Taking control: Planning is key to conquering debt

December 2012 Posted in Other
Financial Peace University
Silverton Seventh-Day Adventist Church
1159 Oak St.Thursdays, Jan. 3 to Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Class free; materials: $95

503-873-8568 or www.daveramsey.com

By Kristine Thomas

Les Jones has an assignment for every dollar he makes.

“My wife and I have made a budget and we plan ahead for every dollar,” he said. “We have made a realistic budget and plans for our money.”

The pastor at the Silverton Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Jones is the facilitator for the Financial Peace University, a nine-week course taught by Dave Ramsey on DVD.  A new class runs Thursdays, Jan. 3 to Feb. 28, 7 p.m. at the Silverton Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1159 Oak St.

“People everywhere are looking for help when it comes to their finances. Financial Peace University is offered in communities throughout the country. More than 1.5 million families have found hope through the lessons taught in FPU,” said Meg Grunke,  public relations senior coordinator for Ramsey.

Financial Peace University teaches families and individuals common-sense financial principles so they are able to free themselves of debt and build lasting wealth. Lessons include topics such as budgeting, relationships and money, and dumping debt. After each lesson, there is a small group discussion where attendees find accountability and encouragement.

“No matter your financial situation, Financial Peace University has lessons that you will find useful. Everyone needs a plan for their money and Financial Peace University helps them develop this plan,” Grunke said.

Too often when people are drowning in debt or overwhelmed with their financial picture, Jones said they are scared and don’t know what to do – so they tend to do nothing. “This program makes the challenge of planning for your money exciting,” Jones said.

One of the first things the program recommends is having $1,000 in the bank for emergencies, Jones said, adding he advises people to sell their personal items or take an extra job to reach that goal quickly.

The reason for the savings, he said, is that so if there is a household emergency – like the need for new tires – the person can use his savings rather than a credit card to make the purchase.

Another step is making a list of bills and start paying the smallest bill off first. Once it is paid off, take that money and apply it to the second bill and so on, creating a snowball effect with debt disappearing, he said.

He said reaching financial goals takes discipline and sacrifice – the same way it takes to reach health goals.
For example, Jones said, people might have to forego going to the movies or making clothing or household purchases until they have reached their savings goal or paid off a bill. He added the sacrifice is worth it.

“FPU teaches you how to make a plan for your money that works. With lessons on how to live on less than you make and how to save, FPU helps families feel confident when it comes to making financial decisions,” Grunke said.

Jones said the program is exciting because he saw results within his own family and people who have taken the class.

“Once you pay down your bills and have money in savings, you will be able to do more and give more,” he said.

There is no cost to attend the nine-week class, Jones said. The cost of the materials is $95.

“If people have questions about the program, I invite them to call me,” he said. “I encourage them to take the class because having success with your finances is rewarding.”

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