T Nation

Improving Finances and Owning a House


I've really started to tackle my finances since this past November (can't say enough good things about Dave Ramsey).

Last August I was looking to buy a house, even put a contract in on one. Boy, was I not financially ready. Plus it was 60 miles one way and with gas prices even with a Civic I can see gas would have ate me alive. Not to mention repairs on the house.

I've really turned things around.
I want to say in August I had a debt to income ratio of probably around 35-40% IIRC. After this month or mid July I'll have a debt to income ratio of 6%. The only thing left to pay off will be my student loans. I was planning on paying those off ASAP as well, but I'm going to start sitting money aside for a down payment on a house.

My credit score wasn't bad, but not great either at around 660 IIRC, curious as to what it is now. Haven't opened any new accounts in a year and have paid off all credit cards and only $2500 left on a $10,000 car loan.

Don't think I'll consider buying till I have 10% down, which in this area that's going to be a good amount of cash.

How old was everyone when they bought their first home? I'll be 27 next month (assuming I'm starting rather late), but I'm glad that I'm going to be in a better financial situation.

Stupid me was even going to buy a house when I still have access to a house that I can walk to work for only $200/month

Look like I'll be here at least until the winter it's looking, maybe even longer. What a blessing this has been for me.

I used to think that not owning a home by now was a sign of failure, as there seems to be some pressure in this society to owning a home. Hell, I wouldn't mind renting for a while even after I have to move out of here.


We learned a lot from Dave Ramsey as well. It is amazing what happens when you make all your dollars march to your tune as opposed to just leaking out all over the place. I estimate it is equivalent to a 15% raise.

I got married at 23, started Dave Ramsey soon after nad bought a house at 24.

Making the most of your money is the key to success whether or whether not you own a home in my mind. And $200 within walking sitance of work is something many Americans would give nad arm and leg for right about now. Plus, this should enable you to save well.

No matter what, you won't regret keeping the debt down and paying cash for purchases like vehicles, etc. It is very freeing.




In 2005 my FICO was 667 and last December it was 812. This was because I was in school and I had about 5k in credit cards and 10k in loans and I paid it all back.

Also in December I graduated at 29 years old and bought my fisrt house a month later. I put nothing down (didn't see the point) but since starting my job (3 days after finishing school) I've already managed to save 17k in on-line savings and a little over 4k in 401k.

My house was 325k here in California and my commute in 100 miles each way for work. The commute sucks but my empoyer pays more than enough to cover the cost, just as a reimbursement.

I'm sure as hell not a financial genius, but my parents are imigrants (no we're not jewish) and I learned a lot about money just by the way we grew up.

Be smart, save a lot, and buy that house when you're ready. Don't let shit get in your way!

Good luck!


Who the hell is Dave Ramsey? Should I be reading his books???


if you have debt? yes
if you have debt that is out of control and you feel like you can't get ahead? absolutely


if you have debt? yes
if you have debt that is out of control and you feel like you can't get ahead? absolutely

I gave my cousin and her husband his CDs and book for X-Mas, he told me a few weeks ago, it was probably one of the best presents he/they ever got. Has even made their marriage better (which was near perfect to begin with, besides money issues).


I doubt I will ever need the books then cuz I've been in and out of debt already...I got myself out of it by practicing common sense. But I wouldn't mind reading anyway...nothing wrong with a little extra education.

Hell, I even watch Suze Orman. Half the callers on the show I feel like beating over the head, but it's still interesting. Ever notice how everything she says is really common sense for the most part? The sad thing is most of the callers are fucking clueless on getting their shit together. Sad really.


I have his books, CD's and videos. I loan them out to all of my young clients. well - they're not really my clients, but children of my clients who are graduating college.

I have one kid - he's 24 - who took all of Ramsey's stuff I gave him, and really took it to heart.

He's a P.E., married, and owns 60% equity in his house. No credit cards, and will be a millionarie before he is 40 at his current savings pace.

He swears by Ramsey. I wish all college grads would buy his book instead of going into debt.


Wow, a house at 24 or 27... good job.


I'm looking on Amazon right now and he's got quite a few books available. Any particular one that you recommend to start out with?


Found an interesting link, Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps:




Ok. Since you guys are swearing by Dave Ramsey. Are there any OTHER authors or experts we should read up on to better our finances.


Honestly it starts at home...you treat money the way your parents treat money and sometimes thats a bad thing. I've only recently really started to tackle my finances, even though I bought a home at 29. I wish I knew even half of what I know now in my early 20's.


I like Ric Edelman. He has a different take on debt than Ramsey. I'm curious if Rainjack has any info. on Ric and what he thinks about his ideas compared to Ramsey.


His stuff (or at least finances) should be taught in HS or at least entry level college classes, it's really sad.

My parents were horrible with money, which lead me to be horrible with it as well.

DR has changed my thinking/life forever.


I'm in the same part of the country you are. I couldn't afford to buy the house I live in now. Got it for sale by owner back before the market took off.

I totally agree with you that there's societal pressure to own and not rent. All the owners act so fucking smug around renters. I have a good friend that has rented an apartment in college park for 20 years. He has about a million dollars in stocks and just nods dumbly when owners tell him he's wasting his money by renting. I'm not savvy enough to know whether he's wasting his money renting and not owning, but I'd sure like to have a million bucks in savings.


With the way the market is going, hopefully when I am ready, prices will be back down at least a little more normal :slight_smile:


Good luck with the house-hunting.

My wife and I are going through the process now and it's stressful, but fun if that makes any sense. We had some financial issues to settle out (pretty much anyone does unless they have perfect credit) but we're in good shape now and are getting ready to put a bid in on a home.

We had a friend who loaned us some Dave Ramsey books and they really changed the way we approach using our money.


I disagree. You treat money the way you treat it. Economics has a bigger play in how you treat money than how your parents treated it.


Until a few years ago, my spending was very much like my dads, always going for that immediate gratification, whether I could really afford it or not
...still a habit I'm trying to break...my dad was always in the now and keeping up with the Jones and that eventually ended in the worst way possible. Economics of the times do play a part but I still believe you can pick up habits from your parents that can either hurt or help. I know when I have kids, I fully intend to teach them the lessons I learned from my mistakes with money.