Friday, August 15, 2014

Show Me the Money- Part 2

Part of our homework for our financial peace class is to sit down and call a budget committee meeting (which is the two of us together) to discuss the budget and where every dollar is going to go.  The first time K and I sat down to do our homework, he wanted me to do it. Although I am not great with money or math, I was a little excited because I love the idea of giving every dollar an assignment so we know where it is going. How many times before had we sat there wondering where our spending money went??  So I started filling out every blank and talked over with him what amount was going to go where.  After I was done I showed it to him and he pointed out a few areas that I had missed.  I asked him with my head in my did you do this every two weeks??  I have a real appreciation for the detail and patience he has had with our budget and money. This exercise has helped me realize how hard he has worked to keep us from getting in serious financial trouble.

As I said in the previous post, K is definitely a saver, and I am definitely a spender. This has caused conflict in the past several times. I will admit...I can act very spoiled sometimes when I don't get what I want. I will bother him and ask him about something I want until he would give in. I am cringing just thinking of that attitude. The exercises we have been practicing with Dave Ramsey's class has brought my attitude to my attention full force. I have read Proverbs 31:10-12 several times but this verse popped into my head as I was typing this. That kind of attitude is not the picture of this wife.  

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? 
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life,
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life." (NLT)

 Where once I would have completely just bought something on impulse or bugged him until I got what I wanted now I think about the full cost and outcome of what I really want and I ask myself can I wait for it. I am learning that saving is not bad, in's necessary. It helps prepare for situations that may arise and you don't have to wonder where you will get the money to pay for the tire that just blew out or the washer stopped working or the deductible that has to be paid because of a medical emergency that is happening. K has been a saver since the beginning and it drove me nuts when we were dating because by the time we reached our 6th year together...I was ready for the next step. I had BEEN ready. What I didn't know was that one of the reasons he took so long was because he wanted to make sure he had enough money saved to not only pay for the beautiful ring he gave me, but also for us to have a beautiful small wedding with our immediate family and have a great honeymoon. (He didn't finance any of this.) This mindset he has spilled into our married life and has kept us from real financial problems. Yes, we struggled and have had to wait for big things we have wanted, but it was worth it.

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers consequences." (Proverbs 27:12)

So with all these little stories about K and I's money's my advice today:

1) Start saving and put aside an emergency fund (this is one of Dave Ramsey's biggest tips.) Prepare for the unknown and discuss what you think is emergencies. This will save conflict, fights, and stress when these situations arise.

2) Determine where you can cut and save to put in the emergency fund. Where was our biggest place we were overspending? Eating Out. We have budgeted to eat out twice a week and sometimes try to cut that down to only once a week. Which is so much better than we were doing.

3) Before making a purchase, first determine if you need it or want it. For big purchases, try to buy it only if you can pay for it in cash. If not, save for that particular item. Yes, you have to wait longer, but it is worth it. All of our furniture, vacations, electronics, have been paid for with money we had diligently saved in our account.  Not financed or put on credit cards.  It saves you from unwanted debt and interest rates that are absolutely ridiculous!!

4) Don't be afraid to shop generic products. Name brand products will charge you several dollars more just because of the name!

5) Another area we would overspend is groceries. A couple of tips that have helped me recently:
     a) Have a budget of how much you will spend grocery shopping
     b) Write your list and as you put in your buggy write on the side of the item how much it costs. It will definitely keep you from overspending and putting more in your buggy than you need
     c) Coupons help and are good, but only cut the coupons that you need and that are on your list
     d) Try to plan what you need around what's on sale. If you have to go to more than one place, sometimes it really is worth it. Example: Walmart's price of Sparkle towels was 5.97.  Dollar General had them on sale for $4! That saved me 1.97!

It may take extra planning and time to sit down and plan your grocery run or budget with your spouse...but it's worth it.  And it may not all come together right away...but it will in the long run.  Don't give up and rely on each other and be open to each other's different way of thinking. It will save you lots of arguments and conflict in the future.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Show me the money Part 1

So how are you doing with your challenge to do something nice for your significant other?  The last couple days have been a little harder since K is out of town, but he is coming home today and I can't wait to see him and spend time with him. He doesn't go out of town often, but when he does, I miss him like crazy.  I am very blessed that K works a job that he is home every night and weekend.  You wives out there that have husbands that have to be away for weeks and heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you.  You women rock!!

So let's talk about a topic that tends to be one of the biggest conflicts in a marriage...Money.  Since K and I got married, K has handled our money. Which from what I have observed is opposite of how it usually is. I have seen that a lot of the wives take care of the checkbook and balancing, right? Since K works at a bank and has for the past 12 years, he is naturally good with money and budgeting.  I am not.  I am a spender by nature and only worried about how much spending money we had in our account. K writes everything down in a little notebook and how much goes where, but I will be honest...I would skim the numbers and check the bottom to see how much spending we had and I was good to go. I was not involved. We have had some disagreements about money mainly because K is a saver and our two different personalities would clash.

