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Dave Ramsey shares tips on how to get debt free

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -

Are you drowning in debt? Living paycheck to paycheck? Do you think there isn't any way to get ahead? If you answered yes to any of those questions, FOX 5 went to bestselling author and talk show host Dave Ramsey to get advice for you.

Ramsey dishes out straight talk to millions of listeners during his weekly radio show from his studios at Financial Peace Plaza.

The Brentwood, Tenn. campus is home to his multi-million dollar company. Thousands visit annually to meet Dave, watch his live radio broadcast and share their success stories on the lobby wall.

"It's very impressive. I enjoy listening to him on the radio hearing his practical, common sense advice," said Kent Chism.

Ramsey finds very few people wind up in debt immediately. For most, it's debt by a thousand cuts, overspending over time that leads to trouble.

"It's really not thinking and being intentional with their money a little bit at a time and you wake up 10 years later and you got $30,000 in credit card debts, $15,000 on a car and there's still a student loan that's been around so long I think it's a pet," Ramsey said.

Millions have successfully followed the plan spelled out in Dave's New York Times bestseller  "Total Money Makeover" to get out of debt for good.

"I don't know of a single reason I want to be in debt.  I can't think of a dream or a fear or a want or a need or some fun or even some faux happiness that I want badly enough to get into debt for it, because the tradeoff is just too heavy," Ramsey said.

The first thing Dave wants you to do is undergo a "plasectomy" -- cut up those credit cards!

Next, get $1,000 dollars in the bank fast by getting a second job or selling stuff around the house.

"Have a garage sale, you put the cat on craigslist and the dog on eBay. Sell so much stuff the kids think they are next," said Ramsey.

Third, sit down with all your bills and figure out how much you owe down to the penny and then come up with a budget.

"Meaning I have to plan my income and then my expenses. I have give every dollar a mission, every dollar a name before the month begins. My friend John Maxwell says a budget is people telling their money what to do instead of wondering where it went," Ramsey said.

Ramsey says it takes about three months on average to work out all the kinks. Then start paying down your debt using the "snowball method," which is paying down one bill at a time, starting with the smallest.

Once you've paid off all your creditors, start building up that emergency fund and saving for big ticket items.

"Now once you have built some wealth, you can let your foot off the intensity gas pedal a little bit, enjoy the ride a little bit more, but you are doing all of that with cash," Ramsey said.

Dave says following the plan takes discipline, and that people shouldn't get discouraged. He encourages you to stay focused and says the plan gets easier over time as folks get closer to realizing their goals.

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