Marriage Interview w/ Dave Ramsey

Brian & Phil with Dave Ramsey

Brian & Phil with Dave Ramsey

This morning, I walked into my office and to my surprise the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey was on my desk. I giggled under my breath because my boss Brian and our VP of Video Production Phil were just in Nashville last week to interview Dave Ramsey himself.

I opened the flap and there it was. Dave’s signature in black ink that said To: Samantha. Romans 12:2: “Transforms!”

For a Monday morning just barely awake, this was the best gift ever. Dave had given Brian and Phil some books to bring back. Brian knew how much I loved Dave and the impact he’s had on me and Jeremiah with finances. Through Financial Peace University, Dave’s helped bring us into the light in understanding money and making wise decisions. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve seen parts of our journey in beating debt. (also more posts under the Finance category).

Dave’s interview will be featured in a DVD series we’re creating at Bluefish called Marriage: Built to Last. Dave’s story along with Kurt Warner and Josh Hamilton are the high profile interviews a part of the series. Chip Ingram is going to do the biblical teaching in the series and we’ve shot around 20 real-life marriage stories. Maybe I’m biased, but I think this series is going to be one of the best marriage resources out there and I think you should get it whether you’re married or not!

I can’t wait to see the rough cut of Dave’s interview and to dive into this book.

Finances, Debt, & Freedom

piggy20bank1It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on finances. Can you tell the very word makes me nervous? Maybe it does for you too especially in our economy’s present condition. Well the good thing is that for us, right now, things are going really well.

Jeremiah and I are down to $1,000 left on his school loan and around $10,000 towards our car. A year and a half ago, we were about 30-40K in debt. Now, we’re $11,000! Jeremiah has mentioned how simple it would be to pay the whole car off in a matter of months but with the season of life we’re in (with him in school, internship, ministry, etc.), it’s best to wait and chisel away at the debt as we can.

We would not be where we are without the help of Dave Ramsey and my Mom spurring us to take his 12 week class- Financial Peace University. Finances is just one of those things, like sex, that not too many people discuss and many families don’t talk about growing up. So the result: ignorance. And it’s bliss. I’ve been there.

I’ll never forget a few months ago when our community group at church sat down and we went through each couple’s budget- every detail from car maintenance to cosmetic allowances. I hadn’t done that with anyone, ever in my life. But something about it was so freeing. There was accountability there and we knew we had each other’s best interest in mind. Our goal was to steward whatever resources God had given us the best we knew how.

Even now, I admit the struggle to constantly be aware of what I’m spending. What I’m saving, etc. It’s not easy or always black and white to know what God would do in this or that situation. But I do know for sure, that plummeting away at this debt is bringing him glory. It’s getting us farther away from bondage and closer to freedom.

We can’t wait for the day to call Dave Ramsey’s radio show to say, “WE’RE DEBT FREE!”

America becoming an undeveloped nation?


I was doing some research today and ran across some startling info. I don’t know what to take of it yet. Gerald Celente–who I’ve never heard of before today– is the CEO of Trends Research Institute. He’s renowned  for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events. He accurately predicted the 1987 Stock market crash, the Fall of the Soviet Union, the 1997 Asian currency collapse, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and what’s happening right now in our economy. His track record is at

Well, Celente is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions – all within four years, cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

According to his recent Fox News interview called “Predicting Obama’s Impact” (posted on YouTube on Nov. 10, 2008), by 2012 America will have become an undeveloped nation. There will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and holidays will be more about obtaining food than gifts.

This all just seems too crazy! Doesn’t it? For some reason something in my heart tells me I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened though. I’m not at all saying I believe this guy. I’m really cautious of wacky people who try and predict the future but Celente has made his life following trends. He knows and understands history. His track record is insane.

