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Thursday, June 19, 2014

First FPU Reunion Shows Just How Well... Or Bad... We're All Doing

For our first reunion of Financial Peace University graduates, we decided to have a potluck (because we're true Baptists). It's only been about three months, but we've found a reunion is helpful, if not essential, in keeping people motivated to stick to their budgets.

Of a class that averaged about 35 regular attendees, we had about 20 show up for the reunion, which isn't bad considering it's graduation season. But, then again, there WAS food.

We found that the main thing people seem to have in common was bad decision-making over small matters. Whether it's borrowing cash from one envelope to purchase something different, or going out to eat when they shouldn't; it was these kinds of decisions that had piled up, ruined budgets, and made some people discouraged.

The perfectionist in me can TOTALLY relate to this. I'm not as bad anymore, but in my younger years if I couldn't do something perfectly I wouldn't do it all. Even today I find that little mistakes here and there can bring me to a place where I conclude that it's just not worth it. But failures can not be an excuse to throw it all out the window, and I think that's what some people subconsciously hope for.

There's a psychological term for this called "self-sabotage." As ridiculous as it sounds, it's exactly what some people do when they KNOW they need to succeed at something, but find too many self-gratifying reasons to postpone their long-term goals. Some of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating in the face of weight concerns, or in the case of sticking to a financial budget it can be any number of material things—new shoes, restaurants, entertainment.

This is why it's so helpful to work through Dave Ramsey's baby steps with a spouse, friend, or accountability partner. When one person starts to make poor, potentially self-sabotaging decisions, the other can step in and say, "Whoa!"

We were encouraged though to see that many had also experienced a lot of victories. One couple had doubled their savings in the three months since FPU, and there two other couples who had opened savings accounts for the first time in their lives. One man spoke about finding little ways to save by finding a cheaper telephone service provider, while another said he and his wife have been steadily working with their debt snowball and anticipated being debt free in another three or four months.

As for Dani and I, well, we finally have health insurance!

It's a blessing to be a part of such an honest, communicative, and willing group of participants. Knowing that you're not alone in this struggle is sometimes all the encouragement you need.

Keep pinchin' :-)

PS. Check out some of these inspirational clips from people on Dave Ramsey's show doing their triumphant "debt free screams."

Ryan and Micha - Debt Free Scream

Craig and Lisa - Debt Free Scream

Rob and Marisa - Debt Free Scream

Anderson and Kerri - Debt Free Scream

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