I started off with TMMO from the library

I finally bought it when it was on sale for $10.
I got FPU I think 2 years ago because the group leader hosting it told me I could bring all my kids with me for free (I have 3 at home) and I wanted them to learn the steps and change their mindset. DH would not go with us.
Last year I bought Foundations in Personal Finance (it is literally FPU but in a slightly different order because it is geared towards high schoolers who don’t have debt (hopefully.)) But I got it when it was on a mega sale, I think it was like $50 or something like that plus free shipping.
I bought FP Junior on ebay for a song…so far it’s the only one of DR’s products I think is not worth the money. I bought Generations Change earlier this summer, I think they were reworking it and clearing out their current inventory because I got it for like…$24? Something like that.
I bought Foundations because I knew DH would never attend an FPU class, even though we can go for free, forever. There was another one in our town, and he went to like, 2, then refused to go anymore. So I figured with Foundations DVDs, maybe someday he would be interested to watch.
If you belong to a Sam’s Club or Costco, often they will have DR bundles for around $30, which include software, envelopes, a “wallet”, TMMO and a couple of session DVDs–I think Debt Snowball is one of them.
Really, as has been posted here, check your library. If you belong to Amazon Prime, you might be able to borrow it for free–i haven’t looked, but it might be there. And check eBay. You never know if you might find one.

I’m a perfect example of one who has not spent a single penny

on DR—thanks to Eldred, who gifted me a book. Prior to that I had to get in que to check it out of the library. It’s a good thing I could do it for free because at the time we got going we had zero money.
I plan on paying it forward as time goes on. Our mortgage payoff party will include a stack of the current version of TMMO (bought on a sale of course) that is flanked by a sign that says “This is how we got totally debt free, if you want to join us in our financial freedom take a copy for free.” Or something similar.

Another way places get around the law

is to offer “discounts” for cash. We see this a lot while traveling on fuel. In some states we’ve seen as much as ten cents a gallon discount for cash. Even better some consider debit cards cash even if you run it through as a credit card. Figure that one out.
I was certainly glad to see OK was one of the states that did not allow the companies to pass it on to their customers because then it would have meant cash only for certain because many of our banks will charge you to use a debit card as a debit at places like Wal-Mart, and not charge you to use them as a credit card.So we would not have been able to purchase our diesel at a good savings at Sam’s Club if it was legal here because they don’t take cash for fuel and it would have cost us to use the debit card to purchase fuel there. That would have complicated matters greatly since there are no Wal-Marts on the way home from dh/ds work and while you can use a Wal-Mart gift card to pay for fuel at Rodney’s it would have been an extra hassle to get the gift card at Wal-Mart to use it at Rodney’s.
Jan who figures her family will be going more and more to strictly cash in the months to come any way, but knows where fuel is concerned dh will not go for it in OK


Costco is cheaper by about .05cents a gallon than ARCO here, but they won’t take CASH!! How dumb is that? Gas is one of the few things we make sure we pay cash for, because it is the one thing that if we overspend elsewhere, we can’t rob Peter to pay for it.
Costco annoys me anyway. Their CEO must have been a DR graduate. You can only pay for things two ways: cash/check, or DEBIT card.
Sonja not saying they should take CC, just annoys me that they WON’T and their prices aren’t any better than the retail stores, which is why they say they don’t take CC “to keep their prices down.”

Started off with $140

DD16’s college fees had to come out of that (went from $9 to $16 to $36 effective Jan 1) So now I was down to $104.

$25 at Costco for 8 gallons of milk and 18ct eggs (the milk will last 2 weeks, as I freeze it.)$27 fruits & vegetables (evidently the Almighty answered DH’s juicing prayers: found a store which had carrots on sale for .33/# and apples for .79/#, bought 30#/carrots 18# apples)$21 peanut butter, 5# yeast (for bread), a bunch of beets, 4 cucumbers
leaving about $31 in the checking account for other grocery incidentals. of that, I’ll probably need about another $5 for beets & other greens. We found a great vegetable produce store near my son’s co-op/school but that is 26 miles away, so I can only go there on the days he is at co-op.
what’s ironic, is that we are eating better, for less $ than I normally spend. granted, other than yeast, I didn’t have to buy any staples (i.e., toilet paper, trash can liners, sugar, meat etc.), though I would have liked some bacon to make ranch style beans, and I may break down and buy a pound. we’ll see.
like Rosalind, what’s really impressed me this month is that if I switch things around a bit (i.e., buy my staples with the 1st check of the month where I am paying bills and getting out of debt where I have a bit more of a cushion) then use the 2nd check of the month just for essentials, it might work out better for us. granted, it just happened that we found a gigantic deal on produce, but it makes the point of being aware. maybe even set aside an additional $100 from the 1st check for groceries to help supplement the 2nd check.

