Financial Peace University

By Susan Shinn Turner

Financial Peace University, held January 26-March 23 at St. John’s, was a resounding success for participants. At the conclusion of the nine-week course, 14 families had saved $25,660, paid off $21,358 in non-mortgage debt, and cut up 16 credit cards.

“We really enjoyed it,” says Sandy Buechler, who took the course with her husband, Troy, and their two children, Abby, 16, and Ty, 12. “We have done a portion of Dave Ramsey before, but we hadn’t done the Financial Peace workshop. We really wanted our children to go through it, and we wanted to reinforce and get a bigger picture of what we were already doing.”

Now Ty asks his mom before purchases, “Are you sure that’s in our budget?”

That’s been the case with Stacey Shafer, too.

“I wanted to take the Financial Peace class because I was tired of being stressed about money all the time,” she says. She and her husband, Aaron, have three children, Grace, Grant and Gabriel. “Now we do our budget more as a family. The money envelopes have really helped lessen the stress. They help give you a better idea of what you’re spending and where.”

The course suggests putting money in envelopes after payday for bills, meals, entertainment, incidentals, etc. The theory is that it’s harder to spend actual cash than swiping a debit or credit card.

“Saving a little each month for vacation, clothes, and holidays has already been a huge success,” Stacey says. “The kids ask all the time, ‘Can we go out to eat?’ That used to get on my nerves, but now I just say, ‘If there’s money in the envelope.’ If not, we have to wait ’til payday. I can’t wait to see where we are a year from now with what we learned from Dave Ramsey.”

Dennis and Kathy Ingold came to the class with their daughter, Tiffany Kneip, who wants to pay down her student debt.

“It was awesome,” Kathy says. “It made me more conscious of everything we spend, especially debits from our checking account. It made us go back and look at everything. We shopped our insurance and got a reduced rate.”

The Ingolds also learned about the “snowballing effect,” paying off the lowest amount owed on bills or loans, then moving to the next-lowest.

“You roll what you were paying into the next debt, which creates a snowballing effect. The incentive of seeing something paid off does keep you motivated.”

Kathy said that one couple was able to save $200 a week by taking their lunch to work and not eating dinner out so much.

“When you sit down and look at what you actually spend, it’s alarming,” she says.

Kathy noted that there were a variety of ages in the class, from single people to young married couples to couples


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