Sometimes I complain about the amount of punctuation DFF uses in her e-mails.
DFF = Debt-free friend, and she is the one who got us started on our journey out of debt. In several posts, I have referred to the friend who brought over a CD version of Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. That book shifted our course, and that friend was DFF. She is not someone who can relate to our struggles with money because she has never had any. With a much lower income than our combined earnings, this stay-at-home mom of four is far wealthier than most people I know. “I’m not a writer,” she said to me when I asked her to write this post. “I’ll edit,” I assured her. “Just use your own voice.” DFF is a force of nature, and I believe her voice is loud and clear. (Just look at her opening line.)
Acknowledging strength in $-management (without boasting)
EVERYBODY IS GOOD AT SOMETHING!!!!
I promise I’m not boasting. I’m just telling it like it is. When it comes to managing money, saving money, finding good deals, and getting the biggest bang for the buck – it all comes naturally for me. My parents taught me well, and I got it!! So it’s been automatic for a long time. I only ever had debt in the past for a mortgage (11 years) and vehicles (1-2 years when I’ve chosen not to take money out of investments that are doing well). I have been mortgage-free, completely debt-free, since before I hit my mid-thirties. And savings have been growing and growing.
A brief history of DFF’s money-management
I am the youngest of 5 kids – all grown with families of our own now. I started babysitting at 14 and kept very good records of the hours I worked, the money I made, and where it was spent. By the age of 21, I had bought a rental property. By the age of 23, I had bought a house of my own too. The rental property paid for itself and proved to be a good investment when I sold it after 13 years. I have never once paid interest on consumer debt. I never bought a consumer item unless I had the money to pay for it. I chose NOT to do all the things everyone else was doing to get deeper into debt … and often I stood alone in doing so. I was OK with that though. It was never a problem for me to say, “No – because I have to pay my bills.” My 4 kids range in age from 14 to 19, and I am trying to instill good money sense into them. I tell them, “It is easier to be tight with money and loosen up later than to be loose with money and try to tighten up later.”
I always know exactly how much I am spending and where it goes!! Every 2 weeks, I withdraw cash from the bank according to my budget. I not only ask for a specific amount, but for a specific denominations breakdown – fifteen $20-bills, for instance, and twenty $10-bills. I like it all in order with the bills going the same way. I often hear myself saying to a bank teller, “Well … no one is going to look after it (the money) for me.” I regularly have money left over at the end of a 2-week period.
DFF – accountability partner for debtors
I always say, “It’s not how much money you make, but what you do with what you have.” I can easily find ways to save money, and I can easily see where others can too. Even though the whole money thing comes naturally for me, I still love to listen or be in conversations with others about this stuff. I get new ideas that I can use or pass along to others who might find it helpful. I have had the opportunity to work alongside some people who wanted the accountability to get rid of their debts. For me, it’s a real privilege to take on this role. I love cheering people on! Not everybody wants help with their finances though – not even the ones who need it most. I find so often that people don’t even admit to having weaknesses with money.
DFF’s areas of struggle
I think I have some understanding of their struggle though. There are times when I am annoyed with myself when I do not choose to use the same principles and disciplines that I have with money in other areas of my life. For example, “Do I really need to have that cookie? I am not hungry, so why am I eating? I am full … but it tastes so good!! I really should go for a bike ride, a walk, or a work-out.” My struggle is in this question: How can I be so effective at “taking care of business” but not apply all of those good qualities and that self-control in the areas of eating, exercising, and getting other stuff done?
One of the biggest things I have observed that is helpful today for people in any area of challenge is … to acknowledge it, and have someone who you trust to be accountable to, and who will keep you on track and ask the tough questions.
Do you have someone to be accountable to in finances or other areas? Do you find that, for some reason, you don’t transfer your effectiveness in one area of life to another?
Comments are welcome!!!!!