I’ve asked friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell to share experiences as he and his wife Christine participate in Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national money talk-show host Dave Ramsey. His guest posts will focus on FPU and his reaction to the lessons. He begins with a recap of the first session.
Let me start by saying that I’ve been a fan of Dave Ramsey’s financial teachings for many years. I first heard his radio show more than ten years ago when it was called The Money Game. Even then I enjoyed listening, but I was not financially mature enough to really grasp what he was teaching. I was able to grasp the “head knowledge” but never convert it to “heart knowledge”. So, despite knowing better, we continued to make stupid mistakes with our money.
The man has a plan
Over recent years I’ve gotten smarter. I’ve listened to what is now called The Dave Ramsey Show whenever possible and have read most of his books. In fact, my wife and I have literally given away dozens of copies of his book The Total Money Makeover to friends and family members. We’ve even told our kids and their boyfriends and girlfriends that we’d pay them each $50 for a book report on The Total Money Makeover.
Despite our seeming devotion, one thing we had never done, however, was enroll in Ramsey’s signature product, a 13-week program called Financial Peace University. With two teenagers and busy lives, we just never felt as though we could commit to a two to three hour class one night a week—that is until this year.
Last fall I learned that the course was going to be offered at a local church in the spring. I immediately called my wife at work and asked her if she was interested in 13 weeks, every Monday night, February through the beginning of May. We had to weigh the decision carefully, we already had one night a week tied up with a small group activity from our church and she was planning on taking a class on another night. We talked for a while and decided that it was a commitment we were willing to make. I went online and signed up for the class.
More from GFC, Below
Signing up simply meant putting in a reservation for us to take part in this particular class. We still had to get our official Financial Peace University kit. The “kit” is a lifetime membership for each couple (meaning you can take the class multiple times if you wish) as well as class materials. They usually cost $199, but often Ramsey’s website (www.daveramsey.com) and participating churches have special offers. This was the case for us, I was able to go over to the church and pick up our kit for just $86. Here’s what we received:
First, there was a copy of the revised version of Dave’s first book, Financial Peace Revisited. Second, was an envelope system/wallet to use in spending cash. Third was a collection of CDs—all of the audio from the DVDs we would be watching each week in class. There were also tip calculator cards and sleeves for debit cards with an imprinted warning: Danger! Use of this card may be harmful to your budget!
We had everything and were ready to go! On to the first class!
Les O’Dell is a freelance writer living in Carbondale, Ill. His work can be seen in a number of newspapers, magazines, publications and websites. He is co-author of the popular “He Said, She Said” newspaper column. He can be found on the web at www.lesodell.net. Les is not affiliated or endorsed by LPL Financial.