When I realized that debt meant that I was broke, and that being broke was normal, I decided I didn’t want to be normal. My life needed a reboot, and I was ready. One year has passed since I’ve turned up the heat and become gazelle intense. There are times that I’ve felt very alone in this journey, especially as a single woman. My family and friends think I’m nuts, and any time I bring up personal finance to my parents, they change the subject as quickly as possible.
I’ve seen my mom’s rolly-eyed look of exhaustion about a thousand times.
Some people just don’t like to talk about this stuff, and now that it’s become a central part of my life, I’ve often turned to the internet to find resources, support, and motivation. Here is what I’ve found. I hope they help you.
1) The Dave Ramsey Podcast. This podcast creates more content than I can listen to. Every week day they upload their live three hour podcast to their website and stream it on a continuous loop. This is great because you can tune in any time that is convenient for you. My other favorite thing about the Dave Ramsey Podcast is that it is a caller-based show. Yes, sometimes Dave goes off on a rant when something irritates him or makes him frustrated, but he’s a funny guy. However, most of the content is devoted to callers who phone in their personal finance questions. They cover subjects like budgeting, marriage and family communication, the debt snowball, dealing with credit card companies, behavior modification, job situations, mortgages and real estate, and every related problem you can think of. Dave has been doing this show for decades, so he has heard every question in the book and is up to date on his information. He knows how people are hurting, and it’s the first thing I suggest to someone who is not happy with their financial life.
Favorite part: Debt-free screams. So emotional. If these people did it, you can do it. I tear up almost every time. Listening on a daily basis helps me stay hungry in the pursuit of my goal.
Whenever I see a single woman do a debt-free scream, I’m usually in sobs – I relate to you, sister! There are so many of us out there.
2) The “Debt is Dum” Youtube Channel. This is a channel run by married couple Josh and Christine who share their life and how they got out of debt. Their adorable family and homestyle approach to becoming free makes their story very sweet. On the brink of divorce, Josh and Christine found a way to reconnect and, through the Financial Peace University class, realized their problems were financial, not personal. Their channel, however, is very personal. They share their feelings, ups and downs, and achievements with their subscribers. Common posts hit on subjects like meals on a budget, raising kids, communication with your partner, and DIY projects around the house. Young couples without kids can take a cue from their wise words – they know how to do it right, because they’ve done it all wrong. They have been in the trenches, yet somehow never sacrificed the quality of life of their kids. They practice “real contentment,” finding happiness in each other, not in material things or spending. Contentment is something I’ve struggled with – and continue to struggle with on a daily basis being a woman who always wants her hand in every pot, wanting to experience everything life has to offer!
Favorite part: Debt-kickin’ Sundays. Josh and Christine take questions from their YouTube subscribers. They also respond to comments on a pretty regular basis. One of their recent vlogs mentioned that they will soon be providing hourly coaching sessions for anybody who wants more in-depth advice.
Whenever I need a little tough love, I watch their channel and it helps me re-commit to the process of delaying gratification and telling my money where to go instead of the other way around.
3) Every Dollar & Mint.com – two of the best online budging tools around. I started on Mint.com, because it lets you connect freely to your bank account, and automatically sorts your purchases into categories – food, clothes, payments, etc. If it doesn’t know what the charge is, it asks you when you log in. Quick… easy… terrifying.
Within seconds of signing up, Mint.com conveniently told me I was spending over $600 on food per month – which included fast food and grocery store trips. Holy. Freakin’. OW. If you need a kick-in-the pants, and are ready for the ugly truth, I suggest you go there immediately. Every Dollar is great for easy budgeting. You pop in your monthly income, expenses, and other payments, and it calculates everything instantly, Excel Spreadsheet style, except it has a much cleaner, fun look to it. It lets you adjust for irregular incomes, and if you’re following the Financial Peace baby step program, it shows you your progress through each step, and how much left you have to go to be on track to a million-dollar retirement.
Another online tool I’ll throw out there is Chris Hogan’s Retirement IQ. If you want to know how much you need to retire based on your age and income, it’s a good idea. Chris Hogan also hosts Retire Inspire, a motivational speaking retreat and workshop. And, damn, if you haven’t heard the sound of his voice, he’s… he’s just got an amazing speaking voice! Does he do movie trailers or something?!
Favorite Part: The little pie charts on Mint.com, and the horror they instilled in me when I finally saw where all of my money was going. The best part of online budgeting tools, in general, is if you’re a couple, each of you can log in anytime to view your budget or make a change.
There’s no need to squeeze two chairs together at a table cluttered with papers with teeny-weeny numbers written over the place. God, no! There’s a better way.
Do you have any resources you’d like to add to the list? Leave me a comment and let me know so I can potentially feature it on my blog.