My Nashville Trip – Part 1: Getting to Meet Dave Ramsey

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been a little bit quieter on the site for the last week. I was in Nashville for a blogging conference called Blissdom. These conferences are a great way to not only meet fellow bloggers and potential sponsors, but you also get to join in on some pretty cool events—including meeting Dave Ramsey!

If you’ve been following Coupon Geek for any stretch of time, you’ve probably heard me gush a time or ten about how much I am thankful to Dave Ramsey for his The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness book, as it completely changed our lives, financially and personally. Taking his advice, we have paid off all of our debt, aside from our house, which we’ve been diligently paying off since we became “debt-free.”

So it was a complete joy to be able to take a tour, watch Dave on his Radio Show and actually get to shake his hand–a true highlight in my week!

When we were touring the facility we came across some artwork of some things that people had done with their credit cards after they had decided not to use them anymore and canceled their accounts. Here are a few of them:

The detail to this one was amazing. They had lined up each letter of the word “Platinum” as the shark’s teeth.

This one had stitched underneath it, “Honey, we don’t do that here.”

There was also one saying that stuck with me after I saw it: “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” (John Maxwell)

While we were waiting for our fellow bloggers’ tour to finish, we had the great luck to see a couple be able to shout out their, “I’m Debt Free” call. I was so incredibly touched when I heard them share how much debt they had, how they paid it off and the sacrifices that they made along the way that when they shouted their “I’m Debt-Free,” I got very choked up. Such a great thing to share in the excitement of them fulfilling their journey to that amazing feeling of not having debt.

I took a moment to wander over to meet them and asked it if was OK if I shared a photo of them on Coupon Geek. I really just wanted to give them one more thing to smile about for achieving such an amazing accomplishment.

So I’d love for you all to meet Tami and Brandon, also from my home-state of Illinois. They are another one of Dave’s success stories of how going a little gazelle can help get you debt-free. A big congrats to you Tami and Brandon! Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me and allowing us to share in your big moment!

Overall, it was a really uplifting trip and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to experience it. A very special Thank You to Dave Ramsey and his entire staff for taking time to let us stop by for a visit! I’m hoping that those of you struggling with debt might take an opportunity to check out the The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness book from your local library so you might be able to find a way out of your debt, too, and also be able to shout out, “I’m Debt Free” someday.

2010 Accomplishments and 2011 Goals

Each year, I try to take a little time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and to set new goals for the following year. This keeps me always moving forward trying to grow as a person and to keep life a little interesting by adding some welcomed change.

In 2010, I achieved a major goal that I had set for myself of running a 5K. It was right before the holiday season hit so I didn’t even get to share it with you. I didn’t get to train due to sickness, and only squeezed in one mile run beforehand and yet I finished the race! It was truly a  fun experience to share with my hubby and I’m hoping those of you with this goal may try to reach it next year.

I set a goal of leading a healthier life and switched my family over to as many Organic foods as possible, buying shares of a cow, pig and veggies/eggs from local farmers. I also finally got that garden I’ve always wanted started and have set a goal for myself to double its size next year!

I forced myself to allow a little “me-time” each month to squeeze in one book–and by sharing those with you, I found some new leads on some good books to read in the future. (Thank you!)

This was the biggest year of donations to the needy for me. I love being able to use my couponing and deal-finding skills to be able to buy toiletries, food and toys for the needy. I’m hoping next year will be even larger!

And as a blogger, I’m been so very blessed to have more than doubled my subscribers, have over four times as many Facebook reader friends and have met some more really fabulous fellow bloggers. It’s been such a joyous year for us and I’m so thankful to all of you for visiting the blog and for sharing about it with your friends/family. I’m hoping you are continuing to find more deals, coupons and ideas from it.

I did my very best to continue to put more focus and time on my family and less time on social media and blogging. Still trying to juggle the balancing act some days but when you always put your family first, you can never go wrong! I’m so very lucky to have a very supportive partner in my husband and such loving kids.

What’s on the agenda for 2011?

As always, I plan on continuing to keep Coupon Geek full of deals, coupons, freebies and hopefully….a little inspiration. While I love to do so many series on my blog, I have found that what’s best overall is to put your focus into just a few and have better quality than quantity. So here are the two that I’m focusing on for 2011:

WHAT’S NEW FOR DINNER?

It’s so easy to fall into a boring meal plan if I don’t continue to try new recipes. I’ve had such fun trying new things thanks to some different foods that we received in our veggie CSA and it sparked something in me that I’d like to continue this journey of exploring new meal options.  And to stay focused on my goal, I’ve acquired a partner in crime for this series—my friend Jenn, from SuperJenn.

Each week, we are both going to try a new recipe. Just something that we’ve never made before, be it an entree, dessert, side dish, etc. We’ll post about what we’ve tried and either link to the recipe we’ve found or share it with you in the posting.  It will be fun to try at least 52 new recipes during the year. I’m hoping you’ll join us in this little challenge to keep your meals new and exciting and hopefully your family will start asking, “What’s NEW for dinner tonight?” You’ll want to keep your eyes open for our monthly cookbook giveaways, too, as there will be a new one from each of us each month.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK

(A special thank you to Keri Lyn for making my button for this!)

Several years back, we discovered the book The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. At the time, we had a small amount of credit card debt, two vehicle payments and our house payment. My hubby and I spent a few years going “Gazelle” and have worked on paying it all off, aside from our house. Once our credit card debt and vehicle debt was gone, we kind of loosened up the purse strings a little, allowing ourselves a little break. Well, I’m now ready to get back on track and focus on getting that house paid off, too.  I’ll just be sharing with you ways I’m finding throughout the year of how to watch our money. It could be some great shopping trips, frugal outings, ways to earn some extra money or just free things we’ve stumbled on. I’m hoping that when I post them, you’ll share what you’ve done that week/month to stretch your dollars farther, too.

I just wanted to thank all of you for taking time out of your lives throughout the year to stop by and visit a little Coupon Geek and her family. I value each of you and I hope that you’ll continue to find more things of value here. My overall goal for 2011 is to help make your debts smaller and your smiles bigger!

Happy New Year to all of you!