giving up on good, less fuss

giving up on good 4

I have to say this.  I love what Dave Ramsey is about.

We do not follow Dave Ramsey’s financial prescriptions.  I love his ideas and I know he has had success and led many others along the same path.

Someday, maybe we will do it.  But, right now…we do the best we can.  We try to plan well.  We budget.  We track things with  We don’t buy ostentatious things.  But we don’t stay up and stress at night about paying down our 30 year mortgage 20 years early.

I know that many churches have Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University right up next to doctrine (I say this in jest).  I know that many great families live by Dave Ramsey’s advice.  I know how free and amazing they feel when they are beholden to no one.

I also know, because of the bravado and boldness of Ramsey, how you can begin to feel less than if you aren’t 100% debt free.

Yes, you can be incredibly blessed and a massive blessing to others when you live according to Ramsey’s precepts.  But, you have just as much worth and intelligence–even if you don’t.  :)

We’d love to have you join our “Giving Up on Good” link up! Jessi and I write every Thursday about something traditionally thought of as “good” that just isn’t a good fit for our family right now. The idea was sparked because of my post and Jessi’s post that spoke to the same heart issue. You can leave your link below or on Jessi’s blog–it’ll show up on both!

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  • Reply sara May 31, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Without saying too much……I SO wholeheartedly agree with you. I cannot even say enough how MUCH I agree. Seriously, seriously, seriously agree.
    Great post :)

  • Reply Cara @ WhimsySmitten May 31, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Love this… the whole “giving up on good” idea and this post in itself. I’ve been through FPU, and … well, failed miserably at the “end goal.” Still working toward a healthier financial picture but I appreciate the breath of fresh air instead of pressure. Thanks for inspiring peace in our hearts and not a spirit of perfection. :)

  • Reply Mary Beth May 31, 2012 at 7:51 am

    My husband and I did FPU before we got married. We use some of the basic principles but definitely not all. I think it’s important to be financially healthy and have financial goals, but there are definitely more ways to do it. And each family’s choice is dependent on their individual situation!

    I’d love to link up but my post doesn’t fit this week. I’ll definitely keep this in my for future posts!!

    Mary Beth

  • Reply Beth @ dot in the city May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

    thanks for the encouragement! I totally agree with you :)

  • Reply amy cornwell May 31, 2012 at 9:42 am

    We HAVE had success following Dave’s plan (since you asked on Twitter) :) . Doing the cash envelopes helps me not to overspend (sometimes) and we’re now debt free except the mortgage. It is a freeing feeling for us. We still tithe, sponsor a child and give extra when we feel led, so it’s not all about padding our wallets. But I agree it’s not for everyone. For us it’s been wonderful.

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Yes! I think you can have great success and freedom by following his plan. I think I more want to speak life to people who feel like a failure for not being able to “live up to” his plan.

      I do love what he has to say, but feel like sometimes the message can be “you’re dumb if you don’t do this”. :) Love that it has worked so well for you guys!

      • Reply amy cornwell May 31, 2012 at 10:25 am

        That makes complete sense. I’ve always budgeted, even well before I ever heard of Dave. I’m a numbers person. but not everyone’s that way. I suppose my response was probably more suited to the other post you referenced on Twitter :) Have a wonderful day!

  • Reply michelle @ this little light May 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Even though we’ve never followed Dave Ramsey’s program, I know what you’re saying. My husband and I do try to be more intentional with our purchases (for me, that means staying OUT of places like HomeGoods!), but we certainly don’t need anything that puts more pressure on us to be “perfect.”

    I’m loving this series. I linked up a post this week in which I wrote about my “imperfect” / more-of-a-lazy-momma’s summer bucket list. :)

  • Reply Jenny May 31, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I love Dave Ramsey and my husband and I have paid off so much debt with his plan but…..I seriously get anxious and feel like we are so far behind sometimes when I listen to his podcasts. It makes me feel like it is never enough and I leave feeling frustrated instead of motivated. We are still on the plan and might take FPU again in the fall, but thanks for reminding me that it isn’t the end all be all for our family’s happiness.

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      That’s how I feel sometimes, too. :)

  • Reply Missy G. May 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

    It’s amazing to me how God uses other people to speak to our hearts. Just yesterday, I was crying on the way home from an overwhelming feeling of defeat (with finances being just one of the issues weighing on my heart). Thank you so much for this post.

  • Reply Paige May 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I love this series! I read Dave’s books and listened to the radio show. As a couple, we applied some things, but not all of them. I gave up my blog. I still read blogs and maintain my Facebook, twitter, insatgram, and pinterest accounts.

