Money United Way teaching valuable lessons

Published 1:02 am Sunday, December 11, 2011

A nationally syndicated radio host gives listeners tips on how to get out of debt and stay debt free: “You have to live like no one else so that one day you can live like no one else.”

The program Dave Ramsey espouses is tough — eating rice and beans, beans and rice, cutting out nights out and avoiding buying extravagant goods. He preaches cutting back in the short term, working one’s way out of debt and undergoing a complete lifestyle change in order to change a family’s financial situation for generations.

He is wildly successful.

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Locally, the United Way of West Central Mississippi sponsored a Financial Education in Your Community class with 17 in attendance. The challenge was to take $1 and return to a future meeting with as much money as could be made from that $1. It entailed limiting meals out and everyday treats such as a Coca-Cola. The money saved from not going out and not splurging was placed in savings.

Angela Lyons, a disabled mother of two, turned her $1 into $224 by limiting meals out. Cleothi Williams saved $87 from his initial dollar, mostly by overcoming a snuff addiction and taking money he would have spent on snuff and saving it. Success stories in the program varied by degree, but any success in teaching the proper way to budget and save money should be lauded.

The theme from those who participated echoed Ramsey’s teachings — a complete change in behavior and lifestyle. There is no mistaking times for many are tough. The importance of living within one’s means is magnified with nearly 10 percent of the working-age population unemployed.

Dexter Jones, Warren County inventory control clerk, taught the class. Plans are for more similar gatherings. The best way to financial and personal freedom is to get out of debt — as long as that effort takes. To get there, it will take much work and expert classes, such as the one offered at Kings by the United Way. It will take discipline and a commitment to a life change, but the results will be well worth it.