Regardless if we think he is on to something or not, I really think all the more that it’s time for America to wake up and begin seeing what’s at stake. Is the media blowing a lot of this up or are we in denial as to what America’s future could  look like? Right now, I am trying to ask myself what changes I can make financially on a day to day basis to better prepare for the future. For our family, since we’re just about debt-free, it means saving, saving, saving. And of course praying nothing like this would happen, but still preparing for a potential rainy day. Would love to hear your thoughts.

two days with “iPhone”

0283_apple-iphone-case1A few Sundays ago, our contract ended with Sprint and we were contemplating buying new phones. Jeremiah did some shopping around and just couldn’t find what carrier he wanted. He knew how much I loved my sister’s new iPhone during Christmas and spontaneously, he decided to purchase two new iPhones for us under AT&T. I was really excited about it. He bought a pink case for me and everything. That was Sunday.

After having so much fun playing with the phone and loving its ridiculously amazing features, both of us around the same time began doubting the decision. Jeremiah knew we had 30 days if we wanted to take them back. We figured out the numbers and with our plan over a span of 5 years, we would have spent $10,000 on the two phones. We decided that maybe should go towards the baby’s fund or towards the church. Whatever. Well Monday came and a lot went on at work evaluating the future more closely with the economy the way it is. I then evaluated my decisions and what I could do personally. On Monday, I said “Let’s just take them back.” (I think Jeremiah was waiting for me to say it).

He was really happy at my suggestion. (I know he wanted to make me happy and I honestly believe we might have just kept them if I said I wanted them- who knows) but I also knew deep down that he was probably thinking it wasn’t the best financial decision. All along I think I made too many hints at what I thought I wanted and Jeremiah probably felt he should provide in that way. I know that many people have this revolutionary phone (all the guys I work with do) and I am not at all judging their or your decision, but for me personally, choosing to let go of the phone was what I knew I should do. I already struggle with checking email too much and with that phone I knew I probably would even more. I also knew the ability it had to define my worth or “status” or keeping up with what’s new. I even knew it could quickly become some kind of an idol as strange as that might seem. Even though of course I know it’s a heart issue.

For a short period, I was bummed we gave them up but yet I also felt so freed especially knowing the money could go elsewhere. In 5 years from now, what will compare to the iPhone? Maybe nothing will. Who knows. I may even have one in the future, but for right now, this was the decision we had to make. Those two days were really a time of growth for me- learning to let go and not put my worth in material things- something I will continue to learn all my life.

The good thing is I have enough friends that have them so I can play with theirs if I need a fix!

Attacking Our Debt-Snowball

“You’ll always have a car payment,” was a comment I heard from someone a few weeks ago. I really thought about how sadly mistaken this lady was but that I thought this once too (prior to Dave Ramsey). I was amazed at how much my mindset had changed. Her comment was strange to me because we were about to finish paying off our 2002 Nissan Pathfinder. With all our credit cards paid off, we have attacked our next debt: my car. Living on the cash system only plan, and banking everything else, we were able to pay off $5,000 in the past few months.

Well the day has finally come and this morning we were able to pay it all off! My car payment is now gone. No more. Now, we have student loans and my husband’s car payment left and we will be debt free (all this totals around 25k or so). It’s hard to believe we no longer have a car payment. It feels so freeing. Jeremiah said he felt as if a huge burden had been released. I was so happy for him too because he’s been ready to attack this just as much as I have. Getting our finances straight has been a huge blessing to our marriage as well, in so many ways…

I don’t know where you’re at in your finances (there’s probably a reason why you’re reading a post on finances), but always think about where you could be and set goals to get there. Don’t allow anyone to discourage you (because there will always be those kind of people you know who say “You’ll always… blah blah blah).

I’d love to hear ways your mindset has changed in regards to finances. Are you hoping to not have a car payment one day? What things have others told you that you might have taken to heart, but knew that it wasn’t really true?

Getting Rid of Stuff

                                                                            We had our first yard sale this month. The purpose: to get rid of things we don’t use and raise money for the baby (baby Krieger fund). In order to gauge what we should include in the sale, we used this rule: If it’s not been used in the past six months, get rid of it. For me, that meant raiding my closet and toiletries. We also sold electronics, ironing boards, chairs, paintings, and all kinds of random house-hold items.

