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Baby Step 2: Run For Your Life

Ah, Baby Step 2. Pay off all debt except your house (if you’ve already got a mortgage, that is.)

Here’s how it works. You list all your debts by balance from smallest to largest. Then, execute the Debt Snowball.

Go check out that article.

If you TL:DR it, here’s a summary:

  • Pay minimums on all except the smallest.
  • Pay the minimum on the smallest, plus everything else you can muster through extra work, selling stuff, and sacrificing.
  • When that is paid off, take the amount you were paying on the first and add it to the minimum of the second.
  • Repeat until non-mortgage debt is DESTROYED.

I assume you’ve come straight from my entry on Baby Step 1. That first step is a big, intense choice. You can do everything you can to get $1,000 in the bank and get going on your financial freedom. Or not.

It’s your choice.


The sooner you take that first step, the sooner your debt starts to die.


Freedom and empowerment springs to life in its place.

I remember when Meredith and I sat down and talked that decision out between us. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired. The pain of debt and poor money management had divided us quite enough. And here was a light at the end of the tunnel!

But it wasn’t a light. It was a book. A book with a bald guy on it. He was slicing up credit cards and talking about makeovers. We gobbled it up. It was amazing. We felt desire well up inside of us after reading it. A desire for freedom. For lives full meaningful, broad service to others.

We learned even more that broke people can’t have those things. Those blessings are promised to those who exercise wisdom with money.

We opened our hearts to our own mistakes, and we got started right away.

We quickly knocked out Baby Step #1. We thought we could do Baby Step #2 with no added income at first. We sacrificed some nice-to-haves and cut back on frou-frou groceries during our Budget Committee Meetings. We made some meager progress.

It felt lackadaisical after a while. Not going to lie. We didn’t make much progress. So we kicked it in gear. I got the pizza job in August, 2014 and we started putting muscle behind Step #2.

Here’s where my perspective comes in. This is why I’m writing this. This is what I want to share with the Baby Stepper world. It’ll sum up my feelings about the whole thing thus far. Ready?


I hate it.


“But RI,” you might say, “You’re always spouting off about being free and feeling so much better about money. How can you say you hate Baby Step 2?”

You’re right. Hate is a strong word. ISIS hates America. Lucifer hates everyone. Nebraskans hate paying property taxes. I should rephrase, lest I categorize my feelings thus.

I dislike Baby Step #2 with a passion. Let me explain.

I fancy myself an athlete. I mean, below my pizza weight. Or my “extra guts”, as Amazewife calls them. I get a thrill running barefoot or near barefoot through trails and roads and human habitats. I love to feel the rush of the wind as I pick up speed, or the feel of my feet gripping the turf while I run off my stresses.

That is, I love it until I actually start to run. Especially just starting off after not running consistently for a while.

I dislike running with a passion at first. I always do.

Don’t get me wrong! I love the results. I love the way my body looks and feels, after I’ve been training for long enough to make a difference.

Dave Ramsey’s advice on Baby Step 2 is to run for your life when getting out of debt. He quotes Proverbs 6:4–5, which says, “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.”

I don’t want to get into the explanation like Dave does. He does it so much better. The point is, credit card companies and anyone else peddling debt are hungry predators, and we’re the prey. They’ve got the infrared cameras, the target tracking scopes and the humvees.

We’ve got our feet.


We are outnumbered and outgunned, and they’re winning against us as a consumer base, obviously.


We have to understand that our spiritual well-being, our homes, our old age, and generations after us are at risk. God wants us to free ourselves from the bondage of debt just like a prey animal frees itself from being food. It’s that intense.

Baby Step #2 is very difficult. It is hard to maintain consistency. It lasts a long time. On average, 2 years. Some people take much, much longer than we will to destroy mountains of debt.

Some of you that read this have debt into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That may be crushing you. You may have decided to roll over.

I want to help you unlock something that you desperately need.


It’s in your head already. You just have to open your spiritual eyes.

Think about your current debt payments every month. Got that dollar amount? Now think about what it would feel like if you didn’t have to spend it on debt. What could you buy? How much could you save? How much guilt would disappear? 

How would that feel? How would it feel to not have the risk of default? Or the constant worry about credit?

Without vision, people perish. It can motivate you like nothing else can. Rolling over and getting eaten is not easier whether you’re $50 in debt or $500,000 in debt.

Getting your marriage chewed off by money fights is not easier. Losing family members to borrower/lender relationships is not easier. Being wise just hurts more up front.

Getting to live and give like no one else is easier. You just have to live like no one else for a little while to get there.

Excuse me while I go remind myself of that for the thousandth time in 18 months. Time to start running.



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