I finally admitted something that was super terrifying to admit, especially when you’re a part of the #debtfreecommunity. That is that I’m not totally gazelle intense anymore. If you’ve taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes then you know what I’m talking about. Gazelle Intense is a way of explaining extreme debt payoff. Like a gazelle running for its life from a lion. It is a great motivational tactic, but for me, it almost caused me to have a nervous breakdown.
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Our financial struggle
Tom and I were money strugglers from day one. He had filed for bankruptcy and I had spent all of my inheritance from my dad on things ike new bedding and Hollister clothes.
Our parents had attempted us to teach us how to manage money, but their advice either had lots of holes in it or it just fell on deaf ears.
When we found Dave Ramsey we were in the deepest of debts. Not only did we have hospital bills piling up, but the subsequent credit card debt was through the roof. Beyond that, I had closed down my photography business and we were selling our house (that we paid way too much for).
It was a disaster.
Starting Financial Peace
We had always heard of Financial Peace University through our old church and our new one. Our original thought was,
“How dare they ask us to pay money when we are struggling with money!”
At the time Financial Peace classes cost around $100 and Tom and I agreed that was way too much considering we were living paycheck to paycheck already!
The thing is…we weren’t. We were wasting money left and right. In fact, after getting intentional with our finances we were able to budget hack an additional $3,000 per month into our budget!
Finally, we got wise and joined Financial Peace University in 2017. Seven months after we moved into our smaller house, we started our Financial Peace, debt-free journey!
Debt Payoff Depression
There is no denying the Dave Ramsey debt payoff method works! We were able to knock out $6,000 of debt in only 6 months and then we took a break!
Being gazelle intense for our 6-month debt payoff was tough. We shrimped and saved and cut back on almost every area of our lives. There was no more going out, no date nights, and I stopped making fancy meals and stuck with simple, affordable food plans.
Paying off debt again
A few months later we jumped back into debt payoff mode in full swing and even taught our own Financial Peace class at our church.
We had one credit card left with about $10,000 left on it and we wanted more than anything to pay that off just as fast as we had paid off the $6,000. But it was way harder than we thought. Here’s why:
Re-vamping our budget
We knew we had to start making some changes, because it was beginning to feel like we could never keep our heads above water.
The majority of our struggle was things that were out of our control like repeated car troubles, vet bills and medical bills.
Whenever we got a bill we would pay it off completely in cash but it would take away from our debt payoff that month.
Adding in Fun Money
One of the major things we were feeling was a major sense of stress because our lives became all budgeting, debt payoff, bills, and more budgeting.
Looking at numbers really isn’t fun when all the zeroes seem to be going out the door. (Which is why debt stinks in the first place)!
Because of this, we knew we needed to add in some fun money to our budget. Truth be told, we didn’t even add fun money into our budget because Dave Ramsey never mentions it! It’s all gazelle intense all the time.
The day we allowed ourselves $100 each to spend on fun, frivolous spending was the absolute best day of our debt payoff! Learn how to increase your funds and balance your spending.
Debt-free with a scarcity mindset
Besides adding in the fun money, we stayed pretty gazelle intense and then it finally happened. Despite constant setbacks, car repairs and medical bills, we finally became debt-free.
On to Baby Step 3
Baby Step 3 in the Financial Peace playbook is building up a 3 – 6 month emergency fund. Which again, means more gazelle intensity.
Tom and I set a goal for $20,000 for this fund and were sure we could do it in a year if we really set our mind to it.
After months and months of trying and MONTHS AND MONTHS of more setbacks, we were ready to just give up completely. We had lost family members, and faced more car troubles (BTW never buy a Kia)!
Money obsessed and broke AF
I don’t know about you, but whenever I lose someone special to me, I start to re-evaluate how I live my life. Did I really want to be obsessed with money for my entire life?
Money was really starting to have a grip on me, and yet I still hardly had any in the bank!
We had already improved how we managed our money and stuck to a simple budget that worked and had completely paid off
So, I decided to calm down and not be so gazelle intense.
Less gazelle intense
If you totally know how I felt, take advantage of my free course that teaches you small moves to get more money in the bank.
Now, each month we have automatic savings set up with a Capital One 360 savings account and 12% going into Tom’s 401K.
We set up an “
What we would do differently
Honestly, life is short and while I hate debt, I don’t recommend being gazelle intense at the expense of living your life.
- Continue to contribute to 401K to get employer match
- Give what you can
- Set up automatic debt payoff (so you’re not always thinking about it).
- Make small changes to save big money
- Always budget for fun in your life!
Should you try Financial Peace University?
Absolutely. Financial Peace is totally designed for the absolutely helpless with money and teaches you a wealth of information designed to improve your life!
What are the alternatives?
I honestly don’t know of many alternatives to Financial Peace which is why I created The Bucket List Budget course to help families learn the basics on building wealth before or after debt payoff.
The Bucket List Budget is laid out to help you create a financial life based on what you want the most out of your life — not what I want, not what Dave Ramsey wants…what YOU want. And See what’s included in the course.
There are also some great financial books that I recommend to help you get your financial life in order without going totally crazy!