In his 2009 best seller, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, Dave Ramsey introduced me to his Seven Baby Steps. The first baby step is to save $1000 in the savings account.
Saving $1000 in the savings account is an important first step. Dave rightly points out that things will happen to derail you from reaching financial peace of mind. Without cash, we would have been forced to go back to using our credit cards to pay for the unexpected.
It was around that time that my wife and I were effectively broke. We were drowning in credit card debt and school loans. I also got into a car crash without auto insurance. Between these and rent in Los Angeles, life was miserable.
Whenever we would get paid, we would take a little for ourselves to go out and have sushi, and the rest went to bills and an even larger portion went to the credit cards.
One day, we drove over a pothole on 3rd Street and it destroyed the front right tire of my 2004 Audi A4 Avant Quattro; it was an old car. Because I could not afford to replace the broken tire, I drove on the spare donut for months until it too broke. At this point, I was forced to replace the original tire and the donut.
I still did not have any money to replace them so the expense went on the credit card. I don’t remember how much it all cost, but I remember we owed credit cards over fifty thousand dollars. It was easier to ignore our balances.
One day, a long-time friend of mine mentioned to me The Total Money Makeover book. I was skeptical. He relayed to me the points Dave Ramsey made in the book, but I had a smart rebuttal for all of them. It was my knee-jerk superiority complex kicking in. Although I couldn’t articulate it immediately, if I am absolutely honest, I was curious. I ordered a copy from Amazon.
When the book arrived, I read it in a couple of days. The way Dave explained things were simply inarguable than the way my friend did. In each passing chapter, I began to believe that financial peace was attainable. And by the end of the book, I had already set in my mind that I will go through Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps.
I told my wife about the book. At first, she too reacted the same way I had reacted to my friend. It took us a few months to get on board, but while she was still figuring things out, I had already begun.
At the time, my income was quite low for Los Angeles and being saddled with other obligatory payments, it took me about one month to save $1000 in my savings account.