  • Reply Tracey May 31, 2012 at 11:08 am

    We went through the Crown Financial Ministries bible study as newlyweds and learned a ton about what the bible says about money, it was invaluable. Last year we went through FPU and learned a bunch of practical stuff about money, which was also quite valuable. Both of those studies helped set us up for going from two incomes to one without a complete financial or marital meltdown. And for that I am so thankful.

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      He is brilliant, and he is a fantastic leader. His stuff is also really practical and helpful. I just think his attitude can be kind of condescending sometimes…to the point where it makes you feel like less if you can’t adhere to it perfectly.

      BUT, I do believe that living debt free is one of the quickest ways to freedom for Americans.

  • Reply Stephanie May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    THANK YOU for this great encouragement. This really hits home for me because hubby and I just recently came to the conclusion that even though we so desperately wanted to get on the Ramsey program, it just wasn’t the right time for us. It was stressing us out more and frustrating our marriage to try to get it together during such a busy season in our lives with 3 young boys. We also have a budget and manage our finances otherwise, so it is very freeing to think about the fact that we can just give it up (Ramsey) — it doesn’t change our own worth. :) Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      we probably live mirror lives, stephanie. :)

  • Reply Carrie May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Ramsey has some awesome info that has helped many, and I enjoy listening to his radio show and hearing straight talk about how people jack themselves up financially with stupid purchases they can’t afford (bottom line? grow up and stop spending money on stuff you don’t have).

    When my husband and I got married, it was clear to me he needed help in the finances department. Unwise choices had him deeply in debt. I, on the other hand, was debt free as a single mom of 4! So we went through FPU and it was a wonderful learning experience for him. We bought our next car (an 8 seater to fit all of us!) with cash, which was a great feeling.

    But … I’m trying to avoid all “guru-based” thinking lately. I think we can “take what we like and leave the rest”. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Using baby steps or whatever helps because it gives people direction when they feel powerless. But once you get the principles, I don’t think it’s necessary to follow someone else’s philosophy word for work or feel like you’re a failure if you don’t.

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      I like that, “avoid guru based thinking”. Good perspective. I think that’s really healthy in a lot of aspects of life. Take what works for you, ditch the rest. :)

  • Reply Anna @ IHOD May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I loved this perspective Hayley. I have a very similar take on it as you. I love Dave, and we follow the general guidelines. It has helped us immensely. However, at the end of a stressful week, splurging on a movie and a babysitter is much better on our mental health than anything;)
    Have a wonderful weekend ahead!
    x, Anna

    • Reply Alesha May 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      My hubby and I budget in stuff like that too. And we decided to (also a DR recommendation) set savings goals and then make a larger purchase that we have carefully thought through once we exceed the savings goal enough to cover the purchase. For example…we just reached our first savings goal and our (new to us) iPad is in the mail! It keeps us focused and excited about our savings goals.
      Alesha <3

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      That’s exactly how I feel!

  • Reply Alesha May 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Cool Discussion! I personally love Dave Ramsey. His philosophy on savings (they are there for a purpose – every dollar has a name) was INCREDIBLY freeing to me! I tend to be an over-saver when it comes to money. Labeling money as “savings” made me greedily want that number to grow and grow and grow endlessly. Now my husband and I still save a good portion, but it is specifically there for emergencies…not for pride.
    We don’t use his cash envelope system. I am slightly prone to forgetting about my purse and having lots of cash in it would not be a good idea. We do budget our money and are debt free and working to keep it that way.
    We don’t follow his plan like the LAW, but we do use the principals learned and desire to stay debt free and fiscally responsible. Like he said, house debt is different…an investment. But I am not sure that excessive debt outside of that could be glorifying to God. Thoughts?
    Alesha <3

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      I would say we’re similar in mind. :) I like his principles for getting out of debt and staying out of debt…but his rigidity kind of stresses me out/frustrates me.

      I also don’t like the “you’d be dumb if you didn’t” or “this isn’t rocket science” sort of comments that come with his community–sometimes finances are more nuanced and complicated than that.

      BUT, I definitely agree that living in excessive debt is not biblical, nor wise, nor probably good for ones sanity. AND, that being said…I do know that sometimes people get sick, or a car breaks down, or whatever…and not everyone has the luxury of a large pot of savings.

      Love your perspective, Alesha!

