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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Love and Budgeting

I want to publicly adore my husband for his work ethic. When we decided to step up our financial picture last autumn, he right away decided to get a part-time job on top of his regular full-time job. He made a couple phone calls and had a new job within two days (and *bonus!* it’s a job he totally loves). The extra check each month has been fueling our emergency fund and various savings accounts.

My sweet David has also been very appreciative of my work at home since I stopped working for an income. My main financial contribution now is to be a wise (and sometimes, a very creative) steward with our money, home, and resources. If I don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter how much money flows in.

Lately, I’ve been praying to be able to discern what things are no longer needful in our home and to have the courage to get rid of those things and activities. (It’s easy to realize what things a husband should get rid of, but I wanted to know what *I* could do.) It has been great to look at my own possessions with fresh eyes and realize that I am ready to let go of things I have held onto for years. (YEARS. Like since when I wore Spandex and used AquaNet. That would be around the same time I listened to the tape collection posted for sale on the right-side column of this blog.) Some of the items I donate and get a tax receipt for, others I sell because I want it going to someone who really wants it. Either way, both my house and my soul feel lighter.

Anyway, all this is on my mind and I’m feeling especially grateful for my husband because the other night we had our monthly budget meeting and it was a wonderful and uplifting experience. Our budget meetings weren't always so happy though...

For the first 5 years of our marriage, whenever my husband and I would have family budget meetings, we would both get tense and cranky. The meetings always went long and we usually ended up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and defeated. We just couldn’t agree on how to track our budget, or we’d agree on something that would end up not working well for us.

Things began changing after the money tragedy of 2003, in which we had to come up with $12,000 for an unexpected bill that was due ON THE DAY we found out about it. It was a big painful lesson but it was also a turning point for us and our financial life began changing for the better. Though we still couldn’t agree on a budget-tracking method, we implemented small but good spending and saving habits.

Then last autumn, a friend lent us Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover” and our good habits were augmented. We finally had the vocabulary and budget method that worked for both of us. The peace both my husband and I feel now while discussing money matters sure is wonderful! Our monthly budget meetings are short, peaceful, and fun! We ALWAYS end our meetings feeling wealthy and, more importantly, we still feel in love with each other! (Now, if we could just get that way about painting walls... ;) ... )

David and I both recommend the book to people we like. It’s even BETTER if both partners in the relationship read it and apply the principles. Sure, we wish we had learned these things earlier in our marriage, but it certainly is great that we know them now!

So anyway, I feel so blessed to be on the same page with my sweet man.



Jenn said...

OH Budget Meetings. I remember watching my parents fight once a month while doing those.
Thanks for the book idea. I'll have to get a hold of a copy and read it.

chelon:) said...

i love that book! do i use! but i do think it is very insightful and helpful!! did you sale the huge tv??

Adhis said...

Sho' did! In less than 24 hours!

Kristen said...

I like the mua at the end. =o)

Can I borrow the book? Oh, right, the distance thing. We seem to have a system that works great for us, although our meetings have become nonexistent. It seems that our reporter has become lazy (that's me) but we stick to our budget faithfully. At least I think we do. =o)