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What to know about the Dave Ramsey gazelle intense debt free screams
Along the African safaris gazelles gradually graze until they spot a hungry lion.
Right before the lion starts the hunt, the gazelle leaps into action and prepares for the most gazelle intense run of its life.
This is life or death here.
What separates the gazelles who make it over the ones who don’t?
Being “gazelle intense” is a concept Dave Ramsey uses in his Financial Peace University course.
You are the gazelle and the debt collectors are the lions, clamoring for your dollars.
What separates those who avoid financial suicide from the rest?
Why do some families build wealth while others stay stagnant?
In my research, I learned some interesting facts about those on the Dave Ramsey plan.
The data I’m using comes from 84 debt free screams I listened to over the last 24 months.
I jotted down how gazelle intense they were by recording their
- Starting and ending incomes
- The amount of debt
- The type, and
- How fast they paid it off.
If you’ve ever wondered how much you *could* pay off using Dave Ramsey, this is the post to read!
I show how much debt Dave Ramsey families pay off by their income which can give you a starting point in your debt free journey.
It may just give you ideas for becoming even more gazelle intense than you already are.
Point of note: the data is not a scientific study.
Unfortunately, my research does not cover every debt free scream ever recorded.
While Dave probably has more information than I do, it’s not available in the method I wanted it to be.
So, I did the research myself. I recorded the journeys of 84 families who became debt free.
These are some things I learned from the people who’ve done what so many strive to do.
They powered through the harder beginning.
Many of the families mentioned how hard it was beginning the journey.
It’s pretty common for lending groups to charge more interest at the beginning of the loan, then taper slowly off.
The more someone borrows, the more expensive it can be and the harder it is to make progress.
But, as you get going and pay off the smaller debts, the amount you can pay to your debt becomes larger.
You get more and more income freed up to put on your larger debts.
Towards the end, some of the families said it became a game to figure out how much debt they could pay off.
Their estimated debt free dates became closer than they expected.
Their budget and focus helped them find unexpected ways to earn more money and pay it off faster.
After paying off over $60,000, I can vouch for this also.
We thought our debt free date would be at least 5 years or more in the future.
Now, we’re estimating finishing in 1.5 years.
You will amaze yourself at what you can do if you stay focused.
They found their tribe.
The screams featured people from across the United States and some foreigners.
Incomes ranged between less than $30,000 to over $250,000.
Finding those families who journeyed through similar debt stories was important to find.
Some of them found support from family and friends.
I couldn’t relate to people who paid off half a million and sold big businesses to become debt free.
I could relate to the waiter who had more debt than we did and paid it off faster than we were paying ours off.
This was so motivating to us to dig deeper and pay off over $60,000.
We’ve found a great debt free community on Instagram and in Facebook groups.
You can follow the best personal finance tips on Pinterest here.
Most families increased their income.
Increasing income was an important part of the journey for most families.
If you can find ways to earn more income while lower the risks, you can reach your goals faster.
Plus, employers have no risk if they can make more money with your added skills.
Extra Income ideas
- Working second jobs
- Starting a blog
- Delivering pizzas
- Getting special job certifications
- Selling unused items
- Pet sitting
- Changing jobs
Getting special certifications are great because it can be a permanent salary boost.
This can be life changing, especially when the employer pays for them.
Another interesting option is in creating passive income. This is money you earn while you sleep.
Blogging income can be mostly passive, which is one of the reasons I like it. There’s very little startup costs.
The debt free families remind you it’s possible to make more money if you set the goal, work for it and manage it well.
Because paying off debt was the goal, they found ways to make it happen.
They prioritized paying off debt.
The average savings rate of the typical American family is just 6.60%.
These families put much more of their incomes to debt by cutting out non-necessities and luxuries.
To estimate gazelle intensity, I calculated the averages based on their starting income when they started the plan.
This pin shows how much debt they paid off on average by month.
