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What does Dave Ramsey Mean When he Says to Eat "Beans & Rice, Rice & Beans"?

Updated on May 27, 2010

I have been a Dave Ramsey fan for a long time and my family has followed his financial advice for years. If you have ever listened to his radio show (which you can do online if you don't get it in your area) or read his books, then I am sure you have heard him say that to get out of debt you need to eat "beans and rice, rice and beans". But what does he mean by that? Does he expect you to literally eat nothing but beans and rice?

I think he does to some extent, but I also think that it is just a way of saying to live on very little while you are getting out of debt. Dave Ramsey believes that if you are in consumer debt (any debt other than your mortgage) then you should be gazelle intense. You should live on as little as you can, so that you can send as much money as you can to pay off your debt.

If you are living on as little as you can, then beans and rice should certainly be a part of your weekly menu. Both of these foods are cheap, filling and healthy. If you use brown rice with the beans, then you have a complete protein source. But besides this, I believe Dave Ramsey means you should not be eating out, you shouldn't be grilling steaks or eating lobster, you should cut out all the fancy stuff from your budget. There should be no daily splurges when you are in debt.

I call this bare minimum living. We have months where we live on the bare minimum a couple of times a year. Sometimes it is planned in order to meet a financial goal we have set and sometimes it is forced due to an unexpected bill. It is nice knowing we have so many areas we can cut from if we need to.

I think when Dave Ramsey says live on "beans and rice, rice and beans" he means in all areas of our life. Live on the bare minimum until you have reached your goal of being debt free. It might be hard for awhile; I know that, I have done it. But you won't regret it in the end. I liked to build in little rewards with each debt paid off. You can do the same to keep yourself motivated to keep living on beans and rice until you too are debt free.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I think you hit the nail on the head there at the end where you said Dave means we need to live on rice and beans in all areas of our life. My food budget is already pretty small, but there are certainly other areas of life where I'm spending more than rice and beans!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The only problem I have with the whole "rice and beans" thing is that high-carb foods make me fat, and throw my insulin out of whack. XD If that's all I ate, my health would plummet.

      My motto is "eggs and cheap meat, cheap meat and eggs." LOL

    • peti profile image


      7 years ago

      I love Dave Ramsey. His books have helped my husband and I a great deal! His practical wisdom really does work!

    • Nemingha profile image


      8 years ago

      I haven't a clue who Dave Ramsey is but the advice is certainly very sound. Great hub!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Gazelle Instense, if taken literally, means abandoning everything for the sake of living.

      When the gazelle is being chased by a cheetah, it's not thinking about what its next meal will be. It's focus is on NOT being the next meal.

    • Rich Cederberg profile image

      Rich Cederberg 

      8 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I attended a Dave Ramsey class at my local church. I think it was called "Financial Peace University." Like you, I didn't take the "beans and rice, rice and beans" saying too literally, but as more of a common sense approach to spending and living.

    • lctodd1947 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Jennifer, I understand fully what he means and I have had to do some of this since I have almost retired from mortgage. I have found that I don't need as many clothes, shoes, or any for that matter because I only go to church and to see my Mom at the Nursing Home. I do not spend on gas and lodging (as I worked in Memphis and had to commute after we moved back into our home in the country). I don't splurge on anything. I love good perfume but don't buy it like I did. I don't spend as much money on my makeup etc. It is certain you can save money if you have to or need to. It just takes changing your mind about what is most important.

      Thanks for the hub.

    • elayne001 profile image


      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I have learned much from listening to Dave Ramsay's show on the radio as we drive. Very solid advice. Good hub.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for spreading the word about Dave, Jennifer!!

      I too, have followed Dave Ramsey for years!!

      Good Hub!! Good advice!!

      I have been debt-free for over 20 years!! Besides the ton of money I have saved by not paying interest, the relief from unnecessary stress is the biggest reward!!

      If I want something, I pay cash!! Literally!! I force myself to think a purchase through, and if I still want it, I drive to the bank and withdraw the money! It makes it VERY real and eliminates "impulse" purchases!!

      I love black beans and brown rice!! A little homemade salsa on top!! I do not consider it a 'step down' - I serve it to company! But then again, I'm vegetarian!!

      I think here in the U.S. we need a real attitude adjustment!! We all know "instant gratification" (blessings foreignpress) is not part of a balanced life any more than a diet of only chocolate!! Yet, we have become so spoiled, and the consequences removed from our actions/choices, that a real wake-up call is needed!!

      I also think our wake-up call is right around the corner and that we are headed for a huge economic melt-down that will make 2008 look like child's play!

      Until we can all look at "beans and rice" with gratitude and appreciation from a more awakened state, we will repeat the same mistakes!!

      Again, wonderful Hub Jennifer!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Denver

      Dave Ramsey offers good advice. But will a country that invented instant gratification have the intestinal fortitude to follow it? (Perhaps that's another hub).

    • mmiliiona profile image


      8 years ago from LONDON

      I listen to Dave Ramsey as I write and work with teens on their finances all the time. Great hub. Kindly visit my site at

    • Allie Johnson profile image

      Allie Johnson 

      8 years ago

      Good hub! We are paying off some debt, my husband is in grad school and my business has taken a hit in the economy. One of the ways we save money is to eat a lot of beans and rice. This might mean black beans and rice with Mexican seasonings or or it could be a Greek lentil and rice bake with a little cucumber salad on top or an Indian curry split pea dish served on a bed of brown rice. If you take Dave Ramsey's advice literally, there are plenty of ways to do "beans and rice" without it being too boring, and it really can help save money since most kinds of beans cost about $1 a bag and rice isn't much more, and both are super healthy. (They can also be thrown into the slow cooker in the morning with a few spices, so they save time too.)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I never heard of David Ramsey but I found your hub and thoughts informative. Thank you.

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 

      8 years ago from Maryland

      I've never heard of Dave Ramsey but I will be checking him out now. Thanks for the great article.

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      My husband loves to listen to Dave Ramsey. I am never around a radio when he comes on, or I am busy with kids and can't listen. I did buy my husband his book and I had the chance to read it. We are getting close to being out of debt using his advice, and yes, beans and rice are part of it. Although, we do splurge at times...usually special occasions, but we usually save up for them.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      My youngest son, grown and on his own, is terrible with money. A few weeks ago I told him about Dave Ramsey and how I'd heard him explain we should save one thousand dollars, then set about paying off our bills one at a time by putting everything we can on the account. It registered with my son. Now I need to convince him to read Ramsey's book. I didn't know he has a radio program. I'm going to pass that info on to my son.


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