I have followed Dave Ramsey for a couple of years now. I've read his books, and listened to his radio show. I know some people don't approve. I am not going to decide whether his philosophy is for you or not, but I want to share my experience.
My wife and I have been working intentionally toward debt-freedom for the last two years. I have learned how to budget at home and in the business. I have taken control of my spending at home and at work. When I called to cancel my credit cards, the representative asked me what I would use to buy things. A debit card and cash. Crazy, I know. She was baffled and could not understand why I wouldn't want to have a credit card.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against people who use credit cards. I just know I have more control of my money when I don't use them. We were generally good with them when we used the cards, and would pay them off every month. But, we were occasionally surprised when we would find out we had a large bill due because maybe we went a little crazy on the card. That's always a fun conversation to have with your spouse.
My point is that you don't have to go into debt to run a family. Or a business. You do not have to use a credit card. You do not have to own a credit card. Not even for emergencies. It's called planning ahead and having a little cash saved up.
To the dental students out there: take out as few loans as possible. People will tell you that you can pay it back quickly because of all the boatloads of money you will make. Don't listen to them. Loans are loans, and borrowed money is bondage. I wish I would have lived on as little as possible while in school and taken out fewer loans. I am paying them off, but it will be a few more years before my practice and my family are free from debt.
What keeps me motivated is the image of life after our debts are paid. What will I do with all the monthly cash flow that currently goes to debt?
What could you do?
Michael Lemme, DDS