I’m finally back on email

after 3 days of no contact except via smartphone. Whose bill is due this week but I’ll be a little happier paying it, since I was able to stay in contact with customers during the service outage.
Been a big week here:
1) that combine that we’ve been agonizing over, and which I was able to make a VERY good business case for buying, was sold to someone else while we deliberated. That first felt like a Murphy moment (“augh, if only we’d decided sooner!”) but then it became a Millie moment when I learned what the sales price was. I had learned about it as an eBay auction that didn’t meet the reserve, so I had started our deliberations with some “feel” for how much it would cost, but not a fixed “he’ll accept this amount”. Turns out, his reserve was 2x what we were comfortably able to pay. So the Millie moment came that we’ve done all this business break-even analysis, and now we know a lot better how much we can afford to pay and how much we can afford to do with it, and the search has begun for a combine we CAN afford. Furthermore, the hog sale in early April which would have funded this purchase, would have been totally wiped out by the cost of that particular combine. Now we can put that money towards a variety of purposes, including debt, sinking funds, future projects, or some combo, AND still shop for another combine that doesn’t cost as much. I’m chalking this up as a “win”. Two years ago, I just would have slapped this on credit and been done. I like this new way of doing things better.
2) I was able to talk to the county about our logging situation, and they told me of not one but TWO ways we can proceed with logging our property without having the moratorium slapped on us. So now I’m reviewing those two options, to see which one pencils out the best for us. We’ll definitely be able to log the property now, and either save costs by having our own lumber to build with, and/or earn money by selling the lumber. We might also be able to get a break on the land taxes by going through what’s called a land use conversion. So, I have 5 acres of gazelle feed out there several steps closer to harvest. Again, what I was viewing as a Murphy arrangement of rules/regs might work out to be a Millie arrangement instead, by carefully navigating how we want to proceed and making the most of what we have, within the limits of what’s legal for our property. There have been times I’ve been tempted to try to either forget about it as being too much of a hassle, or just start logging and hope the county wouldn’t notice (that sounds absurd but out here tree poaching is actually a fairly active, and lucrative, crime industry). Neither of those options felt right, and I’m glad we’ll be working above board. Chalk another one up for Lucy.
So, starting the new week with email (yay!) and two very big wins for the farm as a biz, and for the finances as we take deliberate steps towards a financial future WE design, proactively. Much, much better than how we would have done things several years ago. Thanks to you folks and thanks to Dave!

I love reading this

I like how you and your husband are learning to collectively come to decisions based upon what you each have to bring to the table. It’s not all slated in one’s direction; you two are working together as a team. I think this is how we all end up winning in the end in this process. It can’t be just one person making all the decisions and shouldering all of the responsibility. It may be a lot easier doing it this way from time to time, but I don’t think it’s what makes us a success at the end.

Long story short

Mell, your recent “whining” email really resonated with me, because this debate over these big-ticket decisions has really flushed out some fundamental differences of opinion between my DH and I. I’m the entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to take some risk now and then if we have a reasonable chance of return. But DH is VERY cautious about purchases and/or investing; he doesn’t want any risk at all and can come up with reasons not to do things until the sun burns out. In the past, that discrepancy has caused a lot of friction. The combine is the single biggest purchase we’ll have made since the DR class, and the logging activity is the single biggest project we’ll ever have undertaken here on the property. Furthermore, once those trees come down we can’t really stand them back up if we don’t like the results. So in both of these contexts, we’ve both really had to push our personal comfort zones to find ways to meet in the middle. I won’t say we’re done with that process yet – we haven’t actually logged the property yet or purchased the combine. But now we recognize that while the other person’s arguments might seem like they’re coming from The Great Beyond of Absurdity (and yes we do have more than a few moments of defensiveness), both approaches have merit and deserve to be heard. I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll reach decisions on both, that we can both live with. I sincerely hope you’re able to reach the same level of compromise with your DH, in your ongoing budget conversations.

