Baby Steps

My 9-month-old daughter started walking this week. Eek! I still can’t believe it.

But as I watch her take her first baby steps, I was struck with the following ideas:

1.) Baby steps are not without forethought. She sees something she wants (usually something she’s not supposed to get into!), stands up, and begins putting one foot in front of the other in its direction. You can see the wheels turning, practically!

2.) Baby steps falter at first, and sometimes fail. It’s a start-and-stop process. She usually gets one or two steps forward, then loses her balance and falls down. But if it’s something she REALLY wants, she’ll get up and do it over and over again!

3.) Baby steps require utter and total concentration. When she has figured out what she wants and gets her feet underneath her, she usually drops the toy she was holding but always keeps her eyes up and on the desired object.

So, naturally, I compared this to the Baby Steps in our journey to get out of debt through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. These baby steps can be applied to your financial life, too.

1.) Baby steps require forethought. What do you wish you could afford? It often sounds like, “When we get out of debt, I want to buy a ____________.” You fill in the blank with what you want. Mine sounds like, “When we get out of debt, I am going to have fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to my front door once a week.” Start dreaming! That’s what will sustain you as you climb your way out of debt.

2.) Baby steps falter at first, and sometimes fail. It’s a start-and-stop process.  When we found out we were expecting, we began saving extra money into a “Baby Fund,” as Dave recommends. When Baby Girl finally arrived and we all came home healthy, we paid off all of our hospital bills, doctor bills, anesthetist bills, lab bills…OR SO WE THOUGHT! 9 months later, we were slammed with an $800 hospital bill and another $100 doctor bill. We were so mad because we used the remainder of our “Baby Fund” to pay down student loans. Just when we thought we were making good progress, these bills came out of the blue and set us back.

3.) Baby steps require utter and total concentration. If I’m not careful, I find myself saying, “Oh, I deserve this ice cream,” or, “We can just move some money around out of the snowball money,” or, “Oooh, extra money at the end of the month?! I can go shopping!” We are totally bombarded with commercials, ads, billboards, and every kind of sensory attraction to make us think we need to purchase things we didn’t know we needed. STAY GAZELLE INTENSE! Keep your eyes on the prize – getting out of debt and being a better steward of the money God gave you to manage.

Good luck on your debt journey. May God bless you more than you could ever ask or imagine. ~Ephesians 3:20-21