Priorities & finances

I have been discussing with a couple friends about the choice to buy a house at this point in our lives. They are questioning when they should look into buying a house, and we've had some good discussions stemming from it.

It's all about priorities, really. Dave Ramsey's priority is being debt-free, and he gives a pretty good argument for it. Once you're debt-free, there's lots of things you can do. Being in debt to no one is a huge load off your shoulders- and there's a pretty good Biblical argument for it as well. I have a friend who sold a car and house to downsize and made a priority of being out of debt, and I really, really respect their determination and choices.

That said, we're in a different place in life, and had a different priority. Yes, we want to be out of debt, and be sure to not take on any more ever again, but we wanted to balance that desire with the desire to have a house and yard. Does this mean putting other desires, like having a dog or starting a family or replacing a 16-year-old car or doing home improvements or taking big vacations, on the backburner until these other priorities are taken care of? These are all good things, but we're willing to set them aside and tackle each one at a time. We have a prioritized list.
  • We saved up a 3 month emergency fund, check.
  • We paid off high interest school loans, check.
  • We saved a down payment we were comfortable with and bought a house in our price range, check.
  • We're now focusing on getting the rest of the school loans paid off within the year.

Once those are gone, we'll tackle the next thing on the list: a car to replace the 16-year-old one my husband is driving. We're saving up for one big thing at a time. We do have a list, but we know we can't have it all, all at once. Will we ever get to the point we're rolling in rental property investments? Probably not- and it's not on our 'to-do' list. Our immediate goal is to get student loans paid off and have no debt besides the mortgage- and this is an attainable goal, when we stick to a budget & make it a priority. Are we following "Dave Ramsey" advice to a T? Not exactly- we're doing what works for us, and what we feel is responsible stewardship. Someone else's plan will look different, because they have different priorities, and that's OK.

Did I mention it's all about priorities?


Brett said...

Yikes! I have NEVER had that many links to my blog...ever...combined.

Congratulations on so wisely setting your priorities. If my wife and I had started our lives together with your wisdom, we'd be a lot better off on many fronts. We have made some big changes but, like you, we didn't follow Dave Ramsey exactly. We still have a mortgage (just a smaller one) and we haven't really implemented the whole envelope system. The changes we have made make it possible for us to look forward to things like "big" vacations, home improvements, etc when they weren't otherwise feasible. Car replacement it in there somewhere but, to be honest, I'm grown rather attached to Rhonda, my 13 year old car.

A couple things to note with Dave Ramsey when it comes to priorities. Yes, he's fanatical about being anti-debt but, when it comes to things like getting married and having kids, he doesn't tell people to hold on until the debt is paid off. You get married when it's time. You have kids when it's time. I would probably put getting a dog into the same category...you know, as long as you don't buy one on credit :) He also puts mortgages on a different level than things like car payments, credit cards, and school loans in that the mortgage is the last thing to be paid off and it's the one debt he says is "acceptable" within some pretty tight limits.

Jennifer said...

You are doing great and it seems as if you have made very wise choices for your family. Thinking things through, weighing the pros and cons and making a decision that is best for you (not what a book says) is the way to do it. Great job!

bfine107 said...

glad to see others thinking through this.


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