Two aren’t really “debts” in the normal sense (baseball and ASB)

These are school fees for DS17 which they have been nice enough to let me pay on installments. Baseball has to be taken care of on our next check, but ASB i can break down into smaller payments or just pay it off on our next check.
Kohls has a separate gazelle account–it is scheduled for complete payoff next check. On top of that, I have $800 to put toward debt snowball….GBR has to come out of that (it’s DH’s website fee), bringing my true debt snowball down to $683. I’m thinking I’d rather pay off WalMart in its entirety and most of Household cc ($65 balance) than pay off HH and leave a balance on WM.
Once those 3 (kohls, WM, HH) are paid off, I should have $75 a month to throw at HSBC. This of course, assumes that the IRS doesn’t come knocking at my door first. I am going to write them an offer in compromise and see if they’ll take half. I scheduled $1100 towards the IRS bill our first check in March. If they accept it as payment in full, great. If not, they’ll get the $1100 in March and the other $1k in April. I am moving them ahead of HSBC & Comerica CCs–they have a nastier pay up or else letter .
On the other hand, I may have to use that $800 in February to make travel arrangements for DD21’s college graduation. I budgeted it for April, but the hotel part of it might have to be done in February so I can lock in dirt cheap rates. I don’t really want to have to drive it (I’d rather take the train) as the costs are about the same, but I may have to if train rates rise substantially.

Once upon a time, I obtained a credit card

from Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank when they first came to the U.S. That was almost 6 years ago. Our credit card balance quickly became $1,300, which happens to be $300 over limit, and the account was closed within the first year or so.
Paying the minimums, my balance 6 years later is $686 ! So if I were not doing the baby steps knocking out other bills and working my way to this one (it’s #4 on the list of 8) it would take me ANOTHER 6 years (roughly) to pay it completely off.
Wow. There’s a wake up call. 12 years in debt servitude for 1 year (at most) of pleasure. And it wasn’t even pleasure, it went to things like groceries, gas for the car, etc—basically living on credit chiefly because our spending was out of control.

Well, you can actually take the number

given in the e-mail and look up the package on the UPS or FedEx site. It’s shows as a real package, normally with a delivery date of the next day. Not sure how the scammers are doing that. Maybe it’s a troubleshooting number for
the UPS or FedEx websites, or something. If only these devious people would use their energies for good and not evil, they probably would have solved homelessness, joblessness, and world hunger…

So frustrating!

You have given all the resources and information, but you are correct – it’s all attitude. My parents are business owners and two managers just bought brand new cars. They know the employees can’t afford the payments… and even if they do, it is setting them back from where they could be.

So many need attitude adjustments and the realization that they need to take charge of their own lives and be responsible for their debts, bills and future. *sigh* sore spot with me. J

Good for you, though, for doing what you could to steer them right.

I watch a house for an elderly neighbor

Her daughter moved her to assisted living near her and her husband to full nursing care. Mom just doesn’t want to let go of the house, but she can’t live alone–can’t drive and can barely see. Her son doesn’t seem to care and her step kids don’t care about either parent. They are coming up on the 1 yr mark of this arrangement and the daughter is really pushing her mom to sell the house. She has shelled out money for the a/c unit, the landscapers, the car in the garage and then they sometimes send me money because I’m watching the house.

I guess I’ll keep on watching the house, I know that there are people that want to buy it if/when they go to sell.

We have had that trouble with my dfil

going back to when my dmil was still alive. She passed in 2014. We have tried telling dfil that he can get things like meals on wheels, and such just so he doesn’t have to try to cook for one, etc, and he won’t have anything to do with it. According to him, he “manages just fine.” No, he is not weatlthy and living as a miser. He is not wealthy but he is not penniless either, just stubborn.

He cannot do many of the things he used to enjoy, like fishing. It is harder to maintain his place and get yard work done. Yet he won’t consider moving 5 hours south to south Louisiana where his 2 grown kids are. Of course we are selfish, wanting him closer so we can keep a better eye on him. 😉 We would all chip in (1 son, 1 dd, and the outlaws LOL) to help set him up physically and financially in a place upon selling his current home. However, he will hear nothing of it yet.

My fear is of him falling, having a heart attack (he’s a former quad bypass patient), stroke, etc. while alone. He lives rurally and I can’t say he has someone check on him every day, those probably many days. It is hard. We want him to be indepedent but know that his needs are met.

