I first learned about Dave Ramsey, the financial guru who cuts up credit cards, when I was working in Italy. My colleague said Financial Peace University, which they attended through their local church, helped him and his wife finally gain freedom from their debt. I was debt free at the time, but I was intrigued by this Christian man from Tennessee who could teach finances in a way that I had never heard it taught before. This no-nonsense, wise man used Biblical principles to help people win with money. So, that Christmas of 2011, I was working in Mons, Belgium on behalf of NCIS. It seemed like the small town rolled the sidewalks up at about 6:00 PM every night because of the holiday season. There was nothing for me to do after work, so I spent my nights back in my hotel room reading and highlighting Ramsey's best-selling book, "The Total Money Makeover." The lessons I learned started a chain reaction that would save my dog's life years later...
Dave Ramsey is the person who taught me the urgency of creating an emergency savings account. The stories and guidance in his book inspired me. I telephoned my wife from Belgium and told her what I had been learning. She could sense my optimism and excitement. I told her I was creating a joint money market account that we'd use for emergencies. We'd each put 50 bucks per month into that account. That's it. Only 50 bucks. We wouldn't even notice such an amount. Later, we'd each increase it by an additional 50 bucks per month.
As Dave likes to remind us, Grandma tells us to save for a rainy day, because one day it's gonna rain. Sure enough, in 2015, our one year old Chocolate Lab, Piper, was laying on my chest while I was watching television from the sofa. She started having head tremors. When I would call her name, it'd stop. But then it start right back up. I knew something was wrong. I loaded her in the Dodge Challenger and we headed straight to the 24-hour clinic. The vet found an anomoly--an intestinal cyst the size of a softball. He said it needed to be surgically removed ASAP because it was on the verge of rupturing and killing her. He said he'd be willing to perform the surgery, but he really recommended a surgeon because of its location to so many sensitive organs. The emergency visit, medications, x-rays, and surgery would cost $6,500!!! Wow, that was shocking to Heidi and me! Piper was only a year old. We didn't have pet insurance, and some friends and family members even encouraged me to spare the expense and let Piper die. But my wife and I had $6,500 in our emergency savings account, all because of "Total Money Makeover" from Christmas of 2011. We used that money and Piper underwent the surgery. She made a full recovery and is a strong, healthy member of our family that brings us joy every day. Thank you, Dave!
PS: So when our church hosted Dave Ramsey's nine-week Financial Peace University course in January 2019, we signed up. To learn how we paid off $119,287.89 of debt in only nine weeks, click here.