The yard sale was run by the nearby park and community center. Many people showed up for it and we lined our belongings along the sidewalk. We labeled everything with very reasonable prices and started the sale at 7:00 am. As soon as we started setting up, we were attacked by the early bird yard-salers.

What I learned? People will buy anything (a person’s trash is another’s treasure), I don’t miss my stuff and I feel a lot more relieved from the stuff, it’s worth spending 9 hours of my day getting rid of stuff and raising around $500.00. Yep, that’s what we raised. Anyone can find things they don’t need anymore- when they do they should sell it or give it away.

My husband and I were so encouraged this month. I am learning what it means to live simple, yet still live with quality things. I am learning I don’t need a whole lot and that “stuff” will never satisfy. Then of course after learning this, we met a young guy named Kevin who lived across the street from the yard sale. He gave us a tour of his four story town home, with a deck on the roof and a view of the city.

I would love to live in something like this. But that thought only lasted a few minutes. I was more excited about our amazing sale.

How it feels to be Credit Card Debt free

After working out this morning and getting out of the shower, Jeremiah rushes in the bathroom with a beaming smile on his face. “We’re debt free of all our credit cards. I just paid all of it off.” I didn’t know what to say but “oh my goodness this is so awesome. We have to celebrate.”

As a married couple, we’ve never known life without credit cards. It’s just so crazy. And we even have a substantial amount in savings for any emergencies.

Since we’re still being intense about the rest of our debt, we will celebrate, but not go all out (We have about $30,000 to go in car payments and student loans but we’re going to attack it). So today, we went to Chick-fil-a and got a breakfast bagel (which we never eat out for b-fast) and today Jeremiah’s going to bring me lunch at work. We’re really going to celebrate together by thanking God for his grace on our life and for helping us learn more about money.

We’re hoping to take a babymoon soon and perhaps then we’ll celebrate with a vacation. And then maybe after that, a trip to Italy (the place of Jeremiah’s ancestry- Sicily). But right now, we must focus on today. 🙂

Sex & Money- Taboo?

  Thoughts on Financial Peace University… I am in my twenties. I’ve talked to many wise people who are beyond my years who said that when they were growing up the two words never talked about were Sex & Money. In this category, I’m not going to talk about the sex part (I’ll save that one for later). But, it is interesting that many people are raised having never been taught how to handle money- let alone how to create a budget. They or their parents never made it a priority.

I know many people are in that category. I am one of them. I was handed many wonderful things growing up which I am so appreciative of, but I never had the desire to learn about money when my parents wanted to sit me down. I was stubborn. Besides we had everything so what was there for me to learn? I wasn’t looking into the future.

If you feel you’re in the same boat of never having learned much about finances. You are not alone. Don’t feel stupid or mad at yourself that you never took the initiative to learn. Learn from that careless decision and move on. It is never too late to start the journey now- no matter if you’re in your 50’s, 30’s, or 20’s.

Break the curse of money being taboo… and begin to talk about it with your friends and family.

Is Recession Coming our Way?

Alan Greenspan, former federal reserve chairman, claims there is more than a 50% chance our nation will go into recession. My husband found the article today and told me about it on the way home from work today.

Hmm. This really gets me thinking about the financial state of America. Do we see the severity and understand the issue at hand? Since Financial Peace University, I am only scratching the surface of what I still have to learn. One truth I know for sure is that our aim and goal in our marriage is to completely get rid of all debt. Get rid of bondage. How come (especially in my generation) we think we deserve things when we don’t have the money to pay for them?

Generations before me paved the way to where we are today. They worked hard and earned their keep. The consequence is that we’ve become lazy and we don’t know what Save means because we’ve been given everything. With this mentality, our desire to have things has not come with the same discipline that was met with the generations before us. Instead, we have given in to borrowing more than we can afford making ourselves servant to the lender.

Isn’t it time to break free?

Do you think America can break free?

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