Self -help books are

some of the hardest books to read, they usually rank with text books. Don’t take it personal that people haven’t read or applied the book to their lives. I just think that is part of our human nature.

For instance, I’m dealing right now with a 73 year old woman who is a caregiver for her 98 year old mother. She has yet to see that services are available to her, based on her age alone. She uses her mom’s wheelchair as her walker for instance. Even when her mom isn’t with her at the grocery store, she has her mom’s wheel chair but flat out denies she needs a walking aid. In her eyes she’s the child and she’s not an elder – her mom is.

Years ago..

when dh’s last living grandparents were still around, they hosted a July 4th reunion. Actually the summer we were to marry, they held a shower for us. Very sweet.

Now you must know that these reunions were in Louisiana and it always HOT, HOT, HOT. Did I say it was (is) hot? Much of the time we were outside at these reunions. Dh’s grandfather was a stickler for NOT running the a/c. We all just had to suffer together. It was not that they couldn’t afford it, they just didn’t run it.

Back in 1986 dh’s sister and I were both pregnant and due in October. I distinctly remember dh’s aunt going to dh’s grandpa (her father in law) and saying, “We have 2 pregnant women here and they need to be in air conditioning.” She then went in and turned on the a/c. That is the first time I ever remember them running it. Guess where my dsil and I stayed the rest of the day? LOL

What are your good and bad 4 the memories?

The good: Mine are the ones early in our marriage were we would get together with dh’s family and all their family friends for a major pot luck meal, homemade ice cream and a huge fireworks show. One in particular still makes me smile, my niece was tiny, just big enough to enjoy poppers (those little things your throw down) and that was the only firework she wanted anything to do with. My dbil ended up buying out every popper in a 50 mile radius he could find because her delight was so big with them. That niece is now old enough that her dd just graduated high school, but she still loves Poppers.

The Bad: Involves that same niece as well. She is very special to us and when she was about 6 she was at our house for the cul de sac display. Many of her fireworks wouldn’t go off for some reason. She had graduated to Roman Candles by then and not a one of them would go off. Dh got the ‘bright’ idea to make a black powder fuse for one. Apparently when he did he got some bp on his hands and …nuff said. He wouldn’t go to ER, but he did agree to pain pills for a few days afterwards. Luckily it was just a bad burn and he didn’t lose a finger, which he very well could have.

For the student loans

I get a cancellation in 2020 even with a balance so it doesn’t really matter that it gets paid off. Because I owe so much, I would never be able to make a regular payment so I am on the income based plan. it automatically cancels after 25 years of payments. yes, I know that TS would say that I should just pay it anyway, but this is one time that I plan on taking advantage of the cancellation. I pay 541 each month (installment loans for bad credit) and it barely touches the principal. We’re two moms with Ph.D.s so together we have 157,000 in student loans. Most of that is mine because my parents did not pay for my undergraduate years and because I have two masters’ degrees. But, in 7 more years, about 90,000 of that will be gone. If I had it to do again, I’d find a way to go to school without the loans, but I did not know any better at the time. Right now, my partner has 47,000 in student loans and hers we have to pay off. That’s still a lot, but it’s a better number than the first and her interest rate is only 3 percent. So, when we are ready to snowball the student loans, the money will go into hers. I’m hoping that it can be gone in those 7 years.

I am pretty good at figuring out numbers so I’ll probably try and run them myself. It’ll just take some reading up on the rules. I like to do it myself so that i understand where the numbers came from. But, if I can’t figure it out, then I think I’ll find someone to help us.


I know it’s hard to hitch up a partner’s finances (and their financial “style”) to our own. My DH and I are still working on it, after taking FPU almost two years ago. My DH is the type who spends very little but feels justified in spending what he does, since he’s the bigger bread earner by far. So any suggestions to change his spending is a hard, hard sell, no pun intended. Meanwhile I pay all the bills and all the farm bills and set aside money for the sinking funds and some days yes I lose track of this-or-that detail. I use Quicken which helps but I still manage to lose track sometimes. It’s a work in progress. Kudos to both of you for getting started on that work.

Yes, this was the case

Things have changed somewhat. She gave me all of her information so that we could put it all together and in front of us.

It turns out that she wants to be on board, but struggles with the issue of paying attention to the details. She hates to keep track of it all. I offered to be the one to do that for both of us and that was when she offered up all of her information.