      • Reply Alesha May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        I totally get that about his “rigidity”. It bothered me a bit too, but I just decided to take it as him being funny so that it didn’t keep me from learning important things. (I’m NOT saying that’s what you did btw!) So yep…I’d say we’re pretty much on the same page.

        I also did the Crown Ministries one and I think the two compliment each other really well! Dave Ramsey is the better option if you are just looking for practical skills and information though. And Crown gives a good biblical analysis of money. So important!

        Alesha <3

  • Reply Sheila @ Seasoned Joy May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I love this series. :)

    While I agree with so much of what Dave Ramsey teaches, and find him very inspiring in many ways, I don’t agree with everything he espouses, and my husband and I are intentionally not paying extra on our mortgage in an attempt to pay it off early.

    We also buy new cars too, and I read a comment on another blog recently that stated people like us need our heads examined, because we’re stupid. Believe it or not, we have thought about it and for various reasons, we think we’re making the best decision for our situation. But thanks for calling us stupid.

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Yes. I don’t like that mentality that comes part and parcel with DR sometimes.

      We all have different financial situations and goals. I think that’s the main thing–have GOALS! Don’t walk through life without a financial plan… :)

      xo sheila!

  • Reply Ashley of Lovelock May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    So true! I think it’s all a matter of the individual though. Some people need rigid and driven toget anywhere. Some marriages need Dave’s program to survive. I have seen so many friends divorce over money and so many get back on track because of Dave. I’m not a Koolaid drinker, but if it works for someone else I am all for it!

    • Reply Tiny Twig May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Good call! I do think that his wisdom is really great–and that there is so much freedom and peace in being debt free. :) I hadn’t thought about marriages where the finances were a key issue! xo.

  • Reply Wendy May 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I agree with you. I think he and his philosophies are great. We just aren’t as regimented and don’t work in cash. Thanks for clearing the air on this one.

  • Reply Jenny May 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I smiled when I read your post. I had to wait for a while to respond. Jeff and I started a new small group at the request of our pastor after one group split up over differences (aka strong and divided opinions) over their DR study.
    What surprised us was how it left one group so energized and “free” if you will, but it left the other group feeling like failures.
    I’m glad you can see both sides and you have found the balance for your family. We found a great balance for us, but are always willing to look at other options in maximizing our finances- just not at the expense of making us feel stressed and/or inadequate. Great series Hayley.

  • Reply Bridget June 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Hayley, What you’ve said is true for so many good things. We need to embrace what God has called us to, AND give others the grace to do the same. It’s not always going to look the same!
    Kudos for being brave. I’m loving your series.

  • Reply Tracy June 3, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I started the DR plan 8 years ago and am happy to say we are debt free and its so AWESOME! It can be an intense program to wrap your brain around at first and exhausting, but yet so rewarding all at the same time. I would feel we were gaining so much momentum and then listen to a pod cast (debt free Friday’s) and feel like we weren’t doing enough. I decided to chart our debt (the geek in me) and for every payment we made I was able to cross that off the list and really see it for myself and keep seeing it as a reminder that we were headed in the right direction. We followed the plan 95% and it worked for us despite me keeping my Amex – gasp

  • Reply Lanna June 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Ahhh, this was so good to read, as I am in the same boat! We have MANY friends who follow Dave Ramsay to a t, and some of them have gotten completely out of debt! But it’s just not for us. I’ve often times felt a little pressured and honestly a little judged for not being one of his followers. It’s good to hear someone else say they’re on the same side of the line as me : )

  • Reply Marie July 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Found your blog today and I’m in love! ♥

    My husband and I have been listening to DR’s show for a while now, but we’ve never once actually followed his systems. I mean, I’ve always kept an emergency fund (parents taught me that) and tried not to get too over-my-head in debt. But DR can get to be too overwhelming – I used to listen to his radio show fairly often, but became depressed when I’d hear how quickly others paid off giant amounts of debt when it was taking us forever just to pay down our student loans. I think a lot of it stemmed from the fact that the Mr and I are already incredibly frugal already (and don’t make a lot of money), so there’s not a lot of things to cut back on. Some people would call in and say “Oh yeah, we paid x amt of money off in x months and all we did was cut our cable/sell our 4th car/boat/rented our guest house” and it just… depressed me.

    I found that I’m better off just keeping my head down and ignoring any kind of financial advice in general and slowly making those big extra monthly payments and watching my balances go down bit by bit. If I start feeling depressed because my friends are taking fancy vacations, then I might listen for a bit just so I can feel better about the fact that we’re doing the right thing lol.

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