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Beans & rice, rice & beans

Beans & rice, rice & beans

Dave Ramsey fans will recognize the phrase “beans & rice, rice & beans” from his show. I listen to his podcast, and don’t think there’s been one yet where he hasn’t said that phrase. Since I’m a rather literal person, my reaction until recently has been to think “ew I don’t like those” whenever I hear the phrase.

Maybe that explains why it took me so long to think about why he might be saying it.

Now I don’t know, maybe he does mean it literally. I could understand circumstances where eating rice & beans would be appropriate. (Or even just normal.) I’ve been in them, although for me it was more like ramen & crackers, which are nowhere near as healthy as rice & beans. But the idea behind the phrase, even when not taken literally, could apply to anyone.

If you want to get out of debt (or accomplish some other money-related goal) really looking at and evaluating where you spend your money is half the battle. Next comes cutting your spending dramatically.

So I thought about our short-term goal of putting away $20,000 each every year for the next 3 years. Then I thought about how much money I’d spent this month on other things: eating out, some new clothes for me and for my son, a few hundred for something he wants to do this summer, money toward new windows, etc. That’s a LOT of money. Nearly a thousand dollars. What if I’d put that toward the $20,000 instead? I could get there so much faster.

But I realized that I’m happy with the $20,000 a year approach that also allows us to DO things. Yeah, I could spend less. And I probably will, to a certain extent. I certainly don’t foresee spending an extra thousand every month, nor could I afford to do that AND meet our goals. So I won’t. But I’ve been enjoying actually being ABLE to spend money, worry-free, for the first time in my life. I’m not going to cut back to beans & rice (or ramen & crackers) either. It’s nice to know that I could though.

My husband is happy with our current approach too, and I think that’s what’s important — finding a balance that works for US. Being aware of the beans & rice, rice & beans idea is good, because it makes us really evaluate our options and appreciate the positive changes in our lives.

View Comments (4)
  • There’s something comforting about the idea that you’re going to meet your goals without having to resort to more extreme measures, and knowing that you always have that alternative if you wish.

  • You SAVE $20,000 per YEAR—–and pay extra on your mortgage each month–

    All I can say is Wow!

    Is that in an e-fund–or is that like a 401K? Or both?

  • Our goal is $20,000 per year each. The first year’s $20k will be emergency funds. The next two years’ worth will be for our mortgage fund. (We’re only paying a little bit extra right now to our mortgage otherwise.)

  • Rice and beans, beans and rice is all good … but honestly it isn’t something most people can do long term. It makes much more sense to try and meet your goals soundly, with a budget you can honestly stick to.

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