She works for the DOD so we are facing a 20 percent cut in her pay for 11 weeks starting sometime in July. It is hard to come up with a joint budget until I know what the exact numbers are, but i put together a plan for a snowball repayment with two different options and presented them. She picked the one that she liked best and we are going to get started. We leave for vacation in two days. Once we get, we will be in a better position to figure out an 11 week budget.

Her spending tends to be the impulse kind and she just doesn’t pay attention to how much it adds up to. I ran the numbers and discovered that she is paying 600 dollars a month in interest – no wonder she can’t get that paid off. She has paid off 10 thousand in the last year so it’s not like she hasn’t been working towards it somewhat, but she could have done better if she had paid attention. Both of us have been doing things like buying clothing, etc. at thrift stores for over a year and she has been good about that. it’s more the seeing something cool at Target while picking up a prescription and then just adding it to her credit card. That’s the stuff that needs to stop. She had no idea how bad things were because she just hasn’t noticed. Now, she’ll have me to point it out to her monthly.

I know that DV doesn’t advocate this, but i went through and found a way to transfer balances so that her interest payments will only be about 100 dollars a month. That means that 500 dollars more each month will go to the principal balance. With my debt, I am only paying about 12 dollars of interest a month. Plus, even my highest interest card is only 13 percent and that one has no balance. My card with a balance is only 7 percent. Now, we should be able to start making some progress. It’ll still be a few years before it is all paid off, but I feel so much better knowing that we are doing it together.

2 Melani –

Am I remembering correctly that your partner originally wasn’t very interested in DG, but that situation has slowly changed over time? And that your partner is slowly getting ‘on the bandwagon’ in terms of sharing information about debt repayment, staying on a budget, etc? If so, very good news! I wasn’t sure if I was remembering correctly but hopefully that’s the case.
I agree that regardless of gender status for married couples or those contemplating marriage, getting on the same page financially is very very good news and prudent planning. I didn’t with either of my DH’s prior to getting hitched, and that was an issue in my divorce from my first husband. My current DH and I have come a long way towards getting on the same page, and it’s made SUCH a huge difference.
In any case, here’s hoping you are able to clearly sort out which type of legal status works best for you and your partner. I don’t envy you the task of sorting that out but at least now you have that option.

My partner and I are looking at everything to see if it makes sense financially for us to get legally married

We live in Maryland and that law recently passed. We had a religious ceremony in 2008, but it is not recognized since it was done in Utah by the Unitarian church.

The thing is that right now, I am on an income based repayment plan for my student loans. If we were legally married, I’d have to include her income in my reporting. Plus, we each take out funds for flex spending and we could not take out as much if we had to do it combined. But, I am now eligible to go on my partner’s health benefits and retirement benefits. So, we are going to look at it all closely before we decided when the time if right to make it official and legal.

In the meantime, we have decided to do a trial run of combining our finances in our snowball, etc. as well as a combined budget. I am figuring the numbers today. Before we legally get tied to each other, I want to know that we are on the same page financially.

Here (in Massachusetts):

the first state to legalize gay marriage, couples have had to fill out MULTIPLE tax returns.
First, federal tax return as married (one if filing together, two if married filing separately, three if you need to compare)
Second, do the state return using the married numbers from above
Third, do the ‘real’ federal tax returns as two single people because they were not allowed to file as married

People joke about the privilege of paying taxes together, but seriously it was a huge and expensive pain for married gay couples to file up until now.

On the plus side, in the first five years, legalized gay marriage brought Massachusetts an estimated $111 million in increased tourist revenue. Big boom for the local wedding industries.

Recent Supreme Court Rulings on Same-Sex Marriage…Tax implications?

I wonder what the federal tax implications for same-sex couples will be in light of last week’s rulings. Will be interesting to see how it plays out next tax season.

I have felt the last couple of weeks that

I just have not had anything ” new to share” as far as homework is concerned… but I realized something today that is very dave ramsey..
What I have learned…
Yep, the bills are getting paid but they have been for awhile… but when we got hit with christopher’s college tuition… when he decided to go to a private vs a public school, we had the DR tools to attack that bill and get it paid. We had a game plan for going gazelle, selling old stuff, eating from the pantry, I taught a couple basketry classes, our son used his lifeguard certification to work a 2nd job…. He will finish his junior year in college only 5000 in debt…. which isn’t great but from 30,000 its not bad at all!