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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

September 16, 2010

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and Parenting Special Needs Children

My husband and I are parents of two children on the autism spectrum. We are in week three of Financial Peace, but we have been following many of Dave's guidelines for the past 3 years, since the recession cut our income considerably.

I decided last night, in class, that I would blog about Dave Ramsey and special needs parenting for the duration of this class, because the class does not address this topic and how to help parents who face such extraordinary expenses.

It's easy to say have a 3-6 month emergency fund, but it's almost impossible to predict some medical expenses, especially when one child has had 6 surgeries in 8 years.

We have good insurance and we set aside the maximum allowed for extra child care and out of pocket medical expenses, but it's never enough. We eat rice and beans, we don't eat out, we shop only at wholesale stores, even for milk and eggs, we have no car debt, we own no big screen or HD TVs and we don't take vacations.

We both work full time and can’t take on second or third jobs when we have therapies to go to.

This pretty much sums up our lives in a nut shell.

Don't get me wrong though, we a very blessed in many ways. We belong to a great church, both kids attend great private schools on the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship, we spend more quality time together during day trips and staycations and we are not deeply in debt, because we cut our expenses to the bone when we realized we had to to survive in the current economy.

I also have fun hunting for bargains and stocking up the pantry when I find a really good deal on staple items. We love going to the Dollar Store and finding new items each visit and we love being able to pick up good quality designer clothes at Sam's Club and Costco for a fraction of the price.

It's not enough though. We found that all of our cost saving practices were not enough to keep us out of emergency debt. Thus my top five reasons for needed Financial Peace University:

  • 5 - You know you need Financial Peace when your health care reimbursement account runs out and you haven't set aside enough money to cover $300 per month in medication and medial copays for the remainder of the year.
  • 4 - You know you need Financial Peace when you have to put new sets of tires on both your paid-for cars at least 10K miles before you should have needed them only because you forgot to keep your tires rotated and your cars in alignment.
  • 3 - You know you need Financial Peace when your husband fractures his shoulder from falling off a ladder while cutting the tall bushes himself, rather than paying a professional, who would also have pressure-washed the house and cleaned the gutters all for the same low price. . .especially when the professional fees would have been less than the medical copays for the broken shoulder.
  • 2 - You know you need Financial Peace when you're so stressed out and tired that you file an extension on your taxes, even though the government owes you money back.
  • 1 - You know you need Financial Peace when your washing machine dies and you're walking around Sam's Club looking for a $400+ item to buy in addition to the $260 washer, because you have to buy at least one item costing at least $400 in order to get the 18 months same as cash deal on both.
Yup, this sums up our life in a nut shell.


P.S. If my child can fight this hard to get a soccer scholarship (see photo at top), I can fight even harder for financial independence.