Total Money Makeover

Book Review: Total Money Makeover
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I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey, about the only time I don’t listen to his show is when I have either just done, or are planning to do, something with my money that I know doesn’t fit in my budget. (like borrowing from my 401k to buy homestead land).  There is a psychological lesson in that statement….

Dave is the real deal when it comes to financial management.  He is a self made millionaire who has made and lost fortunes.  This has caused him to learn two seperate and equally important lessons, how to make money, and how to keep it.

I find that his book,  Total Money Makeover, is especially useful for preppers.

In general, Preppers already know how to save, and how to discipline ourselves in the short term for long term success, but we might not have the tools to make good choices with out money.

Dave has a simple system that is proven to work if you commit yourself to following the steps. We follow his system at our house, and think that as a part of a larger plan his baby steps are a essential to becoming self reliant.


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I first heard of eMeals several years ago from Dave Ramsey, and I subscribed for about a year.  I found the service to be very easy, and only let it lapse because I changed banks and was too lazy to change the account.

Now that we have a baby, and I am busier with classes and night shift I wanted to find an easier way to eat better without having to put a lot of thought into it.

I was very surprised when I went back to the eMeals site and saw how many new plans they have now – my wife and I spent some time “talking” about what would be better.  I wanted slow-cooker for simplicity, or the Aldi plan for frugality – but the clean eating plan won.  I couldn’t even get a compromise on the slow cooker clean eating plan.

Oh well, if that’s what Genny wants, I can accommodate – after all, how many wives will let their crazy husbands grow fish in the basement or run a steam engine on the stove…

I recommend you looking at their site, even if you don’t subscribe to their service, they have a very good concept, and I think you will be well served by checking it out.

They also have a referral program, that I learned about as I went back to reactivate my service – if you have a website you can make a little from passing the word around.  If you click on the link from my site, I make a small percentage of your purchase – but its okay – its going into the I want some land fund, I promise I won’t use it to pay tuition at Diamond Dave’s Ninji School.

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Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and Preppers

I am a fan of Dave Ramsey, I listen to him on the radio, read his books, and being from Tennessee, I have driven by his studio several times as it is just down the road from one of my favorite gun stores.

The thing I like best about his system is that it takes into consideration human behavior as well as math.  The other day while listening to his show he was discussing a Tony Robbins quote “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” That was interesting to me as the Dave Ramsey program is about focusing all your resources on some simple “baby steps” to achieve financial independence.

Dave Ramsey’s baby steps are:

  1. 1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
  2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
  3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
  4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
  5. College funding for children
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate.

If your goal is to achieve financial independence as quickly as possible then it’s really hard to take away from his program because it works.

However, like many highly successful people the system is very narrowly focused, this is good because the “laser like focus” is what makes his system work.  Unfortunately, Dave seems to believe that if you have enough cash you can solve your problems.  To be fair, he is quite clear about his Christian beliefs and I am not including spiritual or social problems in the problems he solves with money.  He just acts like you don’t need food storage or alternative solutions if you have enough cash flow.

An example of this is that if you call into his show and ask about investing in things like gold he is quick to tell you that gold does not work as an investment – (which is sound, because gold’s value depends on people’s willingness to buy it not any inherent value.)   He proudly ignores its use as a means of barter, the same way he ignores any other emergency preparedness resources other than having “piles of cash”.

I find it interesting that a man that so clearly “gets it” about a man’s responsibility to provide for his family fails to prepare for times when basic essentials may not be able to be purchased.  He speaks of his responsibility as a husband to alleviate his wife’s fears of not being able to feed the kids by having an appropriate emergency cash fund, but ignores food storage.

With our current increasing inflation, and the sizes of grocery products shrinking while the costs are rising, it seems like the food I bought in bulk last year is a lot better deal than the food I bought in bulk this year, so by having food storage I do have a pretty good rate of return. – Especially since the only reason I work for money is so I can buy the things I need.

In places like Zimbabwe gold and tangible goods are used in the place of money because government currency is over inflated and worthless.  I know this is America, and people don’t like to think it can happen here, but Dave Ramsey rails against the effects of living outside your means and what that causes, but ignores the fact that our government is doing the same thing, which may cause our currency to become worthless if people stop speculating on it.


In my house we have a solution that works for us.  We follow the Ramsey baby steps, BUT in out budget we have a line for preparedness.  We budget for physical emergencies just like he says to add a line in the budget for fixing your roof.

We also put a 72 hour kit as baby step zero – as it’s cheaper and easier to do than get that first $1000.00 emergency fund.

We also have a baby step preparedness outline so we have a plan to prepare rather than just buying the neatest prep tool I see.

If there is any interest I may post our “preparedness tiers / baby steps” plans at a later date.  Today I just wanted to rant a little, because while I love me some Dave Ramsey, he can get a little opinionated on his program and that there is some room for adaptation if you have an end goal in mind.

Prepper Precepts #23 Be Balanced in What You Buy for Preparedness

Be Balanced in What You Buy


52 Unique Techniques for Stocking Food for Prepper
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This entry into the prepper precepts list may make some preppers nervous.  Buying gold is the “gold standard” of prepping.

Be balanced in what you buy.  Gold is nice, but it’s used to buy stuff in the event money is worthless. With that in mind, it’s much cheaper to just buy the stuff now. A wheat grinder is $40 now, but how much do you think it will cost if everybody actually needs them to eat?

Be balanced in what you buy, you will need money, and you may need gold, but you will always need food, clothing, and shelter.  Cash and other money is used to barter time for stuff.  It may be a better deal just to have the stuff.

Financial preparedness is part of the total package.  You can’t buy what you need if you can’t control your money.  For that reason I recommend all preppers look into Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

Be Balanced in What You Buy

Rules of Civility: The 110 Precepts that Guided Our First President in War and Peace

These precepts are my creed, and having prepper precepts guides me when I face tough choices.  A wise man once told me that when facing a moral problem, the right choice is usually the action you don’t want to take.

I am not a pollyanna person that is wishy washy or blindly follows rules, heck I have a little rebellious streak and love to know the WHY of rules, but I do respect and understand the need for law and know how vital it is for a society to have a moral code.

By knowing what I believe in you can know how I will act. This is very important in times of stress.  If you don’t want to read these precepts one by one, the completed list can be found here: Completed 27 Prepper Precepts.