We’ve known Dave Ramsey for a long time. A really long time. And while I would charge the gates of hell with him, side by side with nothing but water pistols, I do have to say that I have had…oooooh…moments of doubt. I know, I know, it’s crazy, but you have to realize that until ten years ago, we….dare I say it…weren’t following the plan. We were friends with Dave and Sharon, but didn’t realize how stupid we were being. So when we started the plan, a little tool popped up for us to use: the . To which I said, “That’s just silly. I’m not carrying that around.”
In case you don’t know, the purpose of the envelope system is to take the budget that you should have done, spending money on paper before the month begins, and filling the envelope with cash for the budget categories that you don’t just write checks for, like bills. Examples would be groceries, eating out, entertainment, clothing, etc. (In one guys case he had a pot envelope. Yes, pot. When he realized how much he was spending a month on pot, he quit smoking.) So if you budget $100 for entertainment, that’s all you end up spending. When the envelope is empty, you go home and count the number of ketchup packets you have in the fridge for entertainment instead.
And me in all of my brilliance, thought that I had a better way. But we did something that I thought was pretty smart. We collected receipts on things that we bought for a couple of weeks. It was just something that I wanted to see out of curiosity. When I saw how much money was being spent at the BP on just sodas and junk food, I became a huge proponent of the envelope system. It was ridiculous! We quickly decided that Dave was right….’cause Dave was right, and we began making giant steps towards getting control of our finances, and getting out of debt.
We hit it hard for a year and got completely out of debt except for the house. We went on a work trip, where we tagged a couple of vacation days on, and I forgot to get the budget done and the money for the envelope system. But I thought, “It’s no big deal, I’ll just use my debit card and keep track in my head what we’ve spent. I won’t go over.” Well, I’m sure you know what happened next.
So next time you see something that seems a little silly, maybe spend a few minutes actually learning what its purpose really is. It just might save you some trouble.
Now I know those of you reading this have had a similar experience. Comment about it.