Best Way to Start? Baby Steps

Money is daunting to most people. There a few who are gifted to be able to understand — and be interested in — the mechanics of personal finance without trying. For the rest of us, it takes some effort to get our finances in order and to constantly work on keeping them that way. I’ve read so many personal finance books over the years that I lost track of just how many a long time ago.

Sometimes I feel like I cheated by starting a blog after all my debt was paid off. It paints an incomplete picture of my journey, and sometimes I worry that people with think that I never made mistakes or haven’t had to try very hard to get to this point. I won’t go into detail about all my debt, but will tell you that at one point I had credit card debt, a car loan, and a mortgage all at the same time. Of course I had very little, if anything, saved. After all, how can you save any money when it’s going towards debt and interest?

This post is to offer some hope if you’re in the same place I was. I’m proof that you can dig yourself out and turn things around without much effort. The key to doing so is baby steps so you don’t become overwhelmed. I’ve found that it’s much easier to focus on one goal at a time and then move on to the next one, rather than try to do everything at once. It’s all about the small victories to keep you motivated. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just do the best you can.

Dave Ramsey talks about baby steps in his book, Total Money Makeover. If you haven’t read it, this is a great place to start. It’s readily available at the library and there are plenty of used copies being sold online. If you want to cut to the chase, the steps are listed on his website (free!) and you can see them here. I know some bloggers would disagree with some of the steps, but this is very similar to the route I took (minus the step about funding your kids’ college funds).

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up. Today is the day that you start turning things around. Know that there’s an entire community of personal finance bloggers who are cheering you on 🙂

2 thoughts on “Best Way to Start? Baby Steps

  1. I agree Kate, everyone has to start somewhere. It’s taken a few years of reading a HUGE amount of financial material to get to where my knowledge and thought process is now.

    I also find it’s important not to try to ‘keep up with the Jonses’ of the financial community who may earn more, save more or have more. Just have to do the best we can with what we have 🙂

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    1. There’s so much information to absorb but I’m glad that it’s more accessible via the internet. Back in the day, I was at the library every week to check out books.

      I have that same problem: While it’s inspiring to see how well people have done, and even achieved their goals, it’s hard not to feel like I’m really far behind. That’s a great point about trying to do the best we can with what we have. I have to remind myself of that often 🙂

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