By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
About two years ago I really started getting worried about the direction our country was heading. I started listing to Podcast like “The Survival Podcast” that focused on preparing for the future and I learned a lot. I actually started doing the things the host was telling us about; bought a water filter, started stock piling food and learning life skills. I even started sharing what I was learning by writing this blog and posting on my Palmetto Prepper Facebook page.
As the economy continued to get worse and the cost of everything started increasing at an alarming rate I started looking at my financial future. How could I protect myself when economy and the dollar ended up in the toilet?
Then I did something that the results scared me even more; I got out all my bills and added up how much consumer debt I had accumulated and I was shocked. I realized that not only are we slaves to our government but I was a slave to the people who owned all my debt. The number scared the crap out of me and that did not even include my house. I knew I could not be prepared and self-reliant until I freed myself from this debt. If things got bad I could lose my house and everything I owned.
I started searching for answers and a quick and easy way to get out of debt. I did not find any quick tricks but I did find this guy named Dave Ramsey and his Total Debt Make Over. I bought the book, with cash, and read it cover to cover in one weekend. I strongly recommend that you read the book also, I am sure you can find it at your local library.
What Dave taught me was his baby steps and I have been following them ever since. Step number one is to have $1,000 cash in an emergency fund. I believe he recommended having it in a savings account; however the prepper in me said nope – cash in small bills locked up in a safe place. I had that step taken care of in just six weeks. See my blog post titled “Cash is King” dated March 20, 2013 for more information about that. In addition to saving the $1,000 we cut up all our credit cards and started paying for everything in cash.
Next we compiled a list of all our bills, listing them from smallest to largest along with their required monthly payments. The list scared me to death. It started with a doctor bill that we owed only $140 on but we were only making a $10 a month payment. At that rate we would be paying on that on bill for 14 months. The first goal was to pay that one-off. At the beginning of the next month we made all our minimum monthly payment and I saw that our balances changed very little and I was almost out of money. I started trying to figure out ways to generate money and fast. I was able to find some odd job from neighbors; like raking yards, cleaning off roofs and helping with odd jobs. In just three weeks I had earned the money to pay off that first debt. It felt great to make some headway.
The next month I was able to start working on the next lowest balance and instead of making the minimum payment I added the $10 that I was paying on the doctor bill. I have been working it ever since. In the first year I was able to pay off $14,737.30 and save up $1,000 cash for my emergency fund. I know I have a long way to go, but it feels good to be heading in the right direction. The freedom we already feel is unbelievable.
Prepping is being prepared and being debt free is one preparation I recommend that you start working towards. If you want to get out of debt, you can get out of debt – no matter how much money you owe. Just take baby steps and you can get there!
The Survival Podcast – http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/
Palmetto Prepper Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl
Dave Ramsey – http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/
The Total Money Makeover – http://www.daveramsey.com/store/books/dave-s-bestsellers/the-total-money-makeover/prodtmmoclassic.html
Cash is King Blog post – https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/cash-is-king-keeping-cash-on-hand-for-emergencies/