Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fear is the Mindkiller - Part 3 - The Giant Snowball

     I used to watch a lot of those Rankin Bass stop animation Christmas specials as a kid. Still do. You'd think by the title of the blog this week that I am afraid of the Bumble from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. I'm afraid of someone much scarier...

     ...I'm afraid of Dave Ramsey...

     I'd assume Dave Ramsey is pretty scary to most people. If you aren't familiar with him, he's a financial guru of sorts who has helped millions of people stop using credit and get out of debt. Shouldn't be scary, right? Should be inspirational borderline uplifting, yes? Not if you have fears concerning money...or lack of the availability of it.

     I mentioned in my last post (Fear is the Mindkiller - Part 2 - The Hunger Games -April 9, 2012) how I went through a period of time in college when money was scarce. Unfortunately, this part of my life would not only create an eating disorder, but would contribute ultimately to my abuse of credit.

     According to Dave Ramsey, no one needs credit. You can live without it. You save $1000, then start paying down your debts one by one. The majority of your money each month going to one of your debts until its paid off. That's the snowball I talked about earlier. When that's done you pick another debt to snowball and so on and so on until they are all gone. Now, if something happens, as it always does in life, you use that initial savings instead of using your credit. Then you replenish the savings first before going back to snowballing. There is more to it, but that's the general idea.

     Sounds easy. Dave's a smart guy. To someone who believes that, even though she has a great job and enough cash coming in to live comfortably, she may run out of cash at any moment, using cash only is a terrifying concept.

     I have not always been the picture of perfection with finances. To make things worse, there were a few years recently of every appliance in the house giving out, every animal having health problems (they are all seniors), and my car breaking down on a regular basis. Oh, did I mention the dead animals in the attic that needed extracting, too? Anyway, it just made a bad situation worse. While these events were more of an emergency nature, I was just adding on top of the debt I already had...and there I was, just paying minimum payments because I was scared I'd run out of cash for when I really needed it...

     Many of my friend's have been through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Everyone has extolled the virtues of this man and his program. I could not conceive how, with everything breaking down and getting sick, I could even attempt this whole getting out of debt thing. Not to mention, getting over the fear of thinking I'll never have enough cash on hand and may go hungry or homeless or whatever.

     I hated feeling like this. I wanted it to stop. I ordered Dave Ramsey's book from ( and yes, I used a credit card; don't judge.). I had realized I couldn't move forward with "starfishing" if I didn't do something about this part of my life.

     I read it and amazingly I got it. Okay; saved my grand. That was easy; remember, I wasn't spending any cash money... Now to never use credit cards again... if I...uh...

     I was in trouble.  I felt so nervous.  Literally sick with anxiety over the thought of making myself not drag out the plastic.

     ...Then I took the plunge...

     I remember the first cash use only purchase.  A dog.  In the vet's office.  Again.  With the thought of regret coursing through my veins, I handed them my debit card.  The card that would go straight to my bank account.  My cash.  My supposed safety.  It was so tremendously hard letting go of that money.  I had to keep talking myself into it.  "You have a savings now.  It's okay..."

     Then I made it through the next month of bills no problem.  I could pay for everything we needed.  It really was okay.  We didn't go without groceries.  There were no earth shattering events sent straight from the heavens to wipe out my cash and put us on the street.  I was going to be okay.

     The first purchase led to more cash only purchases. Vet bills, a kitchen table and chairs, getting my hair done, getting my oil changed, clothing, a new portable P.A. system for singing through, etc.  All paid for with cash.  Now don't get me wrong.  I don't have an endless supply of cash. I'm not, shall we say, "rolling in it."  I have to save up and budget for things.  The point is I'm not further in debt.  I don't keep adding to it because of my fears.  I just needed someone to show me it would be alright.

     I had a lot of purchases to make over the last week.  Specialized cat food, solution for the air conditioner drain, even a trip to the urgent care for a spider bite I got while gardening.  I did have a few panicky moments for sure because there were a lot of things I needed to purchase and I my internal dialog was seriously worried about having cash.  I would tell myself I had planned well and everything would be alright. 

     Maybe I've got this one.  Maybe I just have to keep telling myself it's okay and I'll be fine as many times as it takes.  Maybe I have to apply that to more than just my finances...

     ...Now...can someone help me do that with the whole Jaws/swimming pool thing (Fear is the Mindkiller - March 15, 2012)?

Happy Fishing!      


No comments:

Post a Comment