Friday, April 2, 2010

Whatever works

I've heard several people extolling the virtues of Dave Ramsey's get out of debt plan.  I looked into it, and it is remarkably like Marvin J. Ashton's "One for the Money" from 1975, particularly the debt elimination schedule, or "debt snowball" as Ramsey calls it.  The difference is that Ramsey's plan insists you start with the debt with the lowest balance (since you'll have the psychological boost of paying something off quickly) and Elder Ashton just says to start with the debt you want to pay off first. "It may be," the pamphlet says, "the debt with the highest interest rate, or the earliest pay-off date."  Or the one that just bugs you the most, I might add.

I like that it gives you the flexibility to do it how you want, while still has structure to help you succeed.  If there's anything you learn in life, it's that one size doesn't fit all, whether it's in finance plans or souvenir t-shirts.  Some people can't control their spending and do best on an all-cash plan.  Some people--me included--find putting everything on a cash-back credit card is their preferred way.  (You get cash back and the money gets to sit in savings all month!)  But that only works if you're committed to paying it off in full every month, because one or two percent cash back does not make up for the ten or twenty percent you'll pay in interest.

I just find it kind of ridiculous when someone says "THIS is the way to do (whatever)."  It's worlds apart from saying "This is the way that worked for me."  Why, there might even be another way that could work for you!  You don't know for sure if it's the only way, because once you find something that works, you stop trying other things.  (It's like saying something is always the last place you look. Yes, because you find it and stop looking.)  My way of finding a husband may not work for you.  (Frankly, he just kind of showed up and begged me to marry him. That usually doesn't happen.)  Your awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe may turn into cookie pancakes when I make them.  (Perhaps some other day I will explain my issues with making chocolate chip cookies.)  I shower at night because I can't haul my carcass out of bed early enough to do it in the morning, no matter when I go to bed.  I know someone who showers when he gets home from school.  A shower a day is a shower a day.  There's just no one right way for most things.

So I'm giving you permission to do whatever works for you.  Pay your bills the day they come in or pay them the day they're due--either way they still get paid.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, my, just wait until you're pregnant. Everyone will tell you what the "right" way to do everything is.

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  3. I know! Just let it be an option not a directive.

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Be nice.