You can share this with your partner by pinning the image to your favorite Pinterest board.
The results are as follows:
$35,000 or less
- $69,000 in 4 years
- $1,438 per month
- Post income: $57,000
On a smaller income, there’s not a lot of room for extras after you pay for the bare necessities.
To get ahead, these families prioritized increasing their income.
They increased their income by almost 90%.
It’s important to mention, many of them focused on selling items and swapping out valuables for “Dave cars.”
This can help make debt disappear faster without increasing income.
That’s one of the reasons they averaged paying off $1,438 per month on a $35,000 or less income.
$40,000 – $60,000
- $79,000 in 3 years
- $2,194 per month
- Post income: $87,000
$62,000 – $80,000
- $93,000 in 3.5 years
- $2,214 per month
- Post income: $101,000
$83,000 – $100,000
- $98,000 in 2.8 years
- $2,722 per month
- Post income: $113,000
$101,000 – $125,000
- $147,000 in 3 years
- $3,462 per month
- Post income: $159,000
$130,000 – $150,000
- $90,000 in 2 years
- $3,750 per month
- Post income: $160,000
- $120,000 in 2.3 years
- $5,335 per month
- Post income: $188,000
What if I don’t have these numbers?
If you look at these numbers and don’t know how these families are doing it, I totally understand.
I felt this way after hearing families with similar incomes to me paying off more debt.
There’s just three ways to change this situation. You can cut more expenses to get there. You can increase your income. Or, you can do both!
Starting is much harder than once you’ve begun paying off your debt.
Before, you may have not been looking for ways to increase your income.
With your big goals, you’ll find surprise sources of income because you’re looking for them.
It will go faster than you think if you take one step at a time. <3
The numbers I’m sharing with you are only for a starting point.
It’s one thing to hear about someone who pays off debt but makes a wildly different income than you.
It’s another to find someone in your exact situation.
Regretably, there’s also no way to know exactly how much these families sold to pay off their debt faster.
Selling your items will increase the average paid off per month no matter what your starting income is.
That’s why you should take the average paid off per month as a starting point.
If you stay consistent and show up for yourself and your family, you will be debt free before you know it.
Your story, income and budget are uniquely you.
They used their strengths.
One family said the hardest thing about paying off debt was saying no to their kids.
In some ways, that makes getting debt free with young or no kids easier.
Our daughter does not care she only got a $12 used toy from us for her birthday. #ItsNotAbuse
Families with older kids have special advantages, though, too.
- Parents can become stronger through challenges
- It’s possible to reject American culture
- Some of the biggest heroes are imperfect and focus on pivoting when needed.
I can promise you debt free kids won’t ever forget when their family became debt free.
They lead a richer life beyond the dollars and cents their parents carefully managed.
They remembered it’s not forever, even if it seems like it is.
One hundred percent of families who did debt free screams finished paying off their debts. 🙂
It had an end, as does your debt, even if it feels like it will last forever.
The strong families who overcame incredible hardship were particularly inspiring.
A few of their stories are here <3
Getting run over didn’t stop Eloy and Vanessa.
I love their story because it shows how they persisted in spite of everything they faced.
They paid off a TON of debt, too!
Mitch and Becky fought through debt while paying insane cancer bills.
If there was ever a time I made excuses for not being where I wanted to be, this would be the scream to check out.
Becky and her husband show a level of strength that is admirable while reaching their goals.
Jennifer’s husband died while paying off their debt. She carried on their dream in his honor.
With this one, you’ll definitely need some tissues beside you.
Their “why” was bigger than their “now.”
No matter the “why” the screamers found one.
Some included surprise pregnancies, not having gas money and feeling crushed by debt.
That “why” helped overcome the comforts of minimum payments lenders work hard to offer.
In finding the pain of discipline, they avoided the pain of regret.
Debt free families know the minimum payments aren’t the luxury lenders market them to be.
During the tough times, their “why” reminded them why debt freedom was more important.