Where there is no counsel, the people will fall; 
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

A few weeks ago we saw in our bulletin from church that they were offering a class on Dave Ramsey's financial peace university. K thought it would be interesting to enroll to hear biblical principles about money. I agreed. I am so glad we have started this class. We were already on a budget in a way, but this class has definitely put us on a stricter budget. One of Dave's principles that I love is that you tell your money where to go and give it an assignment (every dollar!!) instead of wondering where it went. K and I's biggest problem was that we would overspend on eating out and if there was something we wanted, we would buy it. Even though he would write all our budget down at the beginning of the month, it was kind of forgotten and we wouldn't keep track of how much spending we had left. I think a lot of problems with money conflicts is the feeling of insecurity when the money starts running out and the panic of wondering what will happen next. The priorities of money are out of whack and results in big fights and lots of bad consequences like no savings or worse, bankruptcy.

So here is a few tips we have learned from Dave that we have put to practice:

1) Do the budget together.

2) Give every dollar you make an assignment

3) Make sure to prioritize your budget (our priorities include: Tithing, Bills, Savings, Spending) and be as detailed as possible. Include gas, groceries, etc and write each debt like credit cards, student loans, etc.

4) Allow yourselves some spending money and do this with cash!! Once the cash is gone, no more spending money and it prevents you from overspending!  It works!

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, 
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. Proverbs 21: 5

My next post will be about savings (what has worked for us and some of Dave's tips) and I am currently in research mode on how to save on groceries. That was another area K and I would overspend. I do coupon a little, but I think I will have to change my methods. Until next time!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The little things really do count...

Every day life can become so...ordinary and routine.  We get caught in our hustle and bustle of work life, laundry, bills, kids, responsibilities that I seem to lose myself in it.  While I am on break from the school right now, I have fallen into wife duties.  I have taken over making sure the house is clean, laundry is done, supper is cooked, and groceries are in the pantry.  I have hobbies that keep me busy when I am not doing that (I plan to get lost in a book very shortly) as well as nephews and family who I love to spend time with...K and I have also fallen into routine and ordinary as of late. This morning I came across a pin on Pinterest that said 52 Text Message Bombs to send him...  of course God knew just what I needed to see and I thought...when was the last time I did something unexpected for K?  Something that wasn't normal and also showed that I loved him? I do my "wife duties" (as I lovingly refer to them) not because he expects me to do them...but because I appreciate what he does for me by working hard and providing a life for us.  But, when we are caught in the everyday swing of life, I forget to tell him how much I appreciate him. Sometimes I forget to show him.

So I am challenging myself to do a little something every day to remind him that I love him and appreciate what he does.  When K left in May for two weeks for a banking school, he left me little notes in hidden places to remind me that he loves me. I still have a few of them out today.  That meant more to me than he knows!  After reading the pin about the texts, I sent K a text message just to let him know I was thinking about him and that I loved him. Sometimes it's the little things and things out of the ordinary that mean the most to us.  I challenge you to do this with me for our are some ideas:

1) Send your spouse a loving text...whether it is just to say hi, you are thinking about them or make it a sexy one (K's phone is tied to unfortunately...I can't do this one ;) )

2) Cook their favorite dinner or dessert for them unexpectedly when they come home from work

3) If there is something they always do chore wise, do it for them without saying anything. (like taking out the garbage.  I expect K to do this, but I know this one would be a good one to practice)

4) If they are readers...insert a little note into the book they are reading to make them smile (or IPad, Kindle etc)

5) Do you pack their lunch for work?  Put a little note in their lunch kit. Bring a smile to their face while they are working

6) If you know there is something they have been wanting and have been putting off buying it, buy it for them and don't tell them

7) The next time you go to a movie together, let the other one pick what they have been wanting to see or a restaurant they have been wanting to eat at

8) Wear an outfit you know they love

9) Think of things that you are so thankful for that they do.  Make sure to tell them

10) Let them pick a t.v. show to watch the next time you watch t.v. together (even if you don't really want to see it)

11) Give them some type of affection (never underestimate the power of a hug) that lasts longer than a couple seconds

12) This is kind of cheesy but cute...pick up a bag of lifesavers for them to take to work and put a note that says "You are my lifesaver" (cute, right?)

13) Surprise them with lunch one day or an invite for a impromptu lunch

14) If your spouse cooks dinner, clean the kitchen for them (there is really nothing sexier than my husband cleaning the kitchen after I have cooked dinner. That to me is heaven!)

15) Compliments!! If you like something they are wearing, make sure to tell them

16) Ask them if there is anything that you can do for them to take some stress away (pay a bill that is out of the way, make a phone call they have been needing to make, a massage, etc)

Now of course I have a kicker to this challenge.  I want us to do this for the next month.  The whole month of August.  I am hoping it becomes natural to us and it won't be a challenge anymore. It's always a good idea to do something out of the ordinary, especially in our marriages!  But the kicker will be...even if you aren't happy with your spouse and you don't think they deserve something nice or unexpected...that is when they will need it the most.  So I encourage and urge you to still go about the challenge in the midst of a fight. I plan to follow this kicker myself ;)  And feel free to think of your own ideas to show your love and appreciation and if you have one I didn't post, feel free to comment!