tomorrow I'll make some phone calls and see what I can do about utility type stuff. Not my forte, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm going to be so impressed with myself if I come out of this with lower bills!

Dr. Roger D. Butner said...

Great post, Joe! Amen, and amen!

I guess you know about Dave's live national interactive telecast tomorrow night? www.townhallforhope.com

photogr said...

Considering I am the epitomy of a penny pinching tight wad, I would have to see this to believe it.

I have always though investing in Florida swamp land, Walmart stocks, and gold was the way to go.