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 hands...how 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 fact...it'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 personalities...here'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.