I wholeheartedly recommend to you anything written or spoken by Dave Ramsey. I don’t get paid to promote any of his materials, but I have found his insights on financial matters to be valuable in my life, and I can’t say enough about how beneficial he could be to your situation today. He has a variety of books and videos, maintains a website full of resources, and hosts a regular radio program. His methods of budgeting, saving and spending have helped thousands of people get out of debt and get in control of their money.
His first “baby step” towards financial freedom is simply to have a $1,000 emergency fund saved up, only to be use in case of emergency (and he’s quick to tell you, “Ordering pizza on Friday night is not an emergency!”) You can get this $1,000 in a variety of ways: having a garage sale, putting aside some tax refund money, working a second job, or not going out to eat so much, for example. It takes discipline and effort, but with that emergency fund in the bank (or under your mattress, or in a coffee can in the cupboard), you have peace of mind and heart and can reduce stress and panic in your home.
News reports tell us that almost half of us aren’t prepared for a $400 emergency, and more than half of us have less than one month’s salary in savings. It is not healthy or wise to live this way. What would you do if your cell phone broke, or your car or truck? What if the electric bill is a little high from last month because it was a minus 40 cold snap? Maybe all the kids are sick and the pharmacy is your best friend this week? A $1,000 emergency fund is helpful in many situations.
I first went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course in 2004, and I’m doing it again this year to “freshen up”. It was helpful to my family then as we had lots of credit card debt and little savings. Over time, we used his principles to change our lives around and not get “the short end of the stick”. Emergencies and crises continue to happen, and always will, but Dave Ramsey’s approach has been a blessing. You can access his website here.