I was at Borders with my daughter and husband, Molly and Rob respectively. We were doing our regular tag team browsing - I take Molly and read to her while Rob looks for his books then we switch. As I was looking for a quiet spot for Molly and I to read we plopped in a comfy chair with an ottoman in what turned out to be the Financial Book section. When Rob came to take over I grabbed a book called "I Will Teach You To Be Rich!" by Ramit Sethi. I Will Teach You To Be Rich Who can resist a title like that? The cover said it is a six week program. That is what I need - an actual program - like a diet for money! "Give me six weeks and you will be 10 dress sizes smaller!" Right up my alley!
I need to go back here and just let you see a snippet of my relationship with money. It is actually very close to my relationship with food and exercise if I really think of it. I am a miser...for a long time. I scrimp, I save (I decide to lose weight, I measure food, I eat healthy - I start my exercise regimen) then I collapse. We go out to eat followed by a trip to Borders followed by a trip to Target (I eat a piece of cake or chips and "don't have time" to exercise) and am right back at square one.
Unfortunately I am no financial genius nor is my husband. We are both the youngest in our families and I think that it made us financially challenged. We were always taken care of by our older siblings and parents. We are just stupid when it comes to money. We do live in an incredibly expensive city and while we earn enough to survive I know we could do so much better.
Hence the drive to stop this cycle and get on a path of financial gain and responsibility.
So I have read the first two chapters of Ramit's book. Let me just say that I feel like a doofus because he wrote this book targeting people fresh out of college and I am a thirty five year old woman who was fresh out of college in 1996. I think back to all the wasted money and I could just kick myself. BUT that is not why I am here. I need to stop looking back and move forward.
I am planning on making it a two part project - first, get financially savvy with the money I make and spend now and second, make more money. Getting ourselves out of debt, avoiding late charges and still having a little left over to occassionally go out to eat followed by Borders followed by Target is just the first half. I want to save money. I don't want a (recent) trip to the auto shop to totally get us behind on all our bills and in a black money pit of late charges. I also need to generate more money. I am a teacher and that is one of the downfalls of teaching. No matter how many hours I put in either at the school or at home - there is no overtime. (My husband does not have the possibility of overtime either.)
So back to Ramit:
In chapter one it is all about optimizing your credit cards. The first thing we did was sit down and list all of our cards, including monthly payments, total money owed and APRs. We decided which card we are going to pay off first. We decided to pay off the credit card with the lowest amount due first (The Snowball Effect- check out my savvy terminology!) We thought that it would psychologically feel good for us to pay something off. So there we are. I know, some of you are going to argue that we should go with the highest APR but according to Ramit (I just don't like saying Raw-Meat - don't tell but I call him Ram IT! in my head) you should not waste time deciding...choose one and do it. So we did!
Step one - done.