I am going to start with a very surprising statistic: The average family pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first 90 days of taking Financial Peace University (source). Wow. Those are some impressively large numbers.
(This picture was taken before we started the course. Now Dan would be hugging that box.)
Over the last 9 weeks, I have told every person i know about this incredible course. If you need help with money, debt, retirement, buying a house, your marriage, etc, this course is for you. Do yourself a favor and take it. Please.
When we started our leader told us, "this class will change your life." When I heard that I was skeptical, but now I am telling you, THIS CLASS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Here are some things I saw saved in the first 9 weeks of FPU -
-Money Those numbers above are from the 12 week course, which was just decreased to a 9 week course. Dan and I didn't quite make the average, but we were darn close.
-Marriages Because I love to watch people, during the first weeks of the class I saw many couples who truly needed help. They sat far away from each other. The only time they looked at each other was when Dave would say we shouldn't be doing something and one would give an I told you so look to the other. During the middle of the course I could tell they were coming together, sitting closer, working as a team on their budget, etc. In the last class, these very same couples had their arms around each other, were whispering / giggling in each others' ears. It was like watching a miracle occur right in front of me. Although Dan and I weren't divided because of money, I feel like making a plan together and sticking to it has really brought us closer.
-My math skills I have spent the last 10 years paying for everything with either a credit or debit card. So, switching to cash has been painful, but not in the way that I expected. I am one of those "exact change" people, and so I always try to give as close as possible to that and not fill up my wallet / envelope. The problem was that I kept on giving people the wrong amount - usually too much. The cashiers would just stare at me like, "are you serious?" One time Dan was with me and he just laughed and told the poor girl, "She doesn't get out much." The sad thing is, I do math for a living. It is a good thing I am brushing up on these skills now, instead of when Margaret is learning about money in school. I don't want to fail her.
-Family Fun One night, while Dan was getting money out of our envelopes for something he laughed and said, "this is actually fun." I agree. Anytime either one of us needs something from the envelopes it forces us to sit down, think about how much we need that day, and talk. If we were still using our credit cards, I would have just seen it on the statement at the end of the month. Watching the number rise in our savings account together has also been incredibly fun.
-Appreciation Making a budget for restaurants and entertainment and sticking to it has made us really appreciate the opportunities we get to use the money. I can't tell you how much more I enjoy going out to eat two to three times per month instead of two to three times per week.
Again, I cannot say enough wonderful things about FPU. Please, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Dan and I already plan to take it again once we get over the first two baby steps.
Dave's Christmas Budget Form - I am currently using something very similar to this in Excel
Week 4: Dumping Debt (<--